Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: A Food-borne Pathogen?
Prior to the 1990s, most methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was hospital-associated (HA-MRSA); community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) then began to cause infections outside the health-care environment. The third significant emergence of MRSA has been in livestock animals [livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA)]. The widespread and rapid growth in CA-MRSA and LA-MRSA has raised the question as to whether MRSA is indeed a food-borne pathogen. The observations on animal-to-animal and animal-to-human transfer of LA-MRSA have prompted research examining the origin of LA-MRSA and its capacity to cause zoonotic disease in humans. This review summarizes the current knowledge about MRSA from foodproducing animals and foods with respect to the role of these organisms to act as food-borne pathogens and considers the available tools to track the spread of these organisms. It is clear thatLA-MRSAandCA-MRSAand even HA-MRSA can be present in/on food intended for human consumption, but we conclude on the basis of the published literature that this does not equate to MRSA being considered a food-borne pathogen. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology Volume 4 is February 28, 2013. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.