Submitted to: National Foundation for Infectious Disease
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2002
Publication Date: June 27, 2002
Citation: Hudson, C., Cray, P.J., Barrett, J.B. Prevalence and antimicrobial resistance of enterococci isolated from retail meats. National Foundation For Infectious Disease. pg.45 Technical Abstract: Background: The use of antimicrobials in the food supply and the potential for transfer of antimicrobial resistant bacteria into the human population is cause for concern. Because commensal bacteria such as enterococci have natural gene transfer mechanisms and can harbor multiple resistances, it is important to characterize the strains that are isolated from food. Methods: From 2000-2001, 87 fresh or ground meat products (chicken, beef, pork, and turkey) were obtained from 6 popular grocery store chains in the North Georgia USA area and cultured for the presence of enterococci. Enterococcus isolates were speciated and then analyzed for antimicrobial susceptibility to a panel of 16 or 17 antimicrobials for 2000 and 2001, respectively. Results: Approximately 80% (70/87) of the samples were positive for enterococci. Among the meat items tested, enterococci were isolated from 20/23 chicken, 18/22 beef, 14/21 pork and 18/21 turkey samples. For all meat items, the predominant species identified was Enterococcus faecalis (n=55) and Enterococcus durans (n=5). For 8 of the 17 antimicrobials tested, higher numbers of resistant isolates were recovered from turkey products followed by chicken products than for beef and pork. While high numbers of isolates were resistant to bacitracin (60/70), lincomycin (63/70), Synercid (55/70), and tetracycline (42/70), very few isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin (n=1), gentamicin (n=8), penicillin (n=2), linezolid (n=2) or nitrofurantoin (n=1). The majority of resistance to Synercid (70%) was attributed to intrinsic resistance of E. faecalis. None of the isolates were resistant to salinomycin or vancomycin. Conclusions: These data suggest that meats commonly purchased and consumed from grocery stores are a source of enterococci. However, overall resistance to antimicrobials is relatively low. Further surveillance is warranted.