Kerry McCarthy – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Kerry McCarthy on 2016-10-07.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the prevalence of livestock-associated MRSA in live breeder pigs and meat products imported from (a) Denmark and (b) other European countries; what proportion of such imports are voluntarily tested for livestock-associated MRSA; and what analysis her Department has undertaken of the costs and benefits of making it mandatory to test such imports for MRSA.

George Eustice

Livestock associated meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) is not a notifiable organism. There is no mandatory requirement to test imports of live breeding pigs or pig meat for the presence of LA-MRSA.

The National Pig Association recommends in its Import Protocol that imported pigs be screened for the presence of MRSA. Such testing is done on a voluntary and private basis.

Any controls or testing introduced for an organism must be proportionate to the risk posed by it. Current advice from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Public Health England (PHE) is that LA-MRSA poses a low risk to human health.