How big a problem is Livestock-Associated MRSA?
It is not currently common in the UK, nor a high risk, but it is being monitored closely. A risk assessment published in February 2017 by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) assessed the risk associated with the preparation, handling or consumption of foodstuffs which may be contaminated with MRSA, in particular Livestock-Associated LA-MRSA (which is not the same as hospital-acquired or community-acquired MRSA, which are both more frequently discussed in human medicine). It concludes the risk is very low and based on this the FSA’s current advice remains unchanged, i.e. that raw food should be stored appropriately, handled hygienically and cooked thoroughly to ensure any harmful bacteria present are destroyed. LA-MRSA infection is rare in humans in the UK and such organisms are not readily transmitted from person to person. To the FSA’s knowledge, there have been no reported food borne outbreaks of LA-MRSA in humans in either the UK or worldwide. Furthermore, the indication is that prevalence of food contaminated with LA-MRSA is low in the UK. LA-MRSA has been shown to enter the food chain and survive on raw meat up to the point of retail, although thorough heat treatment of raw meat is sufficient to destroy LA-MRSA and other vegetative bacteria.