Salmonellosis is a major foodborne infection in the United States, and strains of Salmonella that are resistant to a variety of antimicrobial agents have become a major public health concern. To estimate the incidence of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella in our food supply, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has initiated screening of foodborne isolates for sensitivity to antimicrobial agents, including several antibiotics. Salmonella cultures (n = 502) isolated by FDA laboratories during fiscal year 2000 (1 October 1999 through 30 September 2000) from domestic and imported food products and related samples were tested for susceptibility to each of 12 antimicrobial agents using a disc diffusion assay. Because all isolates were resistant to rifampin (5 or 25 μg), only results with the remaining 11 antimicrobial agents are discussed in this paper. Of the 502 isolates, 247 (49.2%) were resistant to one or more antimicrobial agents, and of these 247 isolates, 170 (68.8%) were resistant to one antimicrobial agent, 33 (13.4%) to two antimicrobial agents, 25 (10.1%) to three antimicrobial agents, 7 (2.8%) to four antimicrobial agents, 8 (3.2%) to five antimicrobial agents, and 2 (0.8%) each to six and seven antimicrobial agents. No isolates were resistant to norfloxacin, whereas only seven were resistant to sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, six to trimethoprim, three to gentamicin, and one to ciprofloxacin. These results, for the first time, provide a baseline of data on the incidence of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella in the U.S. food supply, which should be useful in determining the evolution of antimicrobial resistance in the future.

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