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Zoonoses monitoring

The zoonoses monitoring is a programme collecting, analysing and publishing representative data on the occurrence of zoonotic agents and related antibiotic resistance in food, feed and live animals. Zoonoses monitoring has been carried out by the federal states since 2009 as part of official food and veterinary monitoring.

Aim of zoonoses monitoring

The aim of zoonoses monitoring is to obtain knowledge about the occurrence of zoonotic agents in foodstuffs and animal stocks and to identify trends relating to zoonoses and zoonotic agents.

Furthermore, zoonoses monitoring serves to monitor the resistance situation in zoonotic agents, because the control of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is of great importance to the preservation of both human and animal health.

Legal bases for zoonoses monitoring

The general administrative regulation on the gathering, analysing and publishing of data about the occurrence of zoonoses and zoonotic agents along the food chain (“AVV Zoonosen Lebensmittelkette”),which governs the approach to the coordination and implementation of the testing for zoonotic monitoring and for the subsequent reporting, forms the foundation of zoonotic monitoring. This general administrative regulation is based on Directive 2003/99/EC on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, which obligates the Member States of the EU to collect, analyse and publish representative and comparable data about the occurrence of zoonoses and zoonotic agents as well as antibiotic resistance related thereto in foodstuffs, feed and live animals.

What is monitored?

Priority is given to monitoring those zoonotic agents which pose a particular risk to human health. Zoonoses monitoring should also identify emerging zoonotic agents. The monitoring takes place at the levels of the food chain which are best suited to this with regard to the respective zoonotic agents, including primary production.

Implementation of zoonoses monitoring

The study results obtained by the federal states as part of zoonoses monitoring are reported to the central BVL notification point by the federal states. The BVL gathers the data, analyses it and publishes it in the report on the results of annual zoonoses monitoring. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) assesses the study results and transmits these to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The EFSA checks the data from all Member States and publishes it in its annual reports on zoonoses and food-borne outbreaks in the EU and on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from animals and food in the EU. These reports form the foundations of risk management with regard to zoonotic agents and antibiotic resistance related thereto in Europe.

The federal states take samples as specified in the zoonoses sampling plan which applies nationally and is re-drawn by the BfR each year in agreement with the federal states. It contains specific standards about the zoonotic agents to be tested for, the animal populations to be monitored, the stages of the food chain to be monitored, the number of samples to be tested, the sampling methods and the analysis procedures to be used. The federal states, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute (FLI) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) can make suggestions on the sampling plan.

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