Washington, DC - A new feed ingredient that contains probiotics or so-called "good bacteria" can reduce the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in live cattle by as much as 50 percent, according to research released today by the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation. The research was done by Mindy Brashears, Ph.D., and Michael Galyean, Ph.D., of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX.
Brashears and Galyean fed
180 steers one of three diets: a standard diet
of grain and roughage, which served as the
control group, or a standard diet that also
included one of two strains of Lactobacillus
acidophilus, much like the bacteria
commonly added to yogurt.
researchers analyzed fecal samples from the
cattle when they arrived at Texas Tech
University and every 28 days thereafter until
they received probiotic supplementation. After
a 60-day supplementation period began, samples
were analyzed every 14 days. Researchers used
USDA test methods - considered the most
sensitive available -- to detect the presence
of E. coli O157:H7.
conducted the study during the Summer months,
when cattle are known to shed more E.
coli O157:H7. The numbers of cattle
testing positive for E. coli O157:H7
varied from 18 to 19 percent during the
mid-feeding period to less than 10 percent near
slaughter. The cattle fed the probiotics,
however, showed major reductions in incidence
rates. The group of cattle fed one particular
strain known as NPC 750 saw a 50 percent drop
in the incidence of E. coli O157:H7.
In addition to reducing this pathogen,
the probiotic is extremely cost-effective. The
researchers estimate the cost of feed
supplementation at roughly one cent per animal
per day. The low costs are offset by
improvements in feed conversion.
research affirms the benefits of probiotics in
preventing E. coli O157:H7 in cattle,"
Brashears said. "In the same way that
acidophilus in dairy products has health
benefits for humans, this particular strain of
Lactobacillus acidophilus clearly
reduces the incidence of pathogenic bacteria in
the gut of animals."
findings confirm data from preliminary trials.
Further confirmatory research studies are
underway, which if successful will lead to
commercial field trials. These field trials
are aimed at affirming the benefits of this
particular strain of Lactobacillus
AMI Foundation Vice President
of Scientific Affairs Randall Huffman, Ph.D.,
stressed the commitment of the U.S. meat
industry to enhancing the safety of beef
products. "Safety starts on the farm and ends
at the table," Huffman said. "We believe it is
important to take a broad view to achieve our
goal to reduce and eliminate E. coli
O157:H7 in beef."
Huffman said new
technology developed over the last decade has
helped achieve major reductions in bacteria on
raw meat products, but still does not permit a
pathogen free meat supply. The AMI Foundation,
he said, supports a "multi-hurdle" strategy
throughout the production process. By using a
combination of on-farm interventions like
probiotics in cattle feed, careful in-plant
processing techniques designed to destroy
bacteria, careful temperature control
throughout distribution and thorough cooking in
restaurants and home kitchens, producers,
processors, retailers, restaurants and
consumers together can ensure the safest
possible beef supply.
"This new research
is another tool in the food safety toolbox that
can help make the U.S. beef supply - already
among the safest in the world - even safer,"
The research is part of a
comprehensive Food Safety Initiative funded by
U.S. meat and poultry companies and
administered by the AMI Foundation. The
initiative's goal is to reduce and ultimately
eliminate E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria
monocytogenes on meat and poultry
To view the report in a PDF
file, visit http://www.amif.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/7368.
To view the research in its entirety,
visit the AMI Foundation web site at http://www.amif.org.
The probiotics used in the study are available
from Nutrition Physiology Corporation.
Brashears and Huffman will be available to news
media to answer any questions via
teleconference April 24 at 11 a.m. EST. To
access the teleconference, dial
AMI represents the
interests of packers and processors of beef,
pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their
suppliers throughout North America. Together,
AMI's members produce 95 percent of the beef,
pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of
the turkey products in the U.S. Headquartered
in Washington, DC, the Institute provides
legislative, regulatory, public relations,
technical, scientific and educational services
to the industry. Its affiliate, the AMI
Foundation, is a separate 501(c)3 organization
that conducts research, education and
information projects for the industry.
New AMI Foundation Research Identifies Probiotic that Can Reduce E. Coli O157:H7 in Live Cattle by 50 PercentWednesday, April 24, 2002
For more information contact:
Vice President, Public Affairs
Manager, Public Affairs