The use of antibiotics in Denmark's pig industry may lead Norway’s largest retailer to stop all imports of Danish pork.
NorgesGruppen, which holds a 39.3 percent market share of Norway’s grocery industry, is considering dropping Danish pork in favour of importing from countries where the use of antibiotics is less widespread. The wholesaler’s reevaluation of Danish pork follows a Norwegian professor’s warning that the consumption of meat from Danish pigs could lead to an outbreak of the antibiotic-resistant MRSA.
“The antibiotic-resistant bacteria worries us, but we also think it is important to listen to the signals from Mattilsynet [the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, ed.], which says it is safe to import pork from Denmark. But despite their message, we will undergo our own evaluation regarding importing pork from Denmark,” NorgesGruppen’s nutrition policy director Bård Gultvedt, told Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) has an official position that MRSA cannot be transmitted to humans through pork consumption.
“MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a contaminant in pig production. MRSA can be present in pork but all epidemiological studies show that meat is not the source of MRSA-infections or infections caused by non-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in humans,” Fødevarestyrelsen states on its website.
“Fødevarestyrelsen does not agree with the Norwegian professor,” spokesman Per Henriksen said in response to the Norwegian concerns.
According to Dagens Næringsliv, Danish pork is especially popular in Norway at Christmas time.
NorgesGruppen is expected to make a final decision regarding Danish pork sometime in the coming months.