High levels of staphylococcus aureus contamination in Chinese-Style Roast Pork

Chi P. Young, Margaret May O'Donoghue, Jeffery Ho, Maureen V. Boost

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Chinese roasted pork has been implicated as a major source of food poisoning caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Establishing the source, either as contaminants from raw meat or from food handlers, could facilitate drafting more appropriate guidelines for better prevention of food poisoning. To determine the rate and source of staphylococcal contamination, roasted pork purchased from 50 sui-mei shops in Hong Kong was sampled for presence of S. aureus by enrichment and subsequent culture. Isolates were characterized for methicillin sensitivity, spa type, and presence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) and staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs). Methicillin-resistant isolates were confirmed by presence of mecA and SCCmec type and sensitivity to vancomycin investigated. S. aureus was isolated from 25 (50%) samples, with 3 yielding two colony types. Of the 28 isolates, 3 were resistant to cefoxitin, but only 2 were mecA positive and belonged to SCCmec type V. The mecA negative isolate also lacked mecC, but had a penicillin minimum inhibitory concentration of 10 mg/L. A livestock-associated spa type (t034) was only observed in one methicillin-sensitive strain, all other isolates appearing to be of human origin, with 30% belonging to t189. One isolate was PVL positive and five carried genes for classical SEs. The high rate of staphylococcal contamination observed was probably associated with food handlers, as the strains belonged to spa types previously reported in clinical and nasal carriage isolates. The presence of enterotoxins in 18% of isolates confirms the risk of food poisoning associated with this product and emphasizes the need for improved guidelines for handling after preparation. Use of refrigerated display areas should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-554
Number of pages3
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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