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UK takes one year snap shot of E. coli resistant bacteria sources

Thursday, December 1, 2016 22:23
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A year-long evaluation of meat, fruit and vegetables from retail stores in five regions of the United Kingdom as sources of extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing and carbapenem-resiislant Escherichia coli is being published in the January 2017 issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

It’s behind a $35.95 paywall, but shows that about 2 percent of the beef and pork and 65 percent of the chicken samples tested were positive for ESBL-producing E. coli. Carbapenem-resistant E. coli was not isolated from any of the samples tested.

The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence and types of ESBL -producing and carbapenem-resilent in e coli in raw beef, chicken, pork and fruit and vegetables sold at retail in the five UK regions.

About 400 samples were collected in 2013 through 2014 for both raw meat and fruits and vegetables from retail stores in London, East Angilia, Northwest England, Scotland and Wales.

The major finding is that the drug resistant E. coli is found in nearly two-thirds of the raw chicken sold at retail in the UK.

The study involved both Public Health England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The findings were confirmed by the annual sampling conducted by Public Health England.

It found e coli infections at a rate of 65.8 cases per 100,000 individuals in 2014-15 and 70.1 cases per 100,000 for 2015-16.

The authors of the supermarket study say the public should avoid eating undercooked ground beef, raw milk, soft cheeses or sprouts. They also urge consumers to always use a cooking thermometer and washing hands often.

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