Deadly, drug-resistant superbugs now being found in meat products

EWG releases new tool to help consumers avoid antibiotic-resistant bacteria, understand meat and dairy labels. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, has been a concerning health topic, and for good reason. The superbug is a drug-resistant strain of Staph that infects hundreds of thousands of Americans annually, ultimately killing several thousand of them — and that’s not even taking into consideration the many cases that aren’t included in government incidence statistics. And now, you just might stumble upon this harmful strain while eating certain meat products.(1)

That’s right, while enjoying a barbecue or feasting on your favorite family meal, you might be ingesting MRSA.

Researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed over 100 pre-packaged fresh meat products that were of UK farm origin and sold in various supermarkets throughout England. After first freezing them and then sending the products to the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge for testing, two of the pork samples (one from sausages, one from minced pork) came back positive for MRSA. In fact, two strains of MRSA were found in the sausage sample.(2)

In particular, further analysis revealed that the bacteria were from a specific type of MRSA called LA-MRSA CC398, which has become more prevalent throughout continental Europe over the past few years. It primarily affects pigs and poultry; those working with livestock or in related environments such as farmers, slaughterhouse workers or veterinarians are thought to be standing in a bacterial ground zero on a regular basis. A correlation has been found between exposure to such animals and MRSA bacteria making their way into human nasal passages, as well as causing increased incidences of clinical diseases.(2)

Expert warns about contaminated livestock and antimicrobial resistance

Floratrex™ is a superior blend of 50 billion live and active cultures from 18 probiotic strains. It also contains prebiotics to help support strong gut health.While it’s possible that meat could have been imported and could therefore cause bacterial cross-contamination, or that contamination from humans could occur during packaging, the researchers of this study suggest that the more likely origin is from animals. Specifically, it’s thought that the potentially deadly bacteria develop in animals through the use of antibiotics which are often overused to keep livestock infections at bay.(2)

Dr. Des Walsh, Head of Infections and Immunity at the Medical Research Council, which helped fund the research, expresses concern about this finding. “Studies like this are crucial not just to reveal concerns to human health through contaminated livestock,” he said, “but to show resistance to antibiotics is a problem growing far beyond just humans. 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.”(2)

MRSA in the food chain: a serious health hazard that doesn’t just affect those working with farm animals

The findings were published in Eurosurveillance, an online journal. It states that “This is the first description of LA-MRSA CC398 in retail meat products in the UK” and that “the presence of LA-MRSA CC398 in the human food chain demonstrates in addition to the established risk through direct contact with animals a possible further pathway for the transmission of antimicrobial resistance from livestock to the broader human population, and not just via those with direct contact with farm animals.”(3)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of MRSA infections are often confused with spider bites, as the skin tends to redden, swell or feel painful in areas where there are cuts or sores. In many instances, this is accompanied by pus and warmth (inflammation). It’s advised to engage in proper wound care, thoroughly wash clothes and to not share items such as razors which can spread infection. Of course, cooking meats to their recommended temperature (at least) is also suggested, while many are of the belief that eating only a plant-based diet is the best way to avoid a great deal of health problems.(2,4)

MRSA has been identified in retail meats worldwide, including in the United States.(5)

Jennifer Lilley

Sources for this article include:

(1) usatoday.com

(2) cam.ac.uk

(3) eurosurveillance.org

(4) cdc.gov

(5) cdc.gov

Latero-Flora™ is a probiotic supplement that supports gut health by populating the digestive tract with beneficial Bacillus laterosporus (B.O.D.™) bacteria.

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