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Study Reveals Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Ready-to-Eat Foods: Implications and Findings

Monday, September 11, 2023, 12:22 p.m

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Products can easily become infected with harmful microorganisms PHOTO Pixabay

Sushi, salads and more food ready-made delicious dishes have become staple foods for many people when they go to work or come home after a tiring day. However, a recent study conducted in China shed light on the problem lurking in such products — antibiotic-resistant bacteria, writes Medical News.

Let’s start with the fact that Staphylococcus aureus, or S. aureus, is not unusual in itself. It naturally exists on SKIN our and in the upper respiratory tract. However, some strains of this bacterium are capable of producing toxins that can lead to food poisoning. Although these poisonings are not often life-threatening, they are unpleasant and can lead to significant medical costs. In addition, such outbreaks are a headache for both the food industry and health authorities.

Moreover, there is another version of this bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is resistant to many of the drugs we commonly use to treat infections. The detection of such strains in food products is a cause for concern because it can limit the success of treatment and worsen both the epidemiological situation and the health damage of people affected by the bacteria.

In 2015, approximately 4% of retail food products in China were found to be contaminated with S. aureus, with ready-to-eat foods being the main sources. This is not surprising, because such products can easily become infected with harmful microorganisms at various stages of production – during packaging, transportation or storage.

To get a clearer picture, researchers in 2018 took samples of ready-to-eat foods from different places in China. They then tested these samples for S. aureus and, if they found the bacteria, tested MRSA for drug resistance potential. In addition, the researchers studied the reaction of these bacteria to the most common drugs and analyzed their genetic composition.

As a result of the study, S. aureus was detected in 276 samples. Of these, 30 turned out to be a dangerous version – MRZS. Interestingly, more than 90% of the bacterial samples were resistant to at least one of the most common drugs used for treatment. Penicillin and erythromycin were less effective, while other drugs such as daptomycin, vancomycin, and linezolid were more effective.

In addition, some samples were resistant to several drugs simultaneously. All MRZS samples, not surprisingly, were resistant to penicillin. In addition, the researchers discovered different types and genetic patterns in these bacteria.

On a positive note, the prevalence of multiple drug resistance was found to be lower than previously thought. However, the fact that more than half of the MRZS samples contained multiple toxin-producing genes is a serious concern.

2023-09-11 09:23:10
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