Resistant bacteria in food products

Bacteria conferring resistance to antimicrobials can be found in different food products. Meat can become contaminated with resistant bacteria through slaughtering and processing and vegetables and fruits through cross-contamination, for example. Bacteria found from animals and food can cause disease in people, and antimicrobial resistant bacteria can also be transmitted through food.

In this study we sampled food products from retail stores focusing on risk-based products imported within and outside the European Union. Samples were taken from different food groups, including meat, seafood, fruits and berries and vegetables. Bacteria producing extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL) and plasmidic AmpC (pAmpC) as well as carbapenemases were screened. Whole genome sequencing was used to determine resistance and virulence genes, and bacterial and plasmidic sequence types. Hybrid sequence analysis combining short and long read sequence data was utilized to study plasmids harboring resistance genes in more depth.

The study was funded by the Finnish Food Research Foundation and Walter Ehrström Foundation and was conducted in collaboration with the Finnish Food Authority and Customs Laboratory. The published article can be found at: