MRSA and Meat: 64% of Pork Samples In Grocery Stores Contaminated by Livestock and Handlers

We’ve blogged in the past about MRSA being found on grocery meat in Detroit. Now, the same problem is occurring in Iowa, Minnesota, and New Jersey. A a recent study published this past January revealed that 64% of pork samples from grocery stores in these areas were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus. Of these, more than 6% tested positive for MRSA, the drug-resistant strain of Staph.

Tara Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa and one of the study’s contributing authors notes the uncertainty of the source of contamination. The molecular typing from these samples are shown as a combination of both “human” and “pig” strains. This suggests that the bacteria may be from both the farm and the people who handle the products.

As most of you know, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most deadly and resistant strains of Staph bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, more than 90,000 people develop a serious MRSA infection every year and up to 20% of the infected population die. Of those that survive, many face incredibly difficult recovery periods that often involve more medication and surgery. This study is important as it highlights previous connections made by the CDC that connect staph and MRSA to contaminated food products.  Using the samples of MRSA collected from the study, it was found that ~75% were resistant to two or more antibiotics used and ~40% were resistant to three or more antibiotics used. This is cause for concern as there are very few new antibiotics being developed, and the arsenal of therapies currently used to treat MRSA is dwindling.

This study notes that the strain MRSA ST398 has been found in pigs and farmers in both Canada and the U.S.  This is an unsettling discovery because it highlights the fact that MRSA can be transmitted from animals to humans through meat in grocery stores – “As not all patients diagnosed with ST398 infections had known contact with livestock, the possibility of acquisition of ST398 via handling of contaminated pork products was suggested.”

Moreover, the presence of S. aureus found on pork samples suggests that there can also be other dangerous pathogens on meat products as well.  After conducting the study, Smith encourages farms working alongside packing companies and processing plants in order to assist in finding where exactly these meat products first became contaminated.  Approximately 185,000 cases of foodborne illness per annum are caused by S. aureus, many of which are preventable.

In order to guard against any potential infection or transfer of MRSA from meat products, it is best to keep in mind that food can be contaminated.  Always follow safe food handling measures when buying and preparing raw meats, and also making sure your local grocery stores are doing so too.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

One Response to “MRSA and Meat: 64% of Pork Samples In Grocery Stores Contaminated by Livestock and Handlers”

  1. Brenda Roberson says:

    I am an LPN and contracted MRSA from an unknown patient back in 2005. I did ABT at home with no luck. I went in to the hospital in Jan.2006. I was there for 13 weeks. 7 of those were in ICU. I had 6 surgeries in 5 weeks. The MRSA went systemic and ate part of my spine. Because of this I now have my spine put together with nuts, bolts, screws, rods and a cage around my spine. I wear a back brace. I am having a hard time finding a job. No one wants to take a chance on a nurse wearing a back brace. This is a misrable existence. I always took the precautions, but it got me anyway. Just want people to know that MRSA is easy to get and remember you never get rid of it.

Leave a Reply

Staypressed theme by Themocracy