Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 7;11(1):14041. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-93362-x.
Retail beef and pork, including processed products, can serve as vehicles for the zoonotic foodborne transmission of pathogens and antimicrobial resistant bacteria. However, processed and seasoned products like sausages, are not often included in research and surveillance programs. The objective of this study was to investigate retail ground beef and pork, including processed products, for the presence of common foodborne pathogens and antimicrobial resistant bacteria. We purchased 763 packages of fresh and fully cooked retail meat products during 29 visits to 17 grocery stores representing seven major grocery chains located in west and central Ohio. Each package of meat was evaluated for contamination with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Salmonella spp., Enterobacteriaceae expressing extended-spectrum cephalosporin resistance, and carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPO). Only 3 of the 144 (2.1%) packages of fully cooked meat products contained any of these organisms, 1 with an extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing (ESBL) Enterobacteriaceae and 2 with CPO. Among the 619 fresh meat products, we found that 85 (13.7%) packages were contaminated with MRSA, 19 (3.1%) with Salmonella, 136 (22.0%) with Enterobacteriaceae expressing an AmpC (blaCMY) resistance genotype, 25 (4.0%) with Enterobacteriaceae expressing an ESBL (blaCTX-M) resistance genotype, and 31 (5.0%) with CPO, primarily environmental organisms expressing intrinsic carbapenem resistance. However, one CPO, a Raoultella ornithinolytica, isolated from pork sausage co-harbored both blaKPC-2 and blaNDM-5 on IncN and IncX3 plasmids, respectively. Our findings suggest that fresh retail meat, including processed products can be important vehicles for the transmission of foodborne pathogens and antimicrobial resistant bacteria, including those with epidemic carbapenemase-producing genotypes.