Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been found in wild cockles and watercress, putting communities that rely on mahinga kai at risk of treatment-resistant E.coli infections.
Researchers have found that Canterbury’s waterways have high levels of faecal bacteria, and food sources contain up to 60-times more bacteria than water. Up to one in five of these are resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics in Aotearoa, and the rest are resistant to antibiotics used as a last resort.
The study’s authors say that as the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the environment increases, existing water quality measures will greatly reduce the risks to people who harvest from our waterways. in the water. The research was published in the journal Environmental Pollution.
Professor Jack Heinemann says, “Harvesting wild food (mahinga kai) puts people and communities at risk of contracting antibiotic-resistant infections, but no one is monitoring this risk or provides specialist guidance to those who rely on wild foods.
“Wild food harvesting is an important source of nutrition, especially for indigenous communities, and an intergenerational ‘classroom’ for sharing cultural knowledge and skills. All communities can be more rely on wild food harvesting during disasters, such as earthquakes or regional flooding.
“But we found that wild foods are also where antibiotic-resistant bacteria are concentrated, putting vulnerable communities at high risk.
“We believe that the current water safety guidelines are not sufficient to address the increased risk from antibiotic resistance. We argue that a One Health approach is needed to maintain the benefits of wild harvesting. food.”
Sophie van Hamelsveld et al, Indigenous food sources as vectors of Escherichia coli and antibiotic resistance, Environmental Pollution (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122155
Provided by the University of Canterbury
Citation: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in Canterbury cockles and watercress (2023, July 18) retrieved 19 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-canterbury-cockles- watercress.html
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