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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #150677


item Callaway, Todd
item Anderson, Robin
item Edrington, Thomas
item Genovese, Kenneth - Ken
item Bischoff, Kenneth
item Poole, Toni
item Jung, Yong Soo
item Harvey, Roger
item Nisbet, David

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2003
Publication Date: 7/2/2004
Citation: Callaway, T.R., Anderson, R.C., Edrington, T.S., Genovese, K.J., Bischoff, K.M., Poole, T.L., Jung, Y., Harvey, R.B., Nisbet, D.J. 2004. What are we doing about E. coli O157:H7 and other food borne pathogens in cattle? Journal of Animal Science. 82(Suppl. E):E93-E99. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Cattle 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 cattle and will shortly become available to the food production industry. The introduction of several of these strategies concurrently could synergistically decrease human illnesses by creating a 'multiple-hurdle' approach to improving food safety.

Technical Abstract: Food borne pathogens sicken more than 76 million Americans each year. Many of these illnesses come from foodstuffs contaminated by animal manure or from meat products. Steps that have been taken in the slaughter plant to reduce the spread of food borne pathogenic bacteria have been very effective; however meat products are still the source of food-borne bacterial human illnesses. Increasing numbers of human illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7 have also been related to contact with animals at county and/or state fairs, or to water supplies contaminated by run-off from cattle farms. Thus strategies that target food borne pathogenic bacteria in the animal on the farm or in the feedlot have great potential to improve food safety and reduce human illnesses. In this review, we describe a broad range of live-animal intervention strategies, both pro-biotic and anti-biotic. Additionally, we examine the effects of diet and management strategies on food borne pathogenic bacterial populations. Also, the use of antibiotics in food animals to decrease food borne pathogens will be examined. Overall, the concurrent use of several of these pre-slaughter intervention strategies could synergistically decrease human illnesses by erecting additional obstacles thus creating a multiple-hurdle approach to improving food safety.