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October 2009 Archive for Livestock Today

RSS By: Sara Brown, Beef Today

The Livestock Today blog is your place to learn the latest production news for the livestock industry.

Beef Is Not The Only Food Safety Concern

Oct 19, 2009

By Sara Brown

Beef isn't the only part of the food industry faced with safety concerns. The Center For Science In The Public Interest (CSPI) released their list of the Top 10 riskiest FDA-regulated foods include leafy greens, eggs and tuna. While the beef industry is regulated by USDA, not FDA, food safety concerns are growing in all areas of the country.

Here is the list:

  1. LEAFY GREENS: 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness
  2. EGGS: 352 outbreaks involving 11,163 reported cases of illness
  3. TUNA: 268 outbreaks involving 2341 reported cases of illness
  4. OYSTERS: 132 outbreaks involving 3409 reported cases of illness
  5. POTATOES: 108 outbreaks involving 3659 reported cases of illness
  6. CHEESE: 83 outbreaks involving 2761 reported cases of illness
  7. ICE CREAM: 74 outbreaks involving 2594 reported cases of illness
  8. TOMATOES: 31 outbreaks involving 3292 reported cases of illness
  9. SPROUTS: 31 outbreaks involving 2022 reported cases of illness
  10. BERRIES: 25 outbreaks involving 3397 reported cases of illness

The report, which goes farther into detail on each of the top ten items also notes: “Illnesses caused by these ten foods may be as minor as stomach cramps and diarrhea for a day or two, or as serious as kidney failure or death. Notably, pathogens most commonly associated with meat and poultry—such as Salmonella2 and E. coli O157:H73—also have been repeatedly linked to these food items. In fact, Salmonella was identified as the cause in 33 percent of the outbreaks from the FDA Top Ten. Other pathogens causing the outbreaks associated with these foods include Campylobacter, Scombrotoxin, Norovirus, and Vibrio.4”

CSPI used data from their Outbreak Alert! Database, which includes outbreaks from 1990 to 2006, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources to compile this report.

Check out the full report here.


This column is part of the Beef Today Cattle Drive e-newsletter, which is delivered to subscribers biweekly and includes beef industry analysis, market information as well as the latest beef headline news. Click here to subscribe.


Beef Producers Can Preg Test Cows, Too

Oct 02, 2009
By Sara Brown
Dairy producers preg test cows all the time. Why should cattle producers patiently wait until the cow exhibits signs of being in heat? Every day your cow isn’t bred is a day of loss.

If the vet can’t (or in some cases won’t) visit the farm, consider pulling your own blood tests to find those empty cows. At the University of Missouri’s Thompson Farm research field day, animal science professor Matt Lucy said blood testing is economical and easy for producers to do.

The key is timing. Cow pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAG) are present in the blood stream after 25 days bred. As the calf is developing, PAG levels will continue to rise until the calf is born. It takes 60 days after calving for cows to relieve all the PAG proteins in their system. Preg testing should only be done after that 60-day time period, to ensure the PAG proteins are from the current pregnancy.

Lucy identified the BioPRYN test for the northern Missouri producers at the field day because of its easy handling. They recommend producers wait 30 days after breeding and 90 days after calving. No special packaging is required, just proper labeling of the box and samples. Results can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed. Supplies are available at many farm supply stores.

One producer there said he uses blood preg tests to also check for BVD infected animals.

What do you think? Is preg testing beef cows on the farm something you would be interested in?
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