Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Antibiotic Residues in Sausage Meat May Promote Pathogen Survival

Published: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Antibiotic residues in uncured pepperoni or salami meat are potent enough to weaken helpful bacteria that processors add to acidify the sausage to make it safe for consumption.

Sausage manufacturers commonly inoculate sausage meat with lactic-acid-producing bacteria in an effort to control the fermentation process so that the final product is acidic enough to kill pathogens that might have existed in the raw meat. By killing the bacteria that produce lactic acid, antibiotic residues can allow pathogenic bacteria to proliferate.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and University College Cork, Ireland, found that antibiotic concentrations within limits set by US and European Union (EU) regulators are high enough to slow fermentation, the process that acidifies the sausages and helps destroy foodborne pathogens like Salmonella or E. coli.

"At low concentrations and at regulatory levels set by authorities, we could see that the lactic acid bacteria are more susceptible to the antibiotics than the pathogens are," says Hanne Ingmer, of the University of Copenhagen, a researcher on the study. "So basically, we can have a situation where residual antibiotics in the meat can prevent or reduce fermentation by the lactic acid bacteria, but these concentrations do not effect survival or even multiplication of pathogens."

Antibiotics used as growth promoters or to treat disease in livestock can eventually end up in meat, and regulators in the US and EU have set limits on the concentrations of antibiotics in meat for consumption by humans. Ingmer and her colleagues set out to determine whether antibiotics falling within statutory limits might interfere with the process of fermentation in products like pepperoni, salami, or chorizo - sausages that are fermented using lactic- acid-producing bacteria in a curing process many cultures have employed for hundreds of years. She says fermented sausages occasionally cause serious bacterial infections, but it's never been understood why that might be.

In small-scale experiments in the lab, Ingmer and her colleagues added the antibiotics oxytetracycline or erythromycin to meat inoculated with lactic-acid-producing bacteria and pathogens Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica. They followed the progress of the fermentation and tracked the survival of the pathogens. Ingmer says several different starter cultures of lactic-acid-producing bacteria were sensitive to these antibiotics and hence did not acidify the sausage meat effectively - results that could explain why people sometimes get sick from eating fermented sausage.

Ingmer says the results show antibiotics can potentially have a paradoxical effect that would increase the risk of foodborne illness: antibiotic residues reduce the effectiveness of bacteria that should make the sausages safe but don't affect the bacteria that can cause illness.

Although the results raise an alarm for the manufacture of processed meats, Ingmer stresses that it is important to conduct similar tests in manufacturing facilities. "The majority of sausages are manufactured at a commercial scale. It has to be addressed whether this is a problem in a real life facility," Ingmer says.

Manufacturers with good quality control systems can catch problems in fermentation, Ingmer says, preventing large-scale outbreaks of foodborne illness by testing the final product before it's distributed, but random batch testing could well miss a batch that didn't ferment properly, putting the public at risk.

How can we be sure antibiotic residues don't interfere with the safety of these products? Ingmer sees two possible solutions. If antibiotics are present in meat, boosting the survival and activity of the lactic-acid-producing bacteria is important. In the future, Ingmer hopes to work with manufacturers to develop cultures of lactic-acid-producing bacteria that tolerate low levels of antibiotics.

But the ultimate solution to the problem of antibiotics in meat may be harder to achieve. "The obvious solution is to eliminate the use of antibiotics as growth promoters and closely monitor the use of antibiotics in treating farm animal diseases," Ingmer says. The European Union and other countries have banned the use of antibiotics in livestock as growth promoters, Ingmer points out, a move the US is unlikely to follow very soon.

A full copy of the article can be found below.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
How To Keep Your Rice Arsenic-Free
Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have made a breakthrough in discovering how to lower worrying levels of arsenic in rice that is eaten all over the world.
Pesticide Found in 70 Percent of Massachusetts’ Honey Samples
New Harvard University study says that the pesticide commonly found in honey samples is implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder.
Printed "Smart Cap" Detects Spoiled Food
It might not be long before consumers can just hit “print” to create an electronic circuit or wireless sensor in the comfort of their homes.
Red Wine Antioxidant May Provide New Cancer Therapy Options
Resveratrol and quercetin, two polyphenols that have been widely studied for their health properties, may soon become the basis of an important new advance in cancer treatment,
New Research will Show How the Environment Could Change the Way We Eat
A new study funded by the Wellcome Trust will investigate how environmental changes over the next 20-30 years may impact the way we eat, in the UK and worldwide.
Blue LEDs Can be Used to Preserve Food
Blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) have strong antibacterial effect on major foodborne pathogens and can be used as a chemical-free food preservation method, a new study has found.
FDA Declares Trans Fatty Acids Unsafe for Consumption
TFAs are widely recognized as the most harmful fat with regard to causing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Fat, Sugar Cause Bacterial Changes that may Relate to Loss of Cognitive Function
A study has indicated that both a high-fat and a high-sugar diet, compared to a normal diet, cause changes in gut bacteria that appear related to a significant loss of "cognitive flexibility," or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations.
How Anthrax Spores Grow in Cultured Human Tissues
New findings to help predict risk and outcomes of anthrax attacks.
Food Research at the Microscale
Thermal stage microscopy allows food science microscopists to analyze samples under a range of conditions.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!