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Looking for Foodborne Germs and Their Resistance to Antibiotics

Updated August 21, 2019
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Russ Daly

Professor, SDSU Extension Veterinarian, State Public Health Veterinarian

Written collaboratively by Russ Daly, Alan Erickson, Laura Ruesch, Zachary Lau, and Deb Murray.

How often do the meat products we buy in the store contain germs that might cause illness in people? Can we learn anything about antibiotic resistance with that information? Those are just 2 of the questions that South Dakota State University, is examining as part of their work with the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). The Food Safety Microbiology (SD-FSM) lab (part of the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory in Brookings) is in their third year working with the retail meat portion of the program, testing fresh chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, and pork products purchased in grocery stores in North and South Dakota for the presence of certain germs. The germs identified are then further tested for resistance to common antibiotics that might be used in treating human illness.

The SD-FSM has recently compiled NARMS results for the period from June 2018 through May 2019, results of which are included in the recommended content below.