Thursday, April 21, 2011

Super bug bacteria in meat and poultry, study says - SmartPlanet

Meat and poultry inspectors usually look for many types of multi-drug-resistant bacteria, but staph is often times overlooked. The bacteria can cause skin infections and can lead to more serious illnesses such as pneumonia and sepsis.

Here’s a summary of what the study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found:

  • half of the meat sold in grocery stores are contaminated with S. aureus
  • one in four samples were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics
  • methicillin-resistant staph was found in three of the samples
  • the staph are resistant to up to nine different antibioitics, making it hard to treat

However, The New York Times reports that “federal health officials estimate that staph accounts for less than 3 percent of all food-borne illnesses. In a statement Friday, the American Meat Institute said the study was misleading.” Businessweek reports staph infections occur only three percent of the time and are not nearly as common as other foodborne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli.

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