MRSA in U.S. Retail Meat

MRSA in U.S. Retail Meat
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More than a thousand retail meat samples have been tested for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination in North America.

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If you’re not a factory farm pig, or factory farm worker, nor take showers in pork production facilities, is there reason for concern about the level of MRSA superbug infection in US pig herds?

Retail meat samples were taken from 22 grocery stores, including pork, chicken, beef, turkey, bison, veal, hen, and lamb. 1% were found positive for MRSA. That was reported last year.

This year: “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in retail meat, Detroit, Michigan, USA” in the CDC journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases. 289 samples from 30 grocery stores, and chicken was found to be the worst. 3.9% of chicken samples were found to be contaminated with MRSA.

A much more in-depth study carried out in Canada. More than 900 samples of retail meat were tested. MRSA was isolated from about 10% of pork, 5% of beef, and 1% of chicken samples.

What are the practical implications? “Touching one’s nose after handling contaminated meat could plausibly result in nasal colonization, and contact of contaminated meat with skin lesions could potentially result in MRSA infection.” As NYU professor Marc Siegel summed it up, “MRSA is a big problem and appears to be invading our meat.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to flako / Flickr

 

If you’re not a factory farm pig, or factory farm worker, nor take showers in pork production facilities, is there reason for concern about the level of MRSA superbug infection in US pig herds?

Retail meat samples were taken from 22 grocery stores, including pork, chicken, beef, turkey, bison, veal, hen, and lamb. 1% were found positive for MRSA. That was reported last year.

This year: “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in retail meat, Detroit, Michigan, USA” in the CDC journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases. 289 samples from 30 grocery stores, and chicken was found to be the worst. 3.9% of chicken samples were found to be contaminated with MRSA.

A much more in-depth study carried out in Canada. More than 900 samples of retail meat were tested. MRSA was isolated from about 10% of pork, 5% of beef, and 1% of chicken samples.

What are the practical implications? “Touching one’s nose after handling contaminated meat could plausibly result in nasal colonization, and contact of contaminated meat with skin lesions could potentially result in MRSA infection.” As NYU professor Marc Siegel summed it up, “MRSA is a big problem and appears to be invading our meat.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to flako / Flickr

 

Doctor's Note

Be sure to check out my other videos on pork, and in particular: Airborne MRSA.

And for more context, don’t miss my 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.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

6 responses to “MRSA in U.S. Retail Meat

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  1. Feb 3, 2013: 2011 NARMS Retail Meat Annual Report

    http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm335102.htm
    April 18, 2013: The Environmental Working Group report “Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets”, which analyzes the above in lay terms:
    http://static.ewg.org/reports/2013/meateaters/ewg_meat_and_antibiotics_report2013.pdf

    Where are we (as of 2011)?
    Percent of meat samples containing antibiotic resistant Enterococcus faecalis:

    Turkey: 81%
    Pork: 69%
    Beef: 55%
    Chicken: 39%

  2. Hypochlorus acid has been FDA approved to kill MRSA. I soak all my meat and fish in this acid prior to even touching it to avoid contamination.

    1. Hi Bill. You are just kidding us, right? Please respond so we know you are still alive. Cursory examination tells me the FDA approves this stuff to sanitize food processing equipment. But, if you want to soak your flesh foods in bleach, have at it. However, please keep coming back to this website to see how others like myself have transcended this issue as much as possible by eating a low fat, whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet. Good luck!
      http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=178.1010

    2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11327319

      Living with a killer: the effects of hypochlorous acid on mammalian cells.

      Abstract

      The production of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) by the myeloperoxidase-H2O2-Cl- system of phagocytes plays a vital role in the ability of these cells to kill a wide range of pathogens. However, the generation of a potent oxidant is not without risk to the host, and there is evidence that HOCl contributes to the tissue injury associated with inflammation. In this review, we discuss the biological reactivity of HOCl, and detail what is known of how it interacts with mammalian cells. The outcome of exposure is dependent on the dose of oxidant, with higher doses causing necrosis, and apoptosis or growth arrest occurring with lower amounts. Glutathione (GSH) and protein thiols are easily oxidized, and are preferred targets with low, sublethal amounts of HOCl. Thiol enzymes vary in their sensitivity to HOCl, with glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase being most susceptible. Indeed, loss of activity occurred before GSH oxidation. The products of these reactions and the ability of cells to regenerate oxidized thiols are discussed. Recent reports have indicated that HOCl can activate cell signaling pathways, and these studies may provide important information on the role of this oxidant in inflammation.

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