Prevalence of Salmonella species and Escherichia Coli O157:H7 in organically managed cattle and food safety status of selected meat products

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Nazareth, Joshua
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Angela M. Shaw
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Beef is an important source of food for consumers, thus requiring the safety of beef products important when considering the potential for a foodborne related illness. The food safety status of ground beef and fermented sausage products was examined in the literature along with interventions applied to reduce food safety risk. Ground beef was found to be a more important contributor to foodborne illnesses traced back to beef, and, undercooked ground beef was frequently associated with E.coli O157:H7 outbreaks. Salmonella spp., and E.coli O157:H7 are frequently associated with ground beef. Fermented sausage products were found to be a low risk food as the manufacturing process includes several hurdles for microbial growth. In fact, most outbreaks related to fermented sausages occurred due to post-processing contamination which signifies the importance of proper implementation of food safety practices in production and food service environments.

With the increasing growth in the sales and market share of organic goods it is imperative to look at the safety aspects of such production methods. Many organic production systems rely on manure in order to build soil organic matter and improve fertility. Manure has, however, been shown to be an ideal vehicle for transfer of pathogens like E.coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp., and studies have shown that these pathogens can be successfully transferred onto vegetation. This brings into question the safety of such systems. The growth rate of organic sales is increasing yearly along with the potential of outbreaks of possible foodborne illnesses, making it imperative to study the food safety aspects of these systems of production.

In a multi-state project that ran from 2015-2017 cattle were raised using an integrated in Iowa, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Fecal, feed, hide and meat samples were obtained and analyzed for the presence of E.coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. Analysis was carried out using the miniVidas system developed by bioMà  à ©rieux and confirmatory tests were performed according to USDA and FDA BAM procedures.

Prevalence rates for E.coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp., were comparable or numerically lower when compared to other similar organic studies. Occurrence of these pathogens was similar to conventional systems as well. Overall, E.coli O157:H7 was present in 9.43% of feed samples and 7.38% of fecal samples. There was no E.coli O157:H7 detected on hide or meat samples. Salmonella spp., was found in 1.89% of feed samples, 3.28% of fecal samples and 18.6% of hide samples. No meat sample was positive for Salmonella spp. The occurrence of either pathogen was very low and was found to be similar to levels in the region or in previous studies.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017