(Homepage photo: Klebsiella.org)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Klebsiella pneumoniae, a disease-causing pathogen that can be harbored in chicken, turkey and pork sold in grocery stores, is potentially lethal, reports Lance Price, a professor of environmental and occupational health at The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington Univ. in Washington, DC.
Price, Ph.D, discovered Klebsiella, a close cousin of E. coli, in a recent study focusing on E. coli. While the US food-safety system has mostly focused on a few well-known pathogens like E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Campylobacter, Price suggests that Klebsiella may need to be added to the list of risky bugs in food products.
“This study is the first to suggest that consumers can be exposed to potentially dangerous Klebsiella from contaminated meat,” Price said. “The US government monitors food for only a limited number of bacterial species, but this study shows that focusing on the ‘usual suspects’ may not capture the full scope of foodborne pathogens.”
Lawrence Aylward, editor of MEAT+POULTRY, caught up with Price recently to discuss the potential threat of Klebsiella to meat and poultry products. In this podcast, Price discusses whether Klebsiella should be tested for in processing plants as well as strains of the pathogen that he discovered are resistant to antibiotics.