Grocery Meat Harboring Disease-Causing Bacteria, Study

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ThinkstockPhotos-470427829Food safety issues typically involve bacteria such as listeria, salmonella, campylobacter, and E. coli. Researchers have now discovered that the disease-causing bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae) can be contracted through meat sold in grocery stores.

According to a recent study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers from several institutes joined together to explore how K. pneumoniae could be acquired through food sources.

Study researchers isolated specimens from meat sources (pork, chicken, and turkey) sold in grocery stores across Flagstaff, Arizona in 2012. They also tested blood and urine tests from local Flagstaff residents diagnosed with the infection, to assess similarities between genetic makeup, pathogenicity, and antibiotic resistance.

Researchers discovered that out of over 500 meat products they sampled, 47% carried Klebsiella. Most of this bacterium’s strains recovered were antibiotic and drug-resistant— likely as a result from an increased-use of antibiotics among farmed animals, creating ideal conditions for Klebsiella to emerge.

Because isolates and humans are genetically similar, transferring virulent, antibiotic-resistant K. pneumonia from an animal source to humans is very possible.

Researchers concluded that the need to stop overusing antibiotics is a major move towards protecting public health.

Source for Today’s Article:
Davis, G.S., et al., “Intermingled Klebsiella pneumoniae populations between retail meats and human urinary tract infections,” Clinical Infectious Diseases 2015; DOI:10.1093/cid/civ428.




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Leah Shainhouse is a Registered Dietitian with the College of Dietitians of Ontario and a member of the Dietitians of Canada. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Honors, in Nutritional Sciences from the University of British Columbia and went on to complete her dietetic training and Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition at McGill University. Leah has a strong desire to help shape the lives of individuals through a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys working with people to help... Read Full Bio »