Submitted to: BARC Poster Day
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 6, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: In recent years the safety of the food supply has become a subject of increasing concern and debate, initiated by highly publicized outbreaks of foodborne pathogen-related illnesses. As many as 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur in the United States each year. Many foods are linked with these outbreaks, but those potentially associated with dairy operations primarily include milk, milk products, meat, vegetables, and unpasteurized apple cider. The latter two commodities can become contaminated when manure is used to fertilize crops, or if runoff from fields or cow lots comes in contact with the vegetables or apples. Causative bacteria include Campylobacter jejuni, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, and Yersinia enterocolitica. Bacterial pathogens have been isolated in various phases of dairy production systems including water, feed, bedding, manure, and milk. Many factors can affect pathogen load. For example, diet has been shown to have an impact on pathogen shedding and survival, but more research is needed to determine the specific effects of animal nutrition. Other critical factors may include environmental conditions, management techniques such as manure handling, milking techniques, or dairy equipment sanitation, and the presence of wild animals, birds or pets. In addition, techniques can potentially be used to reduce or control the pathogen load of manures, and to prevent further dissemination to the environment. In order to reduce the product pathogen load, it is necessary to gain a complete understanding of pathogen transport and flow through dairy systems and to develop best management practices to minimize pathogen load.