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Leftover Antibiotics In Sausage Meat Can Actually Boost Pathogen Production

August 28, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
Residues of antibiotics often weaken or kill beneficial bacteria added to uncured pepperoni or salami sausages to make them safe for consumption, according to Danish and Irish researchers. Sausage meat is commonly inoculated with lactic-acid-producing bacteria to control the fermentation process. The final product is then acidic enough to kill pathogens that might have existed in the raw meat. But antibiotics residues kill the bacteria that produce lactic acid, thus allowing pathogenic bacteria to proliferate. Unfortunately, the leftover antibiotic is not potent enough to kill the harmful pathogens. The researchers note that good quality controls in processing plants can catch fermentation problems.
Jette Kjeldgaard et al., "Residual Antibiotics Disrupt Meat Fermentation and Increase Risk of Infection", mBio, August 28, 2012, © Kjeldgaard et al.
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