In accordance with Directive 2003/99/EC on monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, Member States must ensure that monitoring provides comparable data on the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in zoonotic agents. Also foreseen is the possibility of broadening the scope of the antimicrobial resistance monitoring to other zoonotic agents in so far as they present a threat to public health. The Commission Implementing Decision 2013/652/EC lays down specific technical requirements for AMR testing and reporting in representative isolates deriving from randomised sampling of broilers, laying hens, fattening turkeys, fattening pigs and calves, performed at farm and/or at slaughter, and of meat from broilers, pork and beef performed at retail.
The European Food Safety Authority received a mandate from the European Commission to provide recommendations on harmonised randomisation procedures for AMR monitoring pursuant to Decision 2013/652/EC. This scientific report provides a rationale and harmonised practical procedures for randomised sampling of animal and meat samples at different stages of the food chain, yielding representative and comparable data. Two different collection strategies, a prospective and a retrospective sampling plan, of samples and isolates, respectively, are foreseen. The former involves collecting sufficient numbers of representative animal and chilled meat samples from which recovered isolates are tested for susceptibility; the latter involves selecting randomly Salmonella isolates from collections constituted within the framework of either the national control programmes of Salmonella in poultry flocks or from verification of the compliance with the Salmonella process hygiene criterion in broiler carcases. A generic proportionate stratified sampling process is proposed for the different sampling plans and numerical illustrations of proportional allocation are also provided.
Stratified sampling of Salmonella isolates recovered from broiler, laying hen and fattening turkey primary productions, and available in the collection of the laboratories involved in the Salmonella national control programmes, with proportional allocation to the size of the collection of isolates recovered from the production, is proposed. An alternative approach is to perform a simple random sampling within the sampling frame of flocks positive for Salmonella in those MS where a database records flocks tested positive for Salmonella. One Salmonella isolate per serovar and epidemiological unit should be retained for susceptibility testing.
Stratified sampling of caecal content samples (single or pooled) in the slaughterhouses, accounting for at least 60 % of the domestic production of the food-producing animal populations monitored, with proportionate allocation to the slaughterhouse production, allows for the collection of representative isolates of Campylobacter, indicator E. coli and enterococci from the populations of broilers, fattening turkeys, fattening pigs and calves of less than one year of age, domestically produced. Definitions of ‘domestically produced’ animals are proposed for the sake of harmonisation.
Stratified sampling of Salmonella isolates from broiler carcases is proposed with proportional allocation to the size of the isolate collections available in the laboratories involved in testing for verification of compliance with the Salmonella process hygiene criterion by the competent authority. These isolates may be complemented with those isolates recovered by the food business operators within the same framework.
Sampling of different chilled fresh meat categories is targeted at retail outlets serving the final consumer, with proportional allocation of the number of samples to the population of the geographical region (NUTS-3 area) accounting for at least 80 % of the national population, to test for the presence of ESBL-/AmpC-/carbapenemase-producing E. coli.
In addition, it is emphasised that if complementary AMR monitoring in additional animal populations and food categories is carried out, specific representative sampling plans should be devised and results should be reported separately. Finally, it is proposed that the technical specifications be re-assessed and updated regularly in the light of the results of the first monitoring campaigns and the most recent literature.