Organic body The Soil Association has warned that meat on sale in the UK could soon be infected with a strain of the so-called “superbug” MRSA.

The superbug has become a problem in UK hospitals and farm-animal MRSA has also been in found in pork, chicken and beef on sale to consumers in the Netherlands.

The Soil Association warned that although that strain of MRSA has not been found in the UK, the problem could spread to the country due to imports of livestock from the continent.

In a report published yesterday (25 June), the association claimed that farm-animal MRSA has already transferred to Dutch farmers.

Richard Young, a policy adviser at the Soil Association, said the new type of MRSA is “spreading like wildfire across Europe”.

He said: “Fortunately, it has not yet been found in UK livestock or imported meat, but then neither the government nor the Food Standards Agency are looking for it in live animals or meat.”

The Soil Association called on the UK government to start testing for the superbug in meat. Young said: “This is no time for official complacency, but a critical opportunity to prevent farm-animal MRSA getting a hold in the UK.”

The Food Standards Agency insisted its advice on avoiding food poisoning bacteria applies equally to any strain of MRSA. “Proper cooking will destroy MRSA,” the agency said.