Sixty percent of all meat consumed in the UK is imported from European countries where there have been increasing reports of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) identified in food-producing animals, but rarely from such animals in the UK. Thirty samples each of raw chicken, pork and beef, sourced in England, were collected from retail outlets in Greater Manchester. MRSA was recovered from three chicken samples and one each of pork and beef, all from prepackaged supermarket meat. Four isolates were identified as representatives of the most common human healthcare-associated MRSA clone in the UK [EMRSA-15, spa type t032, belonging to multilocus sequence type clonal complex 22 (MLST-CC22)], suggesting contamination from human source(s) during meat processing. The fifth isolate (from chicken) was multiply-resistant (including oxacillin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, clindamycin and tetracycline), identified as ST9-SCCmecIV, spa type t1939 and lacked the immune evasion cluster, a characteristic of livestock-associated strains. This lineage has been identified previously from animals and meat products in Asia and mainland Europe but not the UK.
- Staphylococcus aureus