‘Staph Report’ Author Calls for Cut in Drug Use

US - Following the publication of his findings of Staphylococcus aureus in almost half of all US meat last week, the author has called for a dramatic cut in the use of antibiotics in food animal production as well as more monitoring and testing by the government.
calendar icon 18 April 2011
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The study on the presence of antibiotic-resistant staph in the nation's meat and poultry supply has landed with a considerable splash via news stories nationwide. Now let's hear what the senior author of that study – Lance Price – proposes be done, reports Los Angeles Times.

Dr Price is the director of the Center for Microbiomics and Human Health at the Translational Genomic Research Institute. He and his colleagues tested 136 samples of meat and poultry from five cities nationwide, finding that 47 per cent were contaminated with Staph and that more than half that Staph was of the drug-resistant variety. Their results were published last week in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Animals, the researchers concluded, were the predominant source of that staph.

Speaking at a news conference on 15 April on the findings, Dr Price urged a dramatic reduction in antibiotic use in food animals.

He said: "There is unequivocal evidence that decreasing antibiotic use in food production decreases antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the animals, decreases antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the foods and decreases antibiotic-resistant bacteria in people."

And, he said, government agencies need more money.

LA Times reports Dr Price saying: "They need to be monitoring a lot of different kinds of bacteria, they need to be reporting more regularly, and that information needs to be fed back into other parts of the FDA to make recommendations on the antibiotics that are allowed to be used in food animal productions. "And we need farm-level detailed information about what antibiotics are being used for what purpose and in what quantity."

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