Almost 25pc of chicken samples from major supermarket chains found to contain E.coli
A quarter of samples of chicken from major supermarket chains were found to contain antibiotic-resistant E.coli, a study found.
The superbug was discovered in packs of meat sold from Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Aldi, Waitrose, the Co-op and Morrisons.
Scientists tested products such as whole roasting chickens, diced breast meat and packets of legs, thighs and drumsticks, detecting E.coli on 22 of 92 samples, the Daily Mail said.
They found 24% of chicken tested positive for ESBL E.coli, which is resistant to certain types of antibiotics used in medicine.
And 51% of all chicken and pork samples were resistant to the antibiotic trimethoprim, which is used to treat lower urinary-tract infections.
Dr Mark Holmes, from the University of Cambridge, studied 189 chicken and pork samples.
He told the newspaper: "The levels of resistant E.coli that we have found are worrying. Every time someone falls ill, instead of just getting a food poisoning bug they might also be getting a bug that is antibiotic resistant."
People developing urinary tract infections may discover that the bug they have is resistant to a first-choice antibiotic, and by the time a suitable one is found the bug could be "out of control", potentially leading to death.
Dr Holmes said: "I am concerned that insufficient resources are being put into the surveillance of antibiotic resistance in farm animals and retail meat. These results highlight the need for improvements in antibiotic stewardship in veterinary medicine."
The study was commissioned by campaigners Save Our Antibiotics.
Symptoms of E.coli normally include a fever leading to sickness and diarrhoea.
Precautions which can be taken to reduce the risk of infection include washing hands after contact with possible sources such as raw food.