US meat and poultry widely contaminated with bacteria including superbugs
by: S. L. Baker
Saturday, April 16, 2011
How would you like a big, juicy burger loaded with onions, mustard, ketchup — and a big helping of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a bacteria linked to a wide range of human diseases?
If you find that dish stomach-churning instead of appetizing, then maybe you should think twice before eating not only meat but chicken and turkey, too, at least in the U.S.
According to a nationwide study just released by the Flagstaff, Arizona-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), meat and poultry from U.S. grocery stores have an unexpectedly high rate of dangerous disease-causing bacteria, including antibiotic resistant superbugs. In fact, almost half (47 percent) of all meat and poultry samples tests were contaminated with S. aureus.
What’s more, 52 percent of these contaminated meats contained superbugs, meaning the bacteria were resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics.That adds up to multi-antibiotic resistant Staph germs being present in about one out of every 4 samples of meat, chicken or turkey.
“For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial,” Lance B. Price, Ph.D., senior author of the study and Director of TGen’s Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health, said in a statement to the media.