NCBA Report – Controlling Dust Controls E. coli

This is interesting — controlling dust “kicked up” by cattle while loading them onto a truck seems to suppress hide contamination.  In the back of my mind, I am imagining images posted by so many “feedlot naysayers” who (it now seems, inaccurately) attribute the mud and muck to carcass hide contamination.  Mud, a bane to many cattle farmers living in “wetter” climates — might be a good thing for food safety?


NCBA REPORT- Controlling Dust Controls E.coli

US – The dust clouds created by the cattle when they are being rounded up and transferred from the feedlot to the slaughterhouse can increase the risk of E.coli contamination, writes TheCattleSite senior editor, Chris Harris from the NCBA convention in San Antonio.

Dr. Mark Miller from the Department of Animal and Food Science at Texas Tech University told the convention’s Cattlemen’s College that studies looking into the cleanliness of the vehicles transporting the cattle to the abattoir showed no difference in the risk and liability for E.coli 0157:H7 to be found on the production line.

However, he said that during the investigations the researchers saw that large clouds of dust surrounded the animals while they were being rounded up and this led them to look into the possibility of carcase and hide contamination.

The research found that the dust contained a mixture of the faeces of the cattle, which contaminated the carcases with both E.coli and Salmonella.

Dr. Miller said that they noticed that the contamination occurred in spikes, similar to the potential for outbreaks of food poisoning outbreaks.

He added that if the spikes in contamination increasing the pathogen load on the carcases by more than three logs coincided with problems on the production line, such as staff shortages, then the recipe was in place for potential food poisoning incidents.

Dr Miller added that the study also found that by damping down the areas where the cattle were rounded up in the feedlots, helped to suppress the degree of contamination, of the carcases even though it did not alter the amount of the pathogen contamination in the environment.

“Control of the dust resulted in fewer animals testing positive at the plant,” Dr. Miller concluded.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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