New Investigation Finds LA-MRSA in UK Pork

UK - The Guardian newspaper has reported findings of a livestock strain of MRSA in UK pork.
calendar icon 4 October 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

The investigation, carried out by Dr Mark Holmes, director of studies in clinical veterinary medicine at Churchill College, Cambridge University, and commissioned by the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, sampled 97 UK-produced pork products from supermarkets and found that three samples were contaminated with the antibiotic resistant superbug.

The three contaminated samples were sold at Asda and Sainsbury’s.

The Guardian, through working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), also noted that there is a loophole in import regulations which could allow for MRSA CC398-infected live pigs to enter the UK.

The UK's National Pig Association (NPA) has responded to the Guardian article saying that it needs to be put into context.

LA-MRSA is of negligible risk to the health of the general public, with the main risk being to agricultural workers with prolonged exposure to livestock in agricultural workers. It is not a food safety concern.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies commented: “The key point to make here is that LA-MRSA poses a negligible health risk to the general public.

“Nonetheless, we as an industry need to ensure we do everything we can to minimise the introduction of LA-MRSA into the UK pig breeding herd as these stories can be reputationally damaging.

“We therefore strongly urge anyone importing breeding pigs to Britain to have them screened for LA-MRSA.”

The UK Government is currently reviewing options for increased surveillance of LA-MRSA, which will be proportionate to the very low health risk.

Under the NPA Imports Protocol, which is a requirement of the Red Tractor Assurance (92 per cent of the pigs produced in the UK), it is recommended that live pigs intended for import and the herds from which they originate are tested for MRSA.

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