Deadly MRSA Bacteria Found in Supermarket Meats

22.5% of tested meat was contaminated
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted May 13, 2011 1:59 AM CDT
Updated May 13, 2011 7:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – The potentially deadly, antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria has been found in supermarket meats. Cooking kills the bacteria, but consumers risk infection when they handle raw meat. MRSA has been found increasingly in hospitals and nursing homes, where it can cause serious illness and death. But it has also been spread among athletes sharing equipment. The risk of infection is particularly high among consumers handling meat who have cuts or sore on their hands. "When you handle food, especially if you have wounds on your hands, wear gloves to protect yourself from getting MRSA infection," advises a health expert.

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It's also essential for those handling meat to wash their hands frequently, as well as countertops, plates, and utensils after they've come in contact with raw meat, reports USA Today. Scientists believe MRSA is being transferred to meat by food handlers who carry the bacteria, or possibly by contaminated machinery in meat processing plants. The recent study found that 22.5% of tested samples of beef, chicken, and turkey were contaminated with MRSA. Some experts believe the increased use of antibiotics among animals is partially to blame for increasing the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (And in other scary meat-related stories...)

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