INTERVENTIONS TO REDUCE EPIZOOTIC PATHOGENIC BACTERIA IN SWINE AND CATTLE
Location: Food and Feed Safety Research
Title: On-farm interventions to reduce epizootic bacteria in food-producing animals and the environment
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 26, 2008
Publication Date: January 6, 2010
Citation: Anderson, R.C., Callaway, T.R., Jung, Y., Genovese, K.J., Edrington, T.S., McReynolds, J.L., Harvey, R.B., Byrd II, J.A., Nisbet, D.J. 2010. On-farm interventions to reduce epizootic bacteria in food-producing animals and the environment. In: Ricke, S.C., Jones, F.T., editors. Perspectives on Food-Safety Issues of Animal Derived Foods. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press. p. 49-62.
Interpretive Summary: Food producing animals can harbor the bacteria Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter in their gut. These bacteria cause little or no harm to the animal but can cause severe, life-threatening disease to humans if consumed in contaminated food products such as ground beef, pork or poultry. Numerous technologies such as steam pasteurization, hot water rinses, and organic acid sprays have been implemented in the processing plants to reduce potential contamination of food products by these bacteria during slaughter and subsequent handling, but none of these technologies are completely fool-proof as food recalls and outbreaks of human food-borne disease occasionally occur. Interest exists, therefore, in the development of on-farm interventions that can reduce the level of these dangerous bacteria in the animal before they arrive for slaughter and processing. Concern also exists among public health officials and consumers that the use of antibiotics by farmers to control disease and improve animal growth is contributing to the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in farm animals. As a consequence, farmers are under increasing pressure to reduce their use of antibiotics. Thus, there is an urgent need for research that can deliver non-antibiotic on-farm control strategies that can reduce levels of dangerous bacteria in the animal and when possible, help the farmers more efficiently grow their animals. This chapter presents a review of several non-antibiotic technologies such as the use of chlorate, select nitroalkanes, the medium chain fatty acid lauric acid (and its glycerol monoester, monoluarin), and competitive exclusion cultures that have been developed and are undergoing research at the Food and Feed Safety Research Unit. This review will be of use to all involved in animal agriculture such as other researchers, producers and processors and ultimately will help in the production of safe and wholesome food products for the American consumer.
Food producing animals can be reservoirs of human pathogenic bacteria such as enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (O157- and non-O157 Shigatoxin-producing E. coli), Salmonella, and Campylobacter, often harboring these pathogens within their gastrointestinal tracts. Carrier animals colonized by these bacteria often exhibit few if any symptoms which makes their detection by visual examination difficult and therefore their removal prior to slaughter almost impossible. Post harvest technologies such as steam pasteurization, hot water rinses, and organic acid sprays have been implemented to reduce potential contamination of carcasses by these bacteria during slaughter and subsequent handling but none are completely infallible as product recalls and outbreaks of human food-borne disease continue to occur. Interest exists, therefore, in the development of on-farm interventions that can reduce the carriage of zoonotic pathogens before they are presented for slaughter and processing. Concern also exists among public health officials and consumers that continued use of antibiotics to control disease and enhance production is contributing to the emergence and proliferation of antimicrobial-resistant microbial populations. As a consequence, livestock producers are under increasing pressure to reduce their continued use of and dependence on antibiotics. There is an urgent need for research that can deliver alternative on-farm pathogen control strategies that where possible should contribute to the efficiency and profitability of animal production. This chapter presents a review of recent pre-harvest food safety research activities conducted at the Food and Feed Safety Research Unit.