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Researchers Find Antibiotic-Resistant Superbug in Food Product

Jun 14, 2014 08:50 AM EDT
Sea food
File photo of a seafood market.
(Photo : REUTERS/Samsul Said)

Researchers from Canada have found the first-ever case of antibiotic-resistant bacteria lurking in a food product.

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada discovered Pseudomonas in a squid sold at a Chinese grocery store in Saskatoon.

Microbes that are resistant to drugs are already a nightmare for hospitals. Infections caused by these bacteria are difficult to treat. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the threat of microbes getting resistant to a drug isn't restricted to any one country, but is a problem faced by the entire world. The U.S. faces some real danger from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Researchers have even found bacteria that are resistant to carbapenem - our last line of defense against disease-causing microorganisms.

Researchers in the present study weren't actively looking for antibiotic-resistant germs in the food samples. They found it during a small pilot study on seafood samples in Canada.

"We were actually a little bit surprised that we were able to find this organism that we did," Joseph Rubin, an assistant professor of veterinary microbiology at University of Saskatchewan in Canada, told cbc news.

The finding doesn't mean that the food product will make consumers sick. The discovery is important because it shows that some antibiotic-resistant bugs are already in some foods. Researchers usually try to hunt for E.coli or Listeria in the food chain. Also, ingesting food with antibiotic-resistant microbes could help E.coli in the body resistant to the drugs, Physorg reported. 

"In Canada and the United States, we have some really good resistant surveillance programs that look at meat products," Rubin, told cbc news. "But these programs are primarily targeted at beef, pork, and poultry. So there's a whole world of other food items that people are purchasing that really aren't captured in these programs. So that was what I was interested in looking at."

 The study is published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. 

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