Know Your Butcher, It’s For Your Own Good!

The Butcher’s Guild hates to participate in fear-mongering but the meat-stream is full of scary news. We can’t help but point out that knowing a butcher that knows a farmer is the best way to combat a dinner full of MRSA bacteria. Organic animals aren’t habitually fed antibiotics and small-farmed, pasture-raised animals generally are not habitually fed them (always ask, if you want to know). So, they don’t harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria that end up on your plate.


Antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria widely present in retail pork, new study says

By Andrew Ranallo
Published January 20, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS – New peer-reviewed research published January 19 found methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pork samples collected from retail stores at a higher rate than previously identified. The study by researchers from the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, titled “MRSA in conventional and alternative retail pork products,” represents the largest sampling of raw meat products for MRSA contamination to date in the United States. It appears in the online science journal PLoS ONE from the Public Library of Science.

In total, 395 pork samples were collected from a total of 36 stores in Iowa, Minnesota, and New Jersey. Among these samples, S. aureus—a bacteria that can cause serious human infections of the bloodstream, skin, lungs (pneumonia) and other organs—was isolated from 256 samples (64.8 percent) and of those, 26 pork samples (6.6 percent of the total) were found to contain MRSA.

MRSA is one of the most serious bacteria, causing infections resistant to multiple antibiotics, which are therefore costly and very difficult to treat. According to 2005 estimates, MRSA accounts for about 280,000 infections and nearly 19,000 deaths a year in hospitals. However, MRSA infections acquired outside of hospitals, in communities and on farms, have been rapidly rising.

“The latest results are more than double the prevalence found in previous studies of this kind. At 6.6 percent, pork is four times more likely to be carrying deadly MRSA than the average American, pointing to our food system and industrial farming as an avenue for MRSA to continue to spread,” said IATP’s David Wallinga, MD.

Read the study on the Public Library of Science’s PLoS ONE website at

IATP has been working for over a decade to eliminate the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed and prevent the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA on farms and in our food supply. IATP’s David Wallinga, MD will also be presenting “Raising Pigs, Raising Problems: Saying No to Antibiotics in Animal Feed” at TEDx in Manhattan January 20.

Used under creative commons license from essgee51.

In total, 395 pork samples were collected and of those, 6.6 percent were found to contain MRSA.

Andrew Ranallo

Andrew Ranallo is responsible for the consistency of IATP’s print and online publications, online outreach via social media and press relations.


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