A New Study Reveals US Meat Tainted With Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Researchers found that nearly half of the meat processed in the US exposes its consumers to drug-resistant strains of bacteria


Here’s a good story to publish on a Friday, you know, prior to barbeques, picnics and cookouts that will involve grilling hundreds of pounds of meat. These wonderful and traditional American pastimes may have to be approached from a more cautionary angle. That’s because there may be drug-resistant strains of bacteria lurking in that steak or chicken you have on your grill that you will be serving to your loved ones.

According to, “A study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute, found that Staphylococcus aureus – a bacteria that causes most staph infections including skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning – are present in meat and poultry from U.S. grocery stores at ‘unexpectedly high rates.’

“Researchers found nearly half of the meat and poultry samples — 47 percent — were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria — 52 percent — were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics.”

The study involved researchers inspecting 136 samples including 80 brands of beef, chicken, pork and turkey from 26 grocery stores in five cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Flagstaff and Washington, D.C.

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"For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial," Dr. Lance B. Price, senior author of the study and Director of TGen's Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health, said in a news release. "The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today.”

According to the findings published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, “industrial farms, where food animals are steadily fed low doses of antibiotics, are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria that move from animals to humans.”

"Antibiotics are the most important drugs that we have to treat Staph infections; but when Staph are resistant to three, four, five or even nine different antibiotics — like we saw in this study — that leaves physicians few options," Price said.

Experts say even though Staph can be killed with proper cooking, it still may pose a risk to people who handle food improperly, and cross-contamination in the kitchen.




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