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MRSA in U.S. Retail Meat

More than a thousand retail meat samples have been tested for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination in North America.

November 23, 2011 |
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Image thanks to flako.



From pigs to people The emergence of a new superbug. The discovery of a novel strain of MRSA able to jump from livestock to humans. In this study showing widespread and pervasive staph bacteria contamination of the U.S. meat supply this year or at least in turkey, pork, chicken, and beef. This is the scariest column. Oxacillin, which is in the same class as methicillin. These were of MRSA, methicillin resistant staph areaus, now killing more Americans than AIDS every year in the United States and now found in our retail meat supply.

From an overview of the problem published last year out of the University of Iowa, overall MRSA prevalence in U.S. swine was found to be 11%, and higher in confinement operations. And indeed, testing the workers, those working in confinement operations has a higher prevalence of MRSA in their nostrils. They weren't necessarily picking their nose. Airborne MRSA was found floating around even outside confinement buildings. Because of this, concern has arisen about MRSA as a potential environmental and public health hazard.

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them! Be sure to check out all the videos on pork and in particular Airborne MRSA.

And, for more context don't miss the corresponding blog posts: Talking Turkey: 9 out of 10 retail turkey samples contaminated with fecal bacteriaWhy is it Legal to Sell Unsafe Meat?, and Bugs & Drugs in Pork: Yersinia and Ractopamine