Abstract: The evolution of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria has become a threat to food safety and methods to control them are necessary. Counts of tetracycline-resistant (TR) bacteria by microbiological methods were compared with those obtained by quantitative PCR (qPCR) in 80 meat samples. TR Enterobacteriaceae counts were similar between the count plate method and qPCR (P= 0.24), whereas TR aerobic mesophilic bacteria counts were significantly higher by the microbiological method (P < 0.001). The distribution of tetA and tetB genes was investigated in different types of meat. tetA was detected in chicken meat (40%), turkey meat (100%), pork (20%), and beef (40%) samples, whereas tetB was detected in chicken meat (45%), turkey meat (70%), pork (30%), and beef (35%) samples. The presence of tetracycline residues was also investigated by a receptor assay. This study offers an alternative and rapid method for monitoring the presence of TR bacteria in meat and furthers the understanding of the distribution of tetA and tetB genes.