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Bacteria in meat have always been present; that's why it's important to cook meat properly before eating it.MedlinePlus reports on a study that found half the meat sampled from grocery store shelves is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
The likely reason behind this development is the routine use of low level antibiotics given to animals by food growers. Antibiotic therapy is instituted to help reduce the incidence of disease and death among the animals that we use for food -- turkey, pork, beef and chicken.
Lance Price, head researcher of this study conducted by the Translational Genomics Research Institute of Arizona explains that more than 130 meat samples were taken from 26 grocery stores in five states. Study findings concluded that 96 percent of meats tested were resistant to at least one type of antibiotic and 52 percent of meats tested were resistant to three or more types of antibiotics.
Staphylococcus aureus is one of more than 30 bacteria that cause infections in humans. Of all bacteria, Staph. aureus is the most frequent cause of infections, ranging from skin infections to pneumonia and toxic shock syndrome.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a form of the bacteria that is resistant to a group of antibiotics called beta-lactam, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to methicillin, this group of antibiotics includes penicillin and amoxicillin. This gives health care providers fewer medication options to successfully treat the Staph aureus infection.
Increasing the severity of the problem with antibiotic-resistant Staph. aureus is that some strains of the bacteria have developed a reduced response to Vancomycin, the antibiotic often given to treat MRSA. The current study conducted on meat in U.S. supermarkets did not report the presence of this strain of the bacteria, but might that not be a likely development in the future with the continued routine use of antibiotics in animals?
No one is immune from the potential hazards of the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat. Baby boomers, children, young adults and the elderly need to increase vigilance in the handling and preparation of fresh meat products.
People who are immune-compromised may be at the greatest risk of infection from the meat-borne bacteria, but everyone needs to take extra precautions. Good hand-washing, cleaning of surfaces contaminated by raw meat and the prevention of raw meat touching other food are important techniques to prevent the spread of bacterial infection.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports it is monitoring the situation of the use of antibiotics in animals and is awaiting further information from the CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture before determining what, if nay, action needs to be taken.
That means that for now, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, are the watchwords for meat consumers.
Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.