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Ireland To Monitor Pork Industry

by 5m Editor
7 September 2007, at 11:51am

DUBLIN - The government of Ireland is conducting intense monitoring of pig carcasses and pig meat in slaughterhouses, butcher shops and retail outlets.

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"Once we have identified the full extent of the problem in pigs our future work may include screening other food animals such as cattle to work out where else this organism might be."

Brenda Murphy of University College Dublin

The inspection program is an attempt to determine how a human disease causing bacteria, Yersinia enterocolitica, enters the food chain.

The survey will look at pig tissue samples from three slaughterhouses and 200 pork meat samples from 50 retailers. So far, of 516 samples studied, 12 (2 percent) have been found with non-disease causing Yersinia enterocolitica, and 15 samples (3 percent) contained the bacteria with disease causing genes.

Some of the contaminated samples were also shown to contain antibiotic resistant strains of the bacteria, representing an emerging pathogen that is a potential public health risk.

"Yersinia enterocolitica is widespread in nature and found in animals and water supplies," said Brenda Murphy of University College Dublin "Once we have identified the full extent of the problem in pigs our future work may include screening other food animals such as cattle to work out where else this organism might be."

The program was officially announced Tuesday at the University of Edinburgh during a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology.

5m Editor