Infectious Diseases 2018

Infectious Diseases 2018

FSA: antibiotic-resistant bacteria levels in chicken

7 September, 2018

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a significant threat to public health as well as having amajor global economic impact and has been identified as a key priority, notonly by the UK government but by countries throughout the world. A systematic review of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the food chain by the Food Standards Agency (2016) concluded that there was a lack of data on AMR prevalence in British-produced food, leading to difficulty in monitoring trends or producing risk assessments for the exposure of consumers. A key recommendation from this review was to address these gaps in evidence by developing research and surveillance to monitor AMR levels in foodborne pathogens and commensal bacteria in poultry and pork meat. As a result, a short-term, cross-sectional surveillance study was carried out over a two month period to determine the prevalence of AMR in pathogenic and indicator bacteria isolated from fresh/frozen chicken (whole or portions) on retail sale in the United Kingdom. Between the beginning of September and end of October 2017, a representative survey based on market share data collected 339 samples of raw chicken (whole or portions) from retailers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Samples included both domestically produced and imported meats.
A total of 339 samples of raw chicken from retailers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were collected. They were produced by 63 different establishments. Most are in the UK, but four in Poland and the Netherlands, three in Denmark and one each in Spain, Ireland and Germany.
These were tested for E. coli, including ESBL-producing E. coli, Klebsiella spp. and enterococci, as well as Campylobacter spp. for chicken samples. One isolate of each bacterial type from each sample was used to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for a range of antimicrobials.
Campylobacter spp. were detected in 85 of 339, for 25 percent, of chicken samples with one whole chicken giving a result of greater than 1000 cfu/g. Campylobacter spp. were detected more frequently in whole chickens, 42 out of 120 (42/120), and leg/wing portions, with 21 out of 73 samples testing positive. Breast meat was lower, with 19 out of 132 samples were positive. All 34 frozen samples were negative for the pathogen.
Determination of MICs was performed for 157 Campylobacter jejuni and 45 Campylobacter coli isolates from 79 samples. Of the Campylobacter coli isolates 46.7 percent (21/45) were resistant to ciprofloxacin, three resistant to erythromycin and 60 percent (27) resistant to tetracycline. For the Campylobacter jejuni isolates 38.9 percent (61/157) were resistant to ciprofloxacin, twelve were resistant to erythromycin and 61.8 percent (97) resistant to tetracycline. All isolates were sensitive to gentamicin and only one Campylobacter coli isolate was resistant to streptomycin. Of 66 samples from which Campylobacter jejuni was detected, ciprofloxacin resistant Campylobacter jejuni were detected in 25 of them, erythromycin resistant in six samples and tetracycline resistant in 39 samples. Of 21 samples were Campylobacter coli was detected, ciprofloxacin resistant Campylobacter coli were detected in eight of them, erythromycin resistant in three and tetracycline resistant in 11 samples (52 percent).
Multidrug resistance defined as reduced susceptibility to at least three unrelated antimicrobial classes was found in four Campylobacter coli (8.9 percent of isolates) and one Campylobacter jejuni from five samples.
Resistance to three or more groups of antimicrobials was seen in 56.5 percent (74/131) of chicken isolates.
E. coli organisms demonstrating the ESBL phenotype were detected in 28/339 of chicken samples. Results from retail chicken showed a decrease in samples positive for ESBL-producing E. coli compared to other UK studies, which found that 29.7 percent in 2016 and 65.4 percent in 2013/2014 of samples were positive.

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