Local Retail Meat Safe From Antibiotic-resistant Organisms, Study Suggests
Source of Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081029104302.htm
ScienceDaily (Oct. 31, 2008) — Rhode Island Hospital researchers report
that findings from a new study of retail meat in the Providence, RI area
indicate little to no presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study,
prompted by the identification of such organisms in retail meat in
In countries outside the United States, including Japan, Korea and the Netherlands, some studies have found antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and others in up to 2.5 percent of samples of poultry, pork and beef, and published reports have described food-borne illness caused by MRSA. While some of these infections may reflect transmission from food handlers, the potential exists for transmission to humans directly from contaminated meats.
Their findings indicated that only one of the 36 samples contained
antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which was found in a sample of pork from one
store. Of note, Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-sensitive, not MRSA), was found in four of
the 36 meat samples, which is consistent with previous reports. These
findings do not indicate a cause for concern regarding meat purchased in the
While the findings did not represent significant presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat, the authors note, "Retail meat products may represent an underappreciated source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. While our small study did not show cause for concern, the fact is that food-borne illness due to MRSA contamination in retail meat has occurred in other countries."
Mermel and the researchers note that the
limitations of the study include the small sample size and the
region-specific retail sources. Despite these limitations, they note,
"Further studies are necessary in order to delineate the true magnitude
of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the retail meats in the
The study was published in the Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, Vol. 6 (3&4), 2008.
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