Navigation Links
Scientists Find MRSA Germ in Supermarket Meats

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- MRSA, a bacteria resistant to common antibiotics, has been discovered in supermarket meats, and the germ is apparently being introduced by human food handlers, a new study reports.

Although thorough cooking will kill the bacteria, consumers run the risk of infection if they handle meats contaminated with the germ, researchers said.

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is common in hospitals and nursing homes, where it can cause serious illness and even death. And so-called "community-acquired MRSA" has become a problem among some high school and college athletes who share equipment; this type of MRSA appears as a skin infection and is usually less serious, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's the community-acquired MRSA that was found in the meats, the researchers said.

"MRSA has always been found in human patients, but we found this in retail meat, so retail meat can be a reservoir of these bugs," said study lead researcher Yifan Zhang, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition and food science at Wayne State University in Detroit.

"When people handle food, they can get the bugs from the meat if the meat is already contaminated," she explained.

The risk of becoming infected is especially high if you have open cuts or sores on your hands or skin, Zhang added.

"When you handle food, especially if you have wounds on your hands, wear gloves to protect yourself from getting MRSA infection," she said.

The researchers found a human strain of MRSA in meats, so people can also transfer the bacteria to meat, she added.

Contamination can occur if carriers of MRSA handle meat or if there is MRSA in the environment, which might happen in meat processing plants, Zhang added.

The report was published in the May 11 online edition of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

For the study, Zhang's team purchased 289 raw meat samples, including 156 beef, 76 chicken and 57 turkey samples, from 30 grocery stores in Detroit from August 2009 through January 2010.

The researchers found that 22.5 percent of the samples were contaminated with S. aureus and six samples tested positive for MRSA. Of the six samples contaminated with MRSA, two were beef, three were chicken and one was turkey, the researchers said.

The extent of MRSA contamination in meat varies by the type of meat and where the meat was processed, Zhang said.

Zhang thinks that MRSA in meat results from contact by people carrying the bacteria. Another recent study found that the strain of MRSA in meat in the United States is not the strain found in animals, she noted. That strain is found more commonly in Europe, she added.

However, the animal strain of MRSA has been found in live pigs in the United States, so it may appear in the food chain in the future, the researchers added.

Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University, said that "MRSA is a big problem and appears to be invading our meat."

Siegel also believes that the MRSA contamination Zhang's group found is most likely from infected people handling the meat.

Another factor is the overuse of antibiotics in the raising of livestock. This, Siegel explained, could create antibiotic-resistant animals that are more likely to be susceptible to bacteria such as MRSA.

"The combination of the overuse of antibiotics and the fact that MRSA is becoming more prominent in the human population explains this," he said.

In addition to taking other precautions when handling meat, MRSA is killed when the meat is cooked thoroughly, Siegel added.

Siegel also suggested washing plates or utensils used to prepare food before using them again to eat. And, it is important to disinfect counters that have come into contact with meats, he advised.

These precautions would also kill off any other S. aureus, which "we don't need in our meat either," Siegel said.

On a positive note, another report in the same journal issue finds that efforts to reduce bacterial contamination of chicken from campylobacteriosis have resulted in a 50 percent drop in what was an epidemic in New Zealand.

More information

For more information on MRSA, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Yifan Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Wayne State University, Detroit; Marc Siegel, M.D., associate professor, medicine, New York University, and author, The Inner Pulse: Unlocking the Secret Code of Sickness and Health; May 11, 2011, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emerging Infectious Diseases

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Weizmann Institute scientists show: How adversity dulls our perceptions
2. McMaster scientists find protein’s bad guy role in prostate cancer
3. UCLA scientists discover way to amp up power of killer T cells
4. Yale and Rush University scientists receive Sanberg Awards from ASNTR
5. Scripps Research scientists show how shifts in temperature prime immune response
6. CIRM awards Scripps Research Institute scientists $3.5 million
7. Scientists afflict computers with schizophrenia to better understand the human brain
8. K-RITH awards grants to foster teamwork among South African TB/HIV scientists
9. Scientists show that HIV drugs can also target tropical parasites
10. March of Dimes awards $250,000 prize to scientists who explained human sex chromosomes
11. Scientists create stable, self-renewing neural stem cells
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scientists Find MRSA Germ in Supermarket Meats
(Date:11/28/2015)... Aliso Viejo, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 28, 2015 , ... ... 30 new fully customizable media panels to choose from, the possibilities are endless. Users ... angle, and more. With the ProPanel: Pulse masking effects, users are sure to get ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... CO (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... According ... cities are not changing the way that they are handling security in light of ... police and security presence in an attempt to stop an attack from reaching U.S. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch diseases simply from ... that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He developed the patent-pending ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of ... than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population ... global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the needs of advisers ... solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. However, there's always ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... addition of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by ... (Hospital, Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), ... Global Forecast to 2020" report to ... has announced the addition of the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today ... with the United States (U.S.) ... biosimilar candidate to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen believes ... to the FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA submission ... Harper , M.D., executive vice president of Research and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... On Tuesday, November 24, 2015, the ... Wright Medical Technology, Inc. for product liability and ... implant device, awarded $11 million in favor of ... and three days of deliberations, the jury found ... designed and unreasonably dangerous, and that Wright Medical ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: