You might have seen in the news today that for the first time a strain of the antibiotic-resistant bacterium, MRSA, has been found in sausages and minced pork bought from supermarkets. So is this the first sign of a food safety crisis? Emphatically not, says our Head of Infections and Immunity, Dr Desmond Walsh, but it does show how critical it is to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance on all fronts.
Is MRSA running rampant in our meat products?
No, that’s not a conclusion that this study supports. The researchers, funded by the MRC and based at the University of Cambridge, bought and analysed a total of 103 pre-packaged fresh pork and chicken products from supermarkets in five different locations across in England. All the packages were labelled as coming from UK farms.
The researchers found that two of the pork samples – one from sausages, one from minced pork – tested positive for MRSA.
As the tests use a highly sensitive method of detection of bacterial contamination, the numbers of MRSA bacteria present may be low. We also don’t know that the MRSA contamination definitely came from UK meat, as there’s no guarantee that the meat packing plants that handled the meat don’t also handle imported meat. Read more