A new published in the journal of Eurosurveillance, has revealed the presence of the superbug bacteria Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in sausages and minced pork. Minced pork is ground meat in the U.S.
A team of researchers funded primarily by the Medical Research Council (MRC) bought and analysed a total of 103 (52 pork and 51 chicken) pre-packaged fresh meat products, from supermarkets in five different locations across in England and sent to the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge for testing.
Researchers disinfected the exterior packaging before removing the meat and tested a 10g sample of meat from each packet and screened for MRSA. The results revealed that the bacteria belonged to a type of MRSA known as LA-MRSA CC398, which was previously not found in Britain but has emerged in Europe over the last few years.
“This is the first time that MRSA has been detected in retail meat products in the UK, said Dr. Mark Holmes from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge says. “The public should not be overly worried by this as sensible food precautions and good hygiene should prevent its spread. It’s also usually pretty harmless and only causes health problems if it infects someone in poor health or gets into a wound”. “However, this does suggest that MRSA is established in our pig farms and provides a possible route of transmission from livestock, through those in direct contact with pigs, into the wider population.”
“Studies like this are crucial not just to reveal concerns to human health through contaminated livestock, but to show resistance to antibiotics is a problem growing far beyond just humans”, said Dr Des Walsh, Head of Infections and Immunity at the MRC”. “To win the fight against antimicrobial resistance, we need an all hands on deck approach, and that’s why we’ve teamed up with leading experts in biological, social and others sciences in a joint initiative designed to find new solutions, fast.”
Hadjirin NF, Lay EM, Paterson GK, Harrison EM, Peacock SJ, Parkhill J, Zadoks RN, Holmes MA. Detection of livestock-associated meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 in retail pork, United Kingdom. Euro Surveill., February 2015 [link]