U.S – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a comprehensive strategy aimed at tackling the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the agrifood sector.

With this strategy, the USDA outlines a roadmap to enhance understanding and collaborative efforts in combating AMR, a natural process where microbes evolve to resist substances designed to inhibit them, including antimicrobials like antibiotics.

This was done during the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week running from November 18-24.

Antimicrobial resistance is a natural process in which microbes continually evolve to resist and survive substances that should kill or inhibit them. These substances could be produced by the environment, other microbes, or are antimicrobials developed by people.

AMR can result in resistance to antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics, rendering them ineffective to fighting off disease.

The USDA’s strategy identifies three key focus areas and ten priorities for concerted action. The first focus area centers on reducing disease and pathogen transmission, emphasizing the critical role of prevention in mitigating AMR risk.

The second area concentrates on advancing the scientific knowledge base on AMR risk, highlighting the importance of research in combating the evolution of resistance.

The third area underscores the need for improved communication and collaboration at local, national, regional, and global levels to address the multifaceted challenges posed by AMR.

Ten priorities for collaborative action

Within these three focus areas, the USDA’s strategy outlines ten specific priorities for action. These include initiatives to enhance animal and crop health, promote biosecurity and food safety, understand the drivers of antimicrobial use in food-producing animals, and improve knowledge dissemination.

By addressing these priorities, the USDA aims to create a holistic approach to tackling AMR that involves public and private partners at every level.

The USDA’s strategy is not merely a blueprint for implementation but a guide for agency-specific planning and collaboration with related federal plans and strategies.

Emphasizing a collaborative approach, the USDA acknowledges the importance of working with agricultural producers and stakeholders who voluntarily seek to contribute to finding solutions.

In fostering partnerships and integrating efforts, the USDA aims to amplify its impact in understanding and mitigating AMR in agriculture.

As antimicrobial resistance poses a global challenge, the USDA’s strategy aligns with this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week theme: “preventing antimicrobial resistance together.”

By focusing on prevention, research, and collaboration, the USDA is taking a proactive stance in safeguarding the efficacy of antimicrobial drugs and ensuring a sustainable future for agriculture.

For more details on the USDA’s strategy and ongoing efforts to combat AMR, the full document can be accessed on the USDA’s updated AMR webpage.

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