Almost half the meat and poultry sold in the US is contaminated by highly dangerous bacteria, according to new research published in the scientific journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases.
A reported 47 percent of the meat and poultry that research US supermarket shelves is thought to contain staphylococcus aureus (Staph), a bacteria that is not only linked to a number of human diseases, but is also resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics.
According to a report published by Care 2, the researchers gathered samples from 136 varieties of beef, pork, chicken and turkey, which were purchased from 26 grocery stores across five major US cities. The products were DNA tested where the Staph was detected. The results suggest that the farm animals the major source of contamination.
Senior author of the study and Director of TGen’s Centre for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health, Mr. Lance B. Price, Ph. D., was quoted n Care 2 as saying: “The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today,”
"The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today."
S. aureus is not among the four bacteria routinely tested in meat by the US government: Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, and Enterococcus.
It is believed that the bacteria was able to contaminate the meat at the animal rearing stage: "densely-stocked industrial farms, where food animals are steadily fed low doses of antibiotics... ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria that move from animals to humans," the report stated.
"Antibiotics are the most important drugs that we have to treat Staph infections; but when Staph are resistant to three, four, five or even nine different antibiotics -- like we saw in this study -- that leaves physicians few options," Price said.
Image courtesy of http://cellbiology.med.unsw.edu.au