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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 #294420

Title: Food safety - mitigating pathogens in beef cattle: What can producers do?

item Callaway, Todd
item Edrington, Thomas
item Anderson, Robin
item Poole, Toni
item Nisbet, David

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/2013
Publication Date: 6/18/2013
Citation: Callaway, T.R., Edrington, T.S., Anderson, R.C., Poole, T.L., Nisbet, D.J. 2013. Food safety: Mitigating pathogens in beef cattle: What can producers do? Proc. Beef Cattle Symp. Can. Soc. Anim. Sci. Banff, AB. pp. 13-15.

Interpretive Summary: The microbial ecosystem of cattle can be colonized by pathogenic bacteria. However, understanding factors affecting colonization and transmission of pathogens on the farm are important and lead to the development of interventions to reduce pathogen entry into the food chain. These strategies are broken down into those that use the native microorganisms to keep out pathognes, those that directly affect the pathogen, and management strategies that minimize transmission between animals. While no single strategy will solve the problem, the implementation of a multiple-hurdle approach is most likely to improve human public health.

Technical Abstract: Cattle are colonized by a complex microbiome within their gastrointestinal tract and on their skin/hide which can be colonized by foodborne pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). In-plant pathogen reduction strategies reduce direct foodborne illness from meat products but do not eliminate foodborne illnesses. Because foodborne pathogens can be found on the farm and in live animals, pathogen reduction strategies for use in live food animals are valid adjuncts to public health improvement. Thus, recent years have seen the development of a variety of live animal treatments to improve food safety. In general, these can be broken down into strategies that: 1) utilize the native microbiome or an introduced microorganism to exclude pathogens, 2) utilize direct action against the pathogen, and 3) focus management strategies on reducing horizontal and vertical spread of pathogens. While complete elimination of foodborne pathogens from the environment is not possible, the animal industry is presented with an array of near- or in-market strategies that can reduce foodborne pathogenic bacterial carriage and shedding in food animals.