Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) Ecology in Cattle and Management Based Options for Reducing Fecal Shedding

Published 03/2013

Volume 3 Issue 1
Pp. 39-69

Keywords: , , ,


Cattle can be naturally colonized with foodborne pathogenic bacteria such as Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in their gastrointestinal tract. While these foodborne pathogens are a threat to food safety, they also cause human illnesses via cross contamination of other foods and the water supply, as well as via direct animal contact. In order to further curtail these human illnesses and ensure a safe and wholesome food supply, research into preharvest pathogen reduction controls and interventions has grown in recent years. This review addresses the ecology of STEC in cattle and potential controls and interventions that have been proposed or implemented to reduce STEC in cattle. We focus in this review on the use of management practices and the effects of diet and water management. Implementation of preharvest strategies will not eliminate the need for good sanitation procedures in the processing plant and during food preparation and consumer handling. Instead, live-animal management interventions must be implemented as part of a multiple-hurdle approach that complements the in-plant interventions, so that the reduction in pathogen entry to the food supply can be maximized.

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