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Controlling Foodborne Pathogens on the Farm
Food is produced with the consumer in mind. The farmers and ranchers who produce food for public consumption are consumers themselves and strive for a safe supply for the public and their families as well.
Two vaccines are conditionally licensed to help reduce the prevalence of E. coli O157 carrier state and to help control disease caused by Salmonella Newport in cattle. Zoetis is now the exclusive distributor of both Escherichia Coli Bacterial Extract vaccine* with SRP® technology and Salmonella Newport Bacterial Extract vaccine* with SRP technology.
Although the beef industry has made significant strides in reducing foodborne pathogens such as E. coli O157 and Salmonella, both continue to be significant food safety concerns. Both innovative vaccines can help address E. coli O157 and Salmonella Newport at the source — in the animals themselves. When combined with other prevention methods already in place at the packing plant, such as hot water rinse and steam pasteurization technologies, the vaccines can help provide a more comprehensive reduction.
The Escherichia Coli Bacterial Extract vaccine with SRP technology can be used in healthy cattle 5 months of age or older to reduce the prevalence of the E. coli O157 carrier state and to reduce the amount of E. coli O157 shed into the environment, which in turn helps minimize E. coli O157 exposure and infection of herdmates.
The Salmonella Newport Bacterial Extract vaccine with SRP technology effectively helps control disease and fecal shedding of Salmonella Newport, resulting in reduced disease incidence.
Some cattle can shed Salmonella in their manure for longer than a year, and shedding frequently lasts well beyond the typical length of clinical signs of disease in sick cattle.9 Salmonella also can be shed from infected animals in other ways — through saliva, nasal secretions, urine and milk.
By furthering the commitment to safe food from cattle, Zoetis is supporting cattle producers’ continuing strides against harmful bacteria. The Escherichia Coli Bacterial Extract and Salmonella Newport Bacterial Extract vaccines can help control the prevalence of E. coli 0157 and Salmonella Newport on the farm and in the cattle.
Keeping animals healthy is important — they get sick just like humans. That is why medicines are needed for food-producing animals.
- To help prevent diseases — Animal health programs target disease prevention. Vaccines are part of these programs and they are needed to help prevent and control infectious diseases among livestock and poultry.
- To treat sick animals — Antibiotics are necessary for the treatment of sick animals and to help prevent the spread of bacteria to other livestock.
- To control outbreaks — Veterinarians use medicines to control internal and external parasites in animals, for example.
*These product licenses are conditional. Efficacy and potency test studies are in progress.
Controlling Foodborne Pathogens at the Processing Plant
The beef industry recognizes that food safety is a very complex issue, requiring inputs and expertise from multiple sources. Food industry and government agencies all play a role in providing safe food to the public. Government agencies set food safety standards, conduct inspections and ensure the standards are met. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) works with other agencies, including agencies within the USDA, state inspection programs, the Food and Drug Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the safety and integrity of meat and poultry products.10
Inspection for wholesomeness is mandatory and is paid by tax dollars. Grading for quality — a composite evaluation of factors that affect palatability of meat, including tenderness, juiciness and flavor — is voluntary, and the service is requested and paid for by meat and poultry producers/processors.10
Research has shown that no single intervention will achieve the level of food safety that regulators and consumers expect from meat products. In response to food safety concerns, the industry and scientific community, with encouragement from FSIS, have introduced numerous antimicrobial interventions to the beef slaughter process, which can be used individually or together in a multiple-hurdle approach:11
- Steam Vacuum System
The steam vacuum system is a handheld apparatus spraying steam at 185° F, designed to remove small visible spots of contamination from carcass surfaces. The steam vacuum kills 90 percent or more of harmful bacteria.11
- Hot Water Rinse
High-temperature water (>160° F) sprayed on the carcass as the last step prior to chilling has been shown to be effective in substantially reducing the numbers of E. coli O157 and Salmonella.11
- Steam Pasteurization
Steam pasteurization is a process that raises the surface temperature of the carcass to 185° F, killing 95 to 99 percent of all bacteria. The carcasses are placed in a slightly pressurized, closed chamber at room temperature and sprayed with steam that blankets and condenses over the entire carcass. Carcasses are then sprayed with cold water to complete the process.11
- Multiple-hurdle Approach
Rather than rely on any one intervention, studies show it is more effective to use a multiple-hurdle approach to pathogen control. To achieve the maximum reduction in bacterial numbers on the carcass, the slaughter establishment utilizes multiple processes listed above. For example, a beef slaughter establishment may utilize the steam vacuum at multiple locations as the carcass is dehided, rinse the carcass at pre-evisceration with water followed by an antimicrobial spray, then wash with water, steam pasteurize and rinse again with an antimicrobial spray prior to chilling.11
- Steam Vacuum System
Controlling Foodborne Pathogens in Public Facilities
When choosing restaurants to visit, first research how the establishment fared in its most recent food safety inspection. The local health department inspects restaurants to make sure they are clean and have adequate kitchen facilities. In many areas, the latest inspection score is posted in the restaurant. However, posting regulations vary greatly from state to state.
Ask for foods to be cooked at their appropriate temperature. For instance, a hamburger should be cooked to 160° F.5 If at any time you get the impression your food is not sufficiently cooked, send the food back to be further cooked or do not eat it.
Controlling Foodborne Pathogens in the Home
Reduce the risk of foodborne illness in your home by following these simple steps:12
- Clean early and often:
- Wash hands with soap when handling all food — recommended 20 seconds before and after handling.
- Keep countertops and surfaces clean — wash with warm, soapy water following food preparation.
- Utensils and cleaning boards should be cleaned immediately after use with warm, soapy water.
- Separate meat and vegetables:
- Use a cutting board for raw meat, poultry and seafood and another for vegetables.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and their juices away from other items in your grocery cart to prevent cross-contamination.
- Contain and store raw meat, poultry and seafood so juices can’t drip onto other foods.
- Cook food to proper temperatures:
- Use a food thermometer — you can’t always tell whether food is cooked safely just by how it looks.
- Stir, rotate the dish and cover food when microwaving to prevent cold spots where bacteria can survive.
- Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating.
- Chill and refrigerate food properly:
- Use an appliance thermometer to make sure the refrigerator remains at 40° F or below.
- Chill leftovers within two hours and divide food into shallow containers for rapid cooling.
- Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator.
- Don’t overfill the refrigerator.
Even for experienced cooks, the improper heating and preparation of food can allow bacteria to survive. The four easy lessons of clean, separate, cook and chill can help prevent harmful bacteria from making your family sick.12
- Clean early and often:
1World Health Organization. Food safety and foodborne illness fact sheet. March 2007. Available at:www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs237/en/. Accessed February 8, 2012.
2U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Salmonella Questions and Answers. September 20, 2006. Available at: www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/salmonella_questions_&_answers/index.asp. Accessed February 8, 2012.
3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Escherichia coli O157:H7. Updated July 21, 2010. Available at: www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/ecoli_o157h7/index.html#what. Accessed February 8, 2012.
4Scallan E, Hoekstra RM, Angulo FJ, et al. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States — major pathogens. January 2011. Available at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/17/1/p1-1101_article.htm. Accessed February 8, 2012.
5Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Foodborne Illness. January 10, 2005. Available at: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/files/foodborne_illness_FAQ.pdf. Accessed February 8, 2012.
6Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 2011 Estimates: Findings. February 7, 2012. Available at: www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimates.html. Accessed February 8, 2012.
7Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Salmonella: Diagnosis and Treatment. September 27, 2010. Available at: www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/diagnosis.html. Accessed February 8, 2012.
8Salmonella and Campylobacter on U.S. Dairy Operations, 1996-2007. National Animal Health Monitoring Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available at: www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/dairy/downloads/dairy07/Dairy07_is_SalCampy.pdf. Accessed February 8, 2012.
9Cummings KJ, Warnick LD, Alexander KA, et al. The duration of fecal Salmonella shedding following clinical disease among dairy cattle in the northeastern USA. Prev Vet Med 2009; 92:134-139.
10U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2012. Inspections and compliance. Available at: http://foodsafety.gov/compliance/index.html. Accessed February 8, 2012.
11Plant Familiarization: Characteristics and Manufacturing Processes – Livestock Slaughter 2008. Available at: www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/LSIT_PlantFamiliarization.pdf. Accessed February 8, 2012.
12U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. October 2010. The basics: Clean, separate, cook and chill. Available at: www.foodsafety.gov/keep/basics/index.html. Accessed February 12, 2012.
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