Staphylococcus aureus is a recognized pathogen in humans, which causes nosocomial infections and food poisoning. The transmission of antibiotic resistant S. aureus (ARSA), especially methicillin-resistant S. aureus, between food products and humans has become a serious problem. Hence, it is necessary to monitor S. aureus through the food supply chain. In this study, the disk diffusion method and epsilometer test were performed to determine the prevalence of ARSA in 78 foodborne isolates using 18 antibiotics. The highest resistance frequency was found for penicillin G (74.4%), followed by erythromycin (59.0%) and clindamycin (44.9%), whereas no vancomycin-resistant isolates were found. The 78 isolates could be subtyped into 31 resistance profiles and 11 clusters based on their antimicrobial susceptibility. Furthermore, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening for the presence of 13 genes conferring antibiotic resistance was conducted. The presence of resistance genes was relatively high: blaTEM (80.8%), ermB (41.0%), grlA (38.5%), ermC (35.9%), and aac6’/aph2” (35.9%). The incidence of antibiotic resistance was significantly correlated to food types (p = 0.018), with isolates from meat and raw milk more resistant to antibiotics than those from frozen food and vegetables.
The antibiotic resistance of S. aureus has become a serious concern in foodstuffs and varies in different foods. Raw milk and meat have more resistant isolates than those from frozen food and vegetables. Resistance profiles and Ward's minimum variance method can be used to subtype isolates in different clusters.