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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 #165260


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

Submitted to: Improving the Safety of Fresh Meat
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/6/2004
Publication Date: 9/1/2005
Citation: Callaway, T.R., Anderson, R.C., Edrington, T.S., Genovese, K.J., Poole, T.L., Harvey, R.B., Nisbet, D.J., Dunkley, K.S. 2005. Probiotics, vaccines and other interventions for pathogen control in animals. In: Sofos, J.N., editor. Improving the Safety of Fresh Meat. Cambridge, England: Woodhead Publishing Limited. p. 192-213.

Interpretive Summary: The North American public demands access to a safe and wholesome food supply. Although the North American food supply is considered one of the safest if not the safest in the world, food-borne illnesses still occur and are too frequently associated with products derived from animal agriculture. While the meat industry has continuously sought improvement in the safety of its products, much of the research has logically focused on post-slaughter strategies. More recently, pre-slaughter intervention points have been given due consideration as strategies to improve food safety. The use of vaccination, prebiotics, probiotics, competitive exclusion, antibiotics, antimicrobials, proper animal management and innovative water and feed management strategies can potentially reduce the incidence of food-borne pathogenic bacteria that enter the abattoir. Further research is needed to develop multiple effective intervention strategies that specifically target the pre-slaughter 'critical control point(s)' in order to improve overall food and environmental safety.

Technical Abstract: Food-borne pathogenic bacteria that inhabit the gut of food animals cause millions of human illnesses in the U.S. each year. Although slaughter plants do an excellent job in reducing food-borne pathogenic bacteria populations on carcasses before they enter the human food chain the plants cannot completely eliminate the flood of potential pathogens entering the abattoir. Also, in-plant pathogen reduction strategies do nothing to reduce pathogens entering the environment on farms, via water runoff from farms and feedlots in recreational waters, in contaminated drinking water, or from direct animal contact in petting zoos. Therefore, several intervention strategies have been devised to reduce food borne pathogenic bacteria populations in the gut of animals on the farm before they enter the slaughter plant. These include such widely varied techniques as vaccinating animals against food borne pathogenic bacteria, the utilization of a mixed bacterial population to prevent colonization by pathogens, employing bacterial viruses to specifically reduce existing pathogen populations, using novel chemical methods, and/or the use of non-traditional antimicrobials to decrease or eliminate pathogens.