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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 #297711

Title: Ecological and dietary impactors of foodborne pathogen prevalence and methods to reduce colonization in cattle

item Callaway, Todd
item Edrington, Thomas
item Nisbet, David

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2013
Publication Date: 1/14/2014
Citation: Callaway, T.R., Edrington, T.S., Nisbet, D.J. 2014. Ecological and dietary impactors of foodborne pathogen prevalence and methods to reduce colonization in cattle. Journal of Animal Science. 92:7308-7342.

Interpretive Summary: Cattle can have foodborne pathogenic bacteria in and on them, which can be transmitted to human consumers. If we can reduce foodborne pathogens in the animal, we can make processing plants more effective at reducing pathogens and improve human health and food safety. A variety of strategies under development or in use are discussed. A multiple-hurdle approach is seen as the most likely to maximize the improvement in human health.

Technical Abstract: Pathogenic bacteria can live asymptomatically within and on cattle, which can support pathogen entry into the food chain, but also can be transmitted directly to humans via animal or fecal contact. Strategies that act against pathogenic bacteria incidence and populations within live cattle represent an important step in improving food safety. In an effort to reduce pathogen populations, a broad range of pre-slaughter intervention strategies are currently under development and investigation and can be loosely grouped together as: 1) directly anti-pathogen strategies, 2) competitive enhancement strategies (to utilize the microbiome’s competitive nature), and 3) animal management strategies. Included within these broad categories are such diverse methods as: vaccination against foodborne pathogens; probiotics and prebiotics or synbiotics to prevent pathogen colonization; bacterial viruses (bacteriophage) to specifically reduce existing pathogen populations; sodium chlorate; and dietary and management changes that specifically alter the microbiome. The simultaneous application of one or more pre-slaughter strategies has the potential to contribute to the reduction of human food-borne illnesses by erecting multiple hurdles preventing their entry into humans. However, economic factors that govern competition and producer profitability must be kept in mind while striving to improve food safety and ultimately human health.