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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Alternative and Organic Beef Production: Food-Safety Issues

item Seideman, Sc
item Callaway, Todd
item Crandall, Pg
item Ricke, Sc
item Nisbet, David - Dave

Submitted to: Food Safety Consortium Proceedings
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2010
Publication Date: 5/16/2010
Citation: Seideman, S.C., Callaway, T.R., Crandall, P.G., Ricke, S.C., Nisbet, D.J. 2010. Alternative and organic beef production: Food safety issues. In: Ricke, S.C., Jones, F.T., editors. Perspectives on Food Safety Issues of Animal Derived Foods. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press. p. 307-312.

Interpretive Summary: Organic beef production is growing in the U.S. because it is promoted as somehow “better” than traditional beef. Pitches in favor of organic beef have included: enhanced nutrition, “green” friendly, low pesticides, no hormones, no genetic manipulations, and improved animal welfare. However, one point that has not been addressed in the discussion about the superiority of organic beef is food safety. The development of pathogen reduction strategies for use in the live animal must be compatible with organic production practices, and must be economically feasible. In this chapter, we discuss the use of probiotics, competitive exclusion, and the use of bacteriophage as methods of reducing pathogenic bacteria in organically-produced beef.

Technical Abstract: The sales of organic beef is increasing yearly due to the perception of it being more nutritious, better for the environment, contains minimal levels of pesticides, is produced without growth hormones, is not genetically engineered, and is produced using improved animal welfare practices. Artisan, grass-fed, and natural are words being used by producers to by-pass the USDA “Organic” regulations. Concern for the presence of pathogenic bacteria in beef continues to be of paramount importance and organic/natural beef may present new challenges. This challenge has demanded the development of new methods of improving the safety of beef, be it organic or traditional. The use of many methods that take advantage of the natural microbial ecology of the intestinal tract of cattle are potential methods by which we can reduce the number of animals that contain these important foodborne pathogens. Some of the methods described in this chapter include probiotics and competitive exclusion techniques, as well as directly anti-pathogenic strategies such as sodium chlorate and vaccination.

Last Modified: 07/25/2017
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