Project SummaryFood animals, including retail pork, chicken, ground turkey and ground beef have beenimplicated as sources of Salmonella and Campylobacter and are the leading causes of bacterialfoodborne illness. Both wild-caught and farm-raised salmon, shrimp, and tilapia have beenimplicated as sources of Vibrio and Aeromonas and are leading causes of sea-foodborneillness. Indicator pathogens, including Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp., are alsofrequently isolated from these meat products. The situation is further complicated when thestrains are also resistant to different antimicrobials. It is therefore important that we monitor theprevalence and trends of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) foodborne bacterial strains in the retailmeat and seafood products that can eventually pass to the consumers along the farm-to-forkchain resulting in significant public health impact. The National Antimicrobial ResistanceMonitoring System (NARMS) plays an important role in surveillance of AMR bacterial pathogensin humans, food animals and retail meats. North Carolina is an important food producing statesituated along the eastern US seashore and ranks among the top states in pork and poultryproduction. As an existing NARMS laboratory, our major objective is to continue to enhance thesurveillance of AMR pathogenic and indicator bacterial strains in retail meats and seafood inNorth Carolina and generate critical data to contribute to the NARMS mission. We propose toconduct this study in collaboration with the FDA GenomeTrakr program. The PI (Dr. Thakur)laboratory is a GenomeTrakr laboratory, which will provide the opportunity to generate thewhole genome sequences (WGS) of the bacterial strains thereby significantly assisting us intracking the emergence of potential new AMR bacteria and allowing the public health agenciesto take appropriate steps.The specific objectives of our proposal are:1) Monitor antimicrobial resistance (AMR) trends in Salmonella, Campylobacter,Escherichia coli, Vibrio, Aeromonas, lactose fermenters, and Enterococcus spp. from retail meatand seafood samples collected in North Carolina region.2) Generate and compare the WGS profiles of Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli,isolated from retail meat in North Carolina to detect the emergence of new AMR strains.The long-term objective of our proposal is to protect and promote public health by enhancingand strengthening the surveillance of AMR Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Vibrio,Aeromonas, lactose fermenters, and Enterococcus spp. in retail food specimens in the US.