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Apr 09, 2020

Integrate Food Safety Without Productivity Loss

Apr 09, 2020

The number one concern for consumers today is bacteria in food and ensuring they are eating a safe and wholesome product. Processing plants already have several interventions in place to help prevent contamination, but now cattle producers can integrate food safety practices at their operation, while also improving feed efficiency and gains.


“When cattle are exposed to fewer foodborne pathogens, it goes a long way towards decreasing potential contamination of the food supply,” says H. Nielsen, DVM, Technical Service – Ruminant, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “Pathogens like E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella are ubiquitous. Reducing their presence in cattle finishing operations can contribute to food safety later in the production chain.”


First, cattle producers should understand the presence of E. coli or Salmonella does not indicate their operation is “dirty” or “contaminated.” The bacteria are naturally occurring in cattle populations and can be found in all animals across the country in every type of farm and production environment. Most of these pathogens do not cause detectable disease in cattle.1


“Research indicates that bacteria shedding peaks in summer and early fall,” Dr. Nielsen says. “Yet, the same group of cattle may shed bacteria in different amounts and the extent of shedding varies over time and across geographic regions. It’s a complex problem for producers to face, but it’s important we address it from every angle to ensure continued consumer confidence in beef.”1


Basic principles of cattle management — like those included in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)™ programs — help create a strong foundation for any food-safety interventions. These programs should include providing clean feed and water, appropriately drained and maintained environments, and pest control.


Then, operations can consider other steps like feed additives. Commercially available probiotics are an option documented to reduce prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in feedlot cattle1 — and some have been proven to increase average daily gain (ADG),2 Dr. Nielsen notes. In fact, a trial on a commercial feed yard showed a 4.2% improvement in feed conversion and a 3.06% improvement in ADG over control cattle when steers were fed L. acidophilus BT-1386.2


L. acidophilus BT-1386 promotes and maintains a normal intestinal environment,” Dr. Nielsen explains. “These are the same properties that help minimize the ability of pathogenic bacteria to develop, which contributes to performance, feed efficiency and food safety. It’s a great tool to integrate — both from a production perspective and for pre-harvest food safety. Producing a safe, wholesome product will help the entire industry.”


Have your nutritionist put Micro-Cell into your ration to enhance food safety and push animal performance to its highest level.  Two Micro-Cell® products from Lallemand Animal Nutrition contain the proprietary strain, L. acidophilus BT-1386 ─ Micro-Cell FS and Micro-Cell FS GOLD.


1 Production Best Practices (PBP) to Aid in the Control of Foodborne Pathogens in Groups of Cattle. Beef Industry Food Safety Council Subcommittee on Pre-Harvest. Spring 2015. Accessed March 19, 2015. Available at:

2 Lallemand Animal Nutrition. Unpublished. United States. 1996.

3 Tabe ES et al. Comparative Effect of Direct-Fed Microbials on Fecal Shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in Naturally Infected Feedlot Cattle. Journal of Food Protection. 2008;3(71):539-544.


©2017. Not all products are available in all markets nor associated claims allowed in all regions. Micro-Cell is a registered trademark of Lallemand Specialties, Inc.