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Superbug Found in Retail Pork

by 5m Editor
27 March 2008, at 10:46am

CANADA - Antibiotic-resistant Staph bacteria have been found in pork products purchased in retail stores across Canada. The discovery by Canadian researchers raises questions about how the contamination occurred, how often it happens and the implications for human health.

These finding support recent discoveries made by Dutch scientists at the University of Utrecht, who had similar results when screening meat from retail shelves

The Canadian Press reports that under 10 per cent of sampled pork chops and ground pork recently purchased in four provinces had tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. The findings were presented by Zoonoses expert Dr. Scott Weese during the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.

He said that the bacteria is destroyed by proper cooking, and so Staph food poisoning is not a major concern. However, he did have concerns about people handling meat with MRSA on its surface that may, inadvertently end up being "colonized" on themselves. He said that People who carry the bacteria on their skin or in their nostrils are at greater risk of going on to develop a Staph infection. Such symptoms range from a difficult to heal skin lesion to pneumonia and a potentially deadly bloodstream infection.

"My main concern is: if there's MRSA on the surface of a pork chop and someone's handling it and then they touch their nose, could they transmit it from the pork chop to their nose?" noted Weese, a veterinarian based at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph.

"If they do what they're supposed to do in terms of meat handling, then it should be perfectly safe. But do people do that is the question?"

View the Canadian Press story by clicking here.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous item on Dr Weese's MRSA research by clicking here.

5m Editor