One hundred and fifty samples of raw calf/lamb meat samples (mince and chunks) and chicken parts (giblets, carcass) were analysed for the presence of Staphylococcus aureus. Eighty S. aureus strains were isolated and identified. Resistance of the strains to methicillin and other antibiotics was determined by the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion test. The overall methicillin resistance rate for S. aureus was 67.5%. Of S. aureus strains, 87.5% were resistant to bacitracin. A high prevalence of penicillin G resistance was detected for S. aureus (53.8%). Few of the strains were resistant to erythromycin (7.5%). All strains were susceptible to vancomycin, sulbactam-ampicillin, ciprofloxacin and cefaperazone-sulbactam. This study confirmed the presence of S. aureus, especially antibiotic-resistant strains, in the foods examined, indicating poor sanitary conditions during processing which may create a health risk for consumers. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.