Ban resistant bacteria from food

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An international group of leading medical microbiologists, led by Professor Jan Kluytmans from Amphia Hospital in Breda, calls for a ban on the sale of food containing bacteria that are resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. These antibiotics are so-called last resort means, only prescribed when other antibiotics fail.Microbiologists make their appeal today in the scientific journal Nature. Professor Jan Kluytmans of Amphia Hospital in Breda and the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam is the initiator.

The bacteria with the ESBL enzyme are resistant to most antibiotics. They are present, in large quantities, in meat, but also in rivers, ,soil, and on vegetables. People who are infected with a bacterium of this type with ESBL can only be treated with antibiotics of the carbapenem type.

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This makes it of the utmost importance that these resistant bacteria don't spread through the food chain, report Kluytmans and his colleagues.

A ban on the sale of food containing these bacteria, would be fully consistent with the Codex Alimentarius, the regulations for food, established in the context of the World Trade Organization, according to the microbiologists.

Thanks to modern, fast testing equipment, it's quite feasible to test all meat for the presence of the bacteria, according to the signers of the open letter in Nature. Meat is the main distributor of bacteria in the food chain.