Science/Medicine
4:09 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

MRSA bacteria found in meat sold in Detroit area

Wayne State University researchers say there’s another reason to be extra careful when handling meat: It’s a bacteria that’s usually found in hospital settings.

You may have heard of MRSA – which stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

It’s a nasty little bug that can be difficult to treat and can make you quite sick.

Dr. Yifan Zhang is an assistant professor at Wayne State.

Her research team collected nearly 300 samples of beef, chicken and turkey from Detroit-area markets.

They found 65 samples were contaminated with staph aureus -- six with MRSA.

"That means it's probably from the food handlers who carry MRSA, and that transferred to the meat they handle," Zhang says.

In other words, Zhang says, it’s spread by humans.

She says washing your hands before and after handling meat, and wearing gloves if you have open cuts or wounds on your hands can prevent the spread of bacteria, and protect you from infection. You should also thoroughly cook the meat.

Zhang says the discovery of the MRSA bacteria isn't unique to Detroit, but stresses that overall, the U.S. food supply is safe.