In the largest sampling of US pork products ever tested, the University of Iowa found methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, or MRSA, present in 7% of the meat they examined. The pork was taken from 36 different stores in Iowa, Minnesota and New Jersey. The MR can also stand for Multidrug-resistant, because it has developed resistance to many antibiotics, including penicillin.
About 75% of cases remain localized in the skin and can be treated effectively. Others are more virulent, bringing in problems like toxic shock syndrome or flesh-eating pneumonia. American companies produce 23 billion pounds of pork annually. 1,610,000,000 pounds of it, if the sample data hold, contains drug-resistant Staph.