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MRSA - risk assessment

Concerning the Danish risk assessment report on Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pork.

In August 2014 the Minister of Environment and Food in conjunction with the Ministry of Health decided that an interdisciplinary expert group with experts from the human and veterinary side should draw up a new risk assessment of the livestock associated MRSA situation based on existing knowledge. Based on the risk, the expert group should prepare recommendation.

In December 2014, the report “MRSA risk assessment” was published by the Danish Minister of Environment and Food.


The risk assessment concludes that livestock associated MRSA is only a problem in the hospital sector and that all measures should be taken in order to avoid the introduction of these bacteria in hospitals. It also concludes that livestock associated MRSA is not a public health problem as healthy persons may be temporary carriers of different MRSA types in their nasal cavity. In relation to food safety, the risk associated with the consumption of meat is negligible as MRSA bacteria are not able to survive the passage of the stomach and intestine. 

The “MRSA risk assessment” from December 2014 concludes that in relation to the human consumption of meat the risk of infection is negligible as MRSA bacteria are not able to survive the passage of the stomach and intestine. It also states, that there are no need for additional action regarding meat other than the existing recommendations for common good kitchen hygiene.

The MRSA risk assessment, in which the experts have given recommendations for measures that could contribute to reduce the spread of livestock associated MRSA from herds to the surrounding environment is based on the knowledge available in 2014.

Based on the recommendations from the expert group the Minister of Food and Environment launched a national action plan for the control of livestock associated MRSA. The plan is for 4 years and contains a long term control strategy which is to be supported by continuously control strategies for a 4 year period. The action plan initiates initiatives in line with the recommendations of the expert group with the following topics:

  • 15 pct. reduction of the use of antibiotics in pigs from 2015 to 2018.
  • Hygiene measurement with focus on prevention on spreading livestock associated MRSA to the society and the interests of the working environment.
  • Reduction of contamination in the herds.
  • Surveillance of the development of the prevalence of livestock associated MRSA over time.
  • Research in the routes of transmission for livestock associated MRSA.
  • International effort, among which a continued pressure to promote joint EU strategy to reduce antibiotic resistance.
Last Modified 16. September 2016