MRSA found lurking in supermarket meat

A new study announced May 12 discovered supermarket meats in the US contaminated with dangerous methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. Here's what you need to know to keep you and your family safe.

While cooking kills the bacteria, handling raw meat could be risky. Health experts advise that when handling meat wash your hands frequently, as well as scrub down countertops, plates, and utensils after they’ve come into contact with raw meat.

Also, be especially careful when handling raw meat if you have wounds on your hands—wear gloves to protect yourself from infection, study lead researcher Yifan Zhang at Wayne State University in Detroit, stated in a release.

Scientists think the MRSA might be transferred to the meat by food handlers who carry the superbug, or by contaminated machinery in meat processing plants. In the study, scientists found that 22.5 percent of 289 meat samples from Detroit grocery stores tested positive for MRSA. The breakdown: 20.5 percent of beef, 25 percent of chicken, and 24.6 percent of turkey samples were contaminated.

This news follows reports that MRSA has been discovered in pork products in Canada and Europe, as well as a recent US-based Translational Genomics Research Institute study that found 47 percent of supermarket meat in several US states carried Staph bacteria.

The report was published in the May 11 online edition of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. To access a PDF, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/index.htm

More tips on how to safely handle food in your kitchen: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/Foodhygiene.aspx

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