Superbugs in the supermarket? Assessing the rate of contamination with third-generation cephalosporin-resistant gram-negative bacteria in fresh Australian pork and chicken
AuthorMcLellan, JE; Pitcher, JI; Ballard, SA; Grabsch, EA; Bell, JM; Barton, M; Grayson, ML
Source TitleAntimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Microbiology and Immunology
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMcLellan, J. E., Pitcher, J. I., Ballard, S. A., Grabsch, E. A., Bell, J. M., Barton, M. & Grayson, M. L. (2018). Superbugs in the supermarket? Assessing the rate of contamination with third-generation cephalosporin-resistant gram-negative bacteria in fresh Australian pork and chicken. ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE AND INFECTION CONTROL, 7 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-018-0322-4.
Access StatusOpen Access
Background: Antibiotic misuse in food-producing animals is potentially associated with human acquisition of multidrug-resistant (MDR; resistance to ≥ 3 drug classes) bacteria via the food chain. We aimed to determine if MDR Gram-negative (GNB) organisms are present in fresh Australian chicken and pork products. Methods: We sampled raw, chicken drumsticks (CD) and pork ribs (PR) from 30 local supermarkets/butchers across Melbourne on two occasions. Specimens were sub-cultured onto selective media for third-generation cephalosporin-resistant (3GCR) GNBs, with species identification and antibiotic susceptibility determined for all unique colonies. Isolates were assessed by PCR for SHV, TEM, CTX-M, AmpC and carbapenemase genes (encoding IMP, VIM, KPC, OXA-48, NDM). Results: From 120 specimens (60 CD, 60 PR), 112 (93%) grew a 3GCR-GNB (n = 164 isolates; 86 CD, 78 PR); common species were Acinetobacter baumannii (37%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (13%) and Serratia fonticola (12%), but only one E. coli isolate. Fifty-nine (36%) had evidence of 3GCR alone, 93/163 (57%) displayed 3GCR plus resistance to one additional antibiotic class, and 9/163 (6%) were 3GCR plus resistance to two additional classes. Of 158 DNA specimens, all were negative for ESBL/carbapenemase genes, except 23 (15%) which were positive for AmpC, with 22/23 considered to be inherently chromosomal, but the sole E. coli isolate contained a plasmid-mediated CMY-2 AmpC. Conclusions: We found low rates of MDR-GNBs in Australian chicken and pork meat, but potential 3GCR-GNBs are common (93% specimens). Testing programs that only assess for E. coli are likely to severely underestimate the diversity of 3GCR organisms in fresh meat.
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