Category Archives: Antibiotic Resistance

UK – Levels of AMR Campylobacter in retail chickens remain steady


Levels of AMR Campylobacter in retail chickens remain steady

We have published the Year 3 results of a survey to identify the proportion of Campylobacter isolated from the FSA’s UK retail chicken survey that were resistant to a range of antimicrobial agents.

The survey tested a subset of the Campylobacter isolates (Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli strains) from Year 3 of the UK retail chicken survey for AMR. Analysis was carried out between August 2016 and July 2017 during which 585 Campylobacter isolates from samples of whole, UK-produced, fresh chicken were tested.


The development and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a concern worldwide. The use of antibiotics is important in treating infections and preventing disease from arising in both animals and humans. However, the overuse and/or misuse of antibiotics in both animal husbandry and healthcare settings has been linked to the emergence and spread of microorganisms which are resistant to them, rendering treatment ineffective and posing a risk to public health.

The transmission of AMR microorganisms through the food chain is thought to be one of the routes by which people are exposed to AMR bacteria. However, there is uncertainty around the contribution food makes to the problem of AMR in human infections.

This report presents AMR data for a subset of Campylobacter isolates collected as part of the survey of Campylobacter contamination in fresh whole UK-produced chilled chickens at retail sale. There is a continued need to monitor the prevalence and types of AMR bacteria in retail chicken and other foods to inform a baseline and also the risk to public health.

What the results show

Read the report: AMR in Campylobacter from retail chilled chicken in the UK (Year 3: 2016-17)

Overall, the proportions of AMR Campylobacter isolates found in this study were similar to those reported in the previous survey year (July 2015 to July 2016), although the percentage of C. coli isolates with resistance to erythromycin was lower. Multi-drug resistance was similar to that found in the previous survey years.

Differences in levels of ciprofloxacin and tetracycline resistance for isolates from standard and free-range birds were examined. There were no differences within C. jejuni isolates but a higher proportion of C. coli isolates from free-range chickens were resistant, compared to isolates recovered from standard chickens. However, relatively few isolates were tested and this result has not been found in previous surveys.

FSA’s Science lead in Microbiological Risk Assessment, Paul Cook said:

‘While there is evidence that AMR Campylobacter is present on whole fresh chickens sold at retail in the UK, the risk of getting AMR-related infections through eating or preparing contaminated meat remains very low as long as you follow good hygiene and cooking practices.

‘Tackling AMR is a significant priority for the FSA and across UK Government. This survey allows us to monitor AMR Campylobacter in retail chickens over time and overall results have remained stable.’

Year 3 Campylobacter retail chicken survey

The FSA has also published the Year 3 report for the UK retail chicken survey. This report collates the data for August 2016-July 2017 which has previously been published quarterly.

Compared to previous years of the retail survey, the report shows that the average proportion of fresh, whole chicken at retail sale in the UK that are contaminated with a high level of Campylobacter decreased considerably for this period.

Consumer advice

Chicken is safe as long as you follow good hygiene and cooking practices.

  • cover raw chicken and store at the bottom of the fridge so juices cannot drip onto other foods and contaminate them with food poisoning bacteria such as Campylobacter
  • don’t wash raw chicken – thorough cooking will kill any bacteria present, including Campylobacter, while washing chicken can spread germs by splashing
  • thoroughly wash and clean all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken
  • wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, after handling raw chicken – this helps stop the spread of Campylobacter by avoiding cross-contamination
  • make sure chicken is cooked thoroughly and steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut into the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.

Research – Bacteria found in ancient Irish soil halts growth of superbugs: New hope for tackling antibiotic resistance

Science Daily

Researchers analyzing soil from Ireland long thought to have medicinal properties have discovered that it contains a previously unknown strain of bacteria which is effective against four of the top six superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA. Antibiotic-resistant superbugs could kill up to 1.3 million people in Europe by 2050, according to recent research. The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes the problem as ‘one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.’

Research – Study finds resistance levels not lower in antibiotic-free burger meat


A new study by researchers with the US Department of Agriculture has found similar levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in ground beef raised with and without antibiotics. The findings appeared in the Journal of Food Protection.

The authors of the study say the data, along with previous research they’ve done on AMR in conventionally raised and “raised without antibiotics” (RWA) cattle, suggest that antimicrobial use in US cattle production has “minimal to no impact on AMR in the resident bacteria.”

The finding comes at a time of heightened concern about the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals, who consume between 70% and 80% of medically important antibiotics sold worldwide, and how that use affects human health. The World Health Organization and other public health groups have called for limits on their use in livestock and poultry, arguing that widespread use of these drugs for growth promotion and disease prevention in healthy animals contributes to the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens, which can be transmitted to humans through meat.

Research – Prevalence, genotyping, serotyping, and antibiotic resistance of isolated Salmonella strains from industrial and local eggs in Iran

Wiley Online Library


This present study aimed to evaluate prevalence and characterization of serotypes, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and genotypic profiles of Salmonella isolates in industrial and local eggs from Zanjan province of Iran. A total of 120 egg samples were collected and processed according to bacteriological analytical manual to isolate Salmonella strains from both eggs surface and contents. PCR method and genotyping were used to verify, identification and classification of isolates by screening invA genes and 16 s‐rRNA gene sequencing. Salmonella contamination rate in eggshell and contents of industrial and local eggs were 0% and 1.66%, respectively. High degree of AMR was observed to nalidixic acid and erythromycin. Gene sequencing for each isolates showed more similarity with Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis and Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium strains.

Practical applications

Salmonella contamination in eggs and the role of healthy chickens as reservoir and distributer of Salmonella in poultry farms can be a common food safety concern for public health. Therefore, Continuous monitoring of presence Salmonella and their antimicrobial resistance is of critical importance. Present study gives an insight of the current statues of egg’s contamination with Salmonella isolates, their antimicrobial resistance, genotupic profile, and epidemiological relationship in Iran.

Research – Dodging antibiotic resistance by curbing bacterial evolution

Science Daily

Lowering mutation rates in harmful bacteria might be an as yet untried way to hinder the emergence of antimicrobial pathogens. One target for drug development might be a protein factor, DNA translocase Mfd, that enables bacteria to evolve rapidly by promoting mutations in many different bacterial species. This action speeds antibiotic resistance, including multi-drug resistance. Working on drugs to block Mfd and similar factors could be a revolutionary strategy to address the worldwide crisis of treatment-resistant infectious diseases

Research – Resistant bacteria: Can raw vegetables and salad pose a health risk?

Science Daily 


Salad is popular with people who want to maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Salad varieties are often offered for sale ready-cut and film-packaged. It is known that these types of fresh produce may be contaminated with bacteria that are relevant from the point of view of hygiene. A working group led by Professor Dr. Kornelia Smalla from the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) has now shown that these bacteria may also include bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

“We have to get to the bottom of these findings,” said Professor Dr Georg Backhaus, President of the Julius Kühn Institute. Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are known to occur in manure, sewage sludge, soil and bodies of water. “This worrying detection of these kinds of bacteria on plants is in line with similar findings for other foods,” adds Professor Dr Dr Andreas Hensel, President of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). “We are now assessing as a matter of urgency what this finding means with regard to the health risk for consumers.”

UK- Scotland – Levels of antimicrobial resistant E. coli in UK retail meat remain low


CDC E.coli


The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have published the Year Three results of an EU survey commissioned to assess the frequency of certain types of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) E. coli in raw UK retail pork and beef.

Year Three of the survey was carried out between January and December 2017 during which 314 beef and 310 pork samples were purchased from retail premises in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and tested for specific types of AMR E. coli.

The survey generates baseline data on certain types of AMR E. coli found in retail meat in the UK, which informs assessment of the risks found, and steps needed be taken, in order to reduce exposure to AMR.

Overall, the results showed that less than 1% of the samples were positive for ESBL or AmpC E. coli, which are specific types of AMR. These results are similar to what was found in Year One of the survey. However, one beef sample was found to be contaminated with an E. coli containing the mcr-1 gene, which confers resistance to the antibiotic colistin.

[Source: FSA, 13 November 2018.…]