This study was undertaken to estimate the prevalence of antibiotic resistance inSalmonella spp., Escherichia coli, Enterococcus spp. and Staphylococcus aureus in meat in Saudi Arabia. Samples of domestic and imported meat (beef, camel, lamb) and poultry were purchased from local retail outlets in Riyadh area. There was some contamination from each of the bacteria in all types of meat analyzed, with E. coli being the most prevalent overall at 72.2%, Enterococcus prevalence was 26.2%, S. aureusprevalence was 24.6% and Salmonella prevalence was 10.7%. Additionally, these bacteria were resistant to a number of antibiotics and some were multidrug resistant. S. aureus and Enterococcus were both either resistant or intermediate to Erythromycin (79 and 86%, respectively). E. coli was resistant to Ampicillin (44%). Salmonella was resistant to Ceftiofur (67%). Bacterial contamination of meat is a multi-country problem and consideration should be made to improve methods of decontaminating food animals and work surfaces during meat processing to reduce the levels of bacteria that are transferred to the finished product. This will also help to decrease the growing crisis of bacterial antibiotic resistance.
Key words: Foodborne pathogens, antibiotic resistance, food animals, meat
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