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Antibiotics in Sausage Meat and Foodborne Illnesses

A recent study shows that antibiotic residues in uncured sausage meat may weaken good bacteria added by processors to acidify the sausage, allowing harmful bacteria to proliferate in them. Lactic acid-producing bacteria are usually inoculated into sausage meat by manufacturers to kill pathogens (bad bacteria) in the raw meat. However, antibiotic residues in the meat, which are usually given by animal growers to treat disease, may kill the good bacteria, thus allowing the bad ones to proliferate. This puts the consumers at risk for foodborne infections.

Hanne Ingmer, one of the researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and University College Cork, Ireland, found that even low concentrations of antibiotics that are given within accepted limits are potent enough to slow fermentation, a process that helps destroy pathogens in food like Salmonella or E. coli.

The researchers attempted to demonstrate why people sometimes get sick from eating fermented sausage by conducting small-scale lab experiments in the lab, where small amounts of antibiotics were added the antibiotics to meat inoculated with lactic-acid-producing bacteria and pathogens E. coli and Salmonella enterica. After following the progress of the fermentation and tracking the survival of the pathogens, the investigators found that the lactic-acid-producing bacteria were sensitive to these antibiotics and thus did not acidify the sausage meat effectively.

Ingmer states that the results demonstrate a paradoxical effect of antibiotics since they increase the risk of foodborne illness. Ingmer believes there is a need to conduct tests in manufacturing facilities to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. She also recommends boosting the activity and survival of lactic-acid-producing bacteria and developing cultures of lactic-acid-producing bacteria that can tolerate low levels of antibiotics.


American Society for Microbiology. Antibiotic residues in sausage meat may promote pathogen survival. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2012.


Posted in: Healthy Eating, Lifestyle, Longevity, News Briefs, Prebiotics

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Natural Health Sherpa, Internet Selling Services, Wilmington, NC