Submitted to: Animal Health Research Reviews
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: May 6, 2004
Publication Date: March 20, 2005
Citation: Callaway, T.R., Anderson, R.C., Edrington, T.S., Genovese, K.J., Harvey, R.B., Poole, T.L., Nisbet, D.J. 2005. Pre-harvest supplementation strategies to reduce carriage and shedding of food-borne pathogens. Animal Health Research Reviews. 5:35-47. Interpretive Summary: Food animals can carry harmful bacteria. People can be infected with these bacteria through meat products or via animal contact. Several potential methods to reduce populations of pathogenic bacteria have been recently developed by researchers. These include the use of antibiotics, bacteriophage, use of sodium chlorate, competitive exclusion, probiotics, prebiotics, dietary changes, and management changes. Many of these strategies show promise to reduce food borne pathogenic bacteria in food animals and will soon become available to the food production industry. The introduction of several of these strategies together could decrease human illnesses by creating a 'multiple-hurdle' approach to improving food safety.
Technical Abstract: Food-borne bacterial illnesses strike more than 76 million North Americans each year. Many of these illnesses are caused by animal-derived foodstuffs. Slaughter and processing plants implement intervention strategies to reduce bacterial contamination after slaughter and during further processing, yet food-borne illnesses still occur at an unacceptable frequency. Thus it is imperative to utilize on-farm pre-harvest intervention strategies to further improve food safety. Because of the potential improvement in overall food safety that pre-harvest intervention strategies can provide, a broad range of pre-slaughter intervention strategies are currently under investigation. Potential interventions include direct anti-pathogen strategies, competitive enhancement strategies, and animal management strategies. The parallel and simultaneous application of one or more pre-slaughter strategies has the potential to synergistically reduce the incidence of human food-borne illnesses by erecting multiple hurdles, thus preventing entry of pathogens into the food chain.