Contamination of Retail Meat Samples with Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in Relation to Organic and Conventional Production and Processing: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Data from the United States National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, 2012–2017

  19 May 2021

During food animal production, animals are exposed to, colonized by, and sometimes infected with bacteria that may contaminate animal products with susceptible and multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO). The United States’ Organic Foods Production Act resulted in decreased antibiotic use in some animal production operations. Some studies have reported that decreased antibiotic use is associated with reduced MDRO on meat.

Organically produced and processed retail meat samples had a significantly lower prevalence of MDRO than conventionally produced and processed samples had, whereas meat from split processors had a lower prevalence of any contamination than samples from conventional processors had. Additional studies are needed to confirm findings and clarify specific production and processing practices that might explain them.

Author(s): Gabriel K. Innes, Keeve E. Nachman, Alison G. Abraham, Joan A. Casey, Andrew N. Patton, Lance B. Price, Sara Y. Tartof, and Meghan F. Davis
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