New findings by researchers in the United Kingdom have found that nearly two-thirds of raw chicken from supermarkets have a form of antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli a troubling finding for food health officials and consumers alike.
The E. coli group of bacteria run the gamut from harmless strains to pathogenic strains that can cause serious infections. E. coli bacteria can be found living in the environment, food, and in the intestines of humans and animals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that E. coli infections are typically associated with contaminated food, presenting as abdominal cramps and diarrhea, or even as respiratory illnesses, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia.
Investigators from Public Health England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) recently conducted an investigation into food sources of E. coli in UK grocery stores. In their study, published in the journal International Journal of Food Microbiology, the team looked for extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli, which confers resistance to most β-lactam antibiotics as well as carbapenem-resistant forms of the bacteria in raw beef, chicken, pork, fruit, and vegetables.