Saturday, April 16, 2011

Germ resistant to antibiotics in meat sold in U.S.

Here's some news that will have vegetarians and vegans rejoicing evereywhere.
There is a type of germ that is resistant to antibiotics and is very common in meat sold in U.S. grocery stores.

Almost half of 136 samples of beef, chicken, pork and turkey collected from 26 grocery stores across five U.S. cities tested positive for antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to a study published  in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Some of antibiotic-resistant staph germs found included forms of the superbug resistant to methicillin known as MRSA, and about half of those bacteria were resistant to multiple forms of antibiotics.

"When the average consumer purchases fresh meat or poultry, they have a 1 in 4 chance of bringing multidrug-resistant staph aureus into the kitchen," said Lance Price, senior author of the study and the director of Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Flagstaff, Ariz.

No one really knows the health risks Dr. Price said. "The main issue isn't ingesting the germs—staph can be killed by cooking meat thoroughly—but rather becoming infected during the handling of food. Staph can cause wound and skin infections through contact and can also be transferred to kitchen surfaces from meat during food preparation. How many people get infected by drug-resistant staph through contact or ingestion with meat isn't known."

Bacterial resistance to drugs is a major concern because it limits the medications that could be used to kill the bugs. Staph can cause skin infection as well as more serious conditions such as pneumonia or sepsis, which is blood poisoning.

Some other types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are not new and have been commonly detected in meat and poultry, but the presence of staph is something new and hasn't been previously measured.

Researchers found that the bacteria contaminated the meat because it was present on the skin and in the guts of the animal, not through human contact during processing of the animal. That suggests that the common use of steady doses of antibiotics in healthy animals is to blame, according to Dr. Price.

Using antibiotics in healthy animals "is so counterlogical," Dr. Price said. "We should be doing all that we can to protect the antibiotics," by saving them for cases of illness and even then using them sparingly.