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Int J Food Microbiol. 2003 Aug 15;85(1-2):197-202.

Isolation of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli from retail meats purchased in Greater Washington, DC, USA.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Four hundred and seventy-two generic Escherichia coli isolates were recovered from ground and whole retail beef, chicken, pork, and turkey obtained from Greater Washington, DC, USA during the years 1998 to 2000. Many of the isolates displayed resistance to tetracycline (59%), sulfamethoxazole (45%), streptomycin (44%), cephalothin (38%) and ampicillin (35%). Resistance was also observed, but to a lesser extent, to gentamicin (12%), nalidixic acid (8%), chloramphenicol (6%), ceftiofur (4%) and ceftriaxone (1%). Sixteen percent of the isolates displayed resistance to one antimicrobial, followed by 23% to two, 23% to three, 12% to four, 7% to five, 3% to six, 2% to seven and 2% to eight. Three E. coli isolates were shown to possess Shiga toxin genes (stx2) via PCR; all were O non-typeable and were recovered from ground beef samples purchased on the same day at the same supermarket. One of the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) isolates was susceptible to each of the antimicrobials tested, whereas one displayed resistance to cephalothin and sulfamethoxazole, and one displayed resistance to ampicillin, cephalothin, gentamicin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole and tetracycline. Findings from this study indicate that retail raw meats may often be contaminated with antimicrobial-resistant E. coli.

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