May 09, 2020
On-Farm Food Safety Practices Show Efficiency, Gain Benefits
May 09, 2020
Maintaining consumer confidence in a safe, wholesome beef supply starts well before a steak ever reaches the plate. In fact, every beef producer can implement practices that enhance food safety — and some practices even have added benefits to gain and growth, says H. Nielsen, DVM, Technical Service – Ruminant, Lallemand Animal Nutrition.
“Consumers are counting on us to deliver food that is safe,” Dr. Nielsen says. “The first line of defense is the farm or ranch. In many cases, food safety practices are things cattle producers are already doing. Yet, the industry as a whole may not be as successful with other food-safety interventions if these practices aren’t implemented correctly first.”
According to the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo), the key components of first-tier food safety programs includes providing cattle:1
- Clean feed
- Clean water
- Appropriately drained and maintained environments
- Relative freedom from pests, such as biting insects
Specific guidance on principle-based animal husbandry practices, like these, are outlined in the Beef Quality Assurance™ (BQA) program. Dr. Nielsen encourages all producers to become BQA certified.
Once these practices are consistently in place, producers can include other strategies such as feeding a probiotic, or direct-fed microbial (DFM), to help control the prevalence of Escherichia coli — one of the main food safety threats.
“The specific strain Lactobacillus acidophilus BT-1386 – which is only commercially available in Micro-Cell® products — promotes and maintains a normal intestinal environment that minimize the ability of pathogenic bacteria to develop, which contributes to performance, feed efficiency and food safety,” Dr. Nielsen notes.
In fact, cattle fed L. acidophilus BT-1386 also showed a 4.2 percent improvement in feed conversion and a 3.06 percent improvement in average daily gain (ADG) compared to controls.2
“It’s a win-win when producers can improve the herd’s efficiency and safeguard consumer confidence at the same time,” Dr. Nielsen says. “There is no one silver bullet that completely controls foodborne pathogens. It will take the adoption of best practices at every level of the food supply.”
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 Dec. 7, 2016. Available at: http://www.bifsco.org/CMDocs/BIFSCO2/Best%20Practices%20New/Production%20Best%20Practices-2015.pdf.
2 Lallemand Animal Nutrition. Unpublished. United States. 1996.
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