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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

MRSA and the Food Connection

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (usually pronounced in short as "Mursa" or spelled out as MRSA), is a bacterium responsible for some difficult-to-treat infection in humans.  Heather Moore Heather Moore, senior writer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote a concerning Op-ed “Your supper & superbugs” on MRSA and its relationship with antibiotics fed to animals. A couple of the more concerning point:

  • Approximately 70 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States aren’t given to human patients — they are fed to farmed animals. The filthy, crowded conditions on factory farms are breeding grounds for disease.

  • One USDA study showed that 66 percent of beef samples were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have reported that 96 percent of the chicken flesh they tested was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant campylobacter bacteria.

  • Another study conducted by the CDC indicated that chicken sold in supermarkets is often tainted with potentially fatal bacteria called Enterococcus faecium. This bacterium was not even affected by Synercid, a drug commonly used to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • A recent Belgian survey showed that MRSA has been found in 68 percent of the pig farms in that country. In 37 percent of the cases, the farmer and the farmer’s family carried pig MRSA — a variant of human MRSA.