Resistant germs discovered in chicken meat

Samples from different manufacturers contaminated with MRSA and ESBL

Chicken meat © gemeinfrei
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Chicken meat from German supermarkets and discounters is burdened to a large extent with antibiotic-resistant germs. On ten out of 20 meat samples purchased in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Nuremberg and the region around Stuttgart, the German Federal Agency for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) found ESBL germs, two samples were contaminated with MRSA germs. The germs arise because in industrial livestock systematically large quantities of antibiotics are used.

Bacteria and enzymes neutralize antibiotic activity

MRSA stands for "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus". These are bacteria that colonize the skin and mucous membranes of humans and animals and can cause wound infections there. In people with weakened immune systems, these bacteria can also cause blood poisoning and pneumonia. MRSA bacteria are usually resistant to several antibiotic groups. Therefore, treatment options are severely limited in MRSA-related infections. So far, the germ occurred mainly in hospitals, where it is transmitted from person to person.

ESBLs are enzymes (Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamases) that can override important antibiotics in human medicine. ESBL enzymes can be produced by intestinal germs, which are a problem especially for susceptible people. Since important antibiotic groups no longer work, doctors are severely limited in their treatment options. In healthy people, consumption of ESBL-producing bacteria may mean that these bacteria will colonize the intestinal flora for a longer period of time. In the intestine, the ability to produce ESBL can be passed on to other germs - eg from relatively unproblematic intestinal germs (E.coli) to problematic pathogens (eg Salmonella, Klebsiella).

Resistant pathogens found in samples from three manufacturers

ESBL-burdened were three samples of the chicken supplier "Wiesenhof", bought at Edeka in Berlin, Netto in Cologne and Lidl in the Stuttgart region. Three samples of the supplier "Sprehe" also showed ESBL germs, they were purchased at Rewe in Cologne and at Edeka in Nuremberg. Another chicken sample from "Sprehe", purchased from Rewe in Hamburg, contained MRSA germs. Four samples of "Stolle", two of them bought at Penny in Berlin and two at Netto in Hamburg, showed ESBL germs, one of the samples purchased from Netto in Hamburg also contained MRSA germs.

Hubert Weiger, BUND chairman: "Every second sample of chicken meat from German supermarkets is burdened with antibiotic-resistant germs. This is the frightening result of continuing antibiotic abuse. This is not only responsible for the fact that important drugs can lose their lifesaving effect. The extent of contamination of foods with hospital germs is a clear warning sign of the collateral damage of industrial animal husbandry. Display

Keeping an increasing number of livestock on too little space is only possible with the use of large amounts of antibiotics. Subsidies for industrial meat production must be abolished and conditions for livestock must be significantly improved. Weiger called on the retail chains and supermarkets to banish meat laden with germs from the shelves. From their meat suppliers, they should demand that they switch to animal husbandry without antibiotic abuse. Weiger cites meat production in organic farming and in non-organic farms as examples of environmentally and animal-friendly farming methods.

(BUND, 10.01.2012 - NPO)