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Weekly Overview: Antibiotic-Resistant E. coli Found in UK Supermarket Pork

05 September 2016

ANALYSIS - New research has found 24 per cent of chicken and pork samples tested positive for a type of E. coli that is resistant to the ‘critically important’ modern cephalosporin antibiotics, a level four times higher than was found during a similar study in 2015.

The study, commissioned by the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics and carried out by scientists at Cambridge University, looked at 189 UK-origin pig and poultry meat samples from the seven largest supermarkets in the UK (ASDA, Aldi, Coop, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose).

The highly resistant ESBL type of E. coli was found on meat from all of the supermarkets.

Dr Mark Holmes, from Cambridge University, who led the study said: “I’m concerned that insufficient resources are being put into the surveillance of antibiotic resistance in farm animals and retail meat. We don’t know if these levels are rising or falling in the absence of an effective monitoring system.

“These results highlight the need for improvements in antibiotic stewardship in veterinary medicine. While some progress has been made we must not be complacent as it may take many years before we see significant reductions in the numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in farms.”

In Canada, pork producers are being urged to look out for symptoms of Seneca Valley Virus (SVV) following an increase in cases in the US over the past few weeks.

Although SVV is not production limiting, it does share resemblance to foot and mouth disease, causing blisters on the mouth and the feet of pigs.

In other disease news, Russia and Ukraine have both reported more outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in farmed pigs. 

Lucy Towers

Lucy Towers
News Team - Editor

After graduating from The University of Sheffield, Lucy joined 5M in 2011 as part of the News Desk team. In 2012, she was promoted to editor of TheFishSite. With previous farming experience and a love for the great outdoors, Lucy has a passion for wildlife and the environment.

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