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K-State Today

November 18, 2016



University researchers contribute to national meat and poultry surveillance

By Tiffany Roney

A team of researchers at Kansas State University will survey antimicrobial resistance in meat and poultry products in retail stores across the state.

Victoriya Volkova, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, recently received funding from the Food and Drug Administration to survey antimicrobial resistance in meat and poultry products in retail stores across the state.

Volkova and her team at Kansas State University will conduct the retail sampling as part of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, or NARMS.

The researchers will drive across the state purchasing meat and poultry products. Upon arrival to Kansas State University, the products will be tested to see if they have foodborne pathogens such as salmonella and determine if these pathogens have antimicrobial resistance. Brian Lubbers, director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory in the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, will advise planning and management of the laboratory work.

"If we see certain resistant bacterial types in food animals, do we see them in meat products, and then do we see them in humans?" Volkova said. "We will examine whether there is any cross-scale development of resistance between the three groups: livestock, retail meat products, and people with infections."

The FDA selected popular meat and poultry products based on average consumption per person. Kansas State University researchers will sample pork chops, ground beef, ground turkey and chicken. Volkova applied to add Kansas to the study, which already includes more than a dozen states, because of Kansas' standing as a major animal-producing state.

Volkova said her research includes two important pieces:

• As a part of this FDA-funded project, Volkova proposed developing a database of resistant bacterial types in livestock, retail meat products and people with foodborne infections in the state. The livestock data are supplemented with information from the studies of T.G. Nagaraja, distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. Sheri Tubach, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Response Section of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will provide aggregate data on human infections. After this cross-scale database is developed, Volkova's team will analyze resistant patterns common among the livestock, meat products and people.

• Volkova and Tubach committed to include graduate students in Kansas State University's Master of Public Health Program in the retail meat surveillance analysis — a partnership that not only educates future public health leaders but also strengthens the collaboration between the university's College of Veterinary Medicine and KDHE.