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FDA report reveals extent of superbugs in US supermarket meat

Superbugs in American supermarket meat are more common than many people are aware, according to a report from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Posted : 28 March 2011

They include increasingly frequent incidences of antibiotic-resistant strains of E.Coli, salmonella and campylobacter bacteria.

The report – the National Antimicrobrial Resistance Monitoring System (Narms) Retail Meat Annual Report 2008 – was released without fanfare or press coverage in December last year.

It looked at 5,236 samples of chicken breasts, pork chops and ground beef and turkey in 2008.

Salmonella, both drug-resistant and otherwise, was found in 12 per cent of chicken samples. A third of that salmonella was discovered to be resistant to penicillin and 45 per cent to the antibiotic tetracycline.

A more detailed breakdown of the findings relating to supermarket meat in Canada and the US can be found on this blog.

The increase in superbugs has been attributed to the use of vast amounts of antibiotics on livestock and poultry in North America – 30 million pounds (lb) is injected into US animals alone, all of them destined for human consumption, as this MFM article makes clear.

For more information, read Melanie Warner’s informative article for BNET.

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