By Jacque Matsen, National Cattlemen's Beef Association
The essential oils in orange peel and pulp kill E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella according to research presented at the 2010 Beef Industry Safety Summit. This ongoing study is looking at these natural byproducts, created by making juice, as a potential feed ingredient for cattle. More than 200 experts from every sector of the beef industry met in Dallas this week to share research and identify farm-to-fork solutions for improving beef safety.
Developing on-farm safety solutions is one area of focus at the eighth annual Safety Summit, hosted by the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo). Since its founding in 1997, BIFSCo has led the implementation of important post-harvest safety innovations. Adding safety hurdles at the pre-harvest level is the next step in advancing U.S. beef safety.
"Research continues to find new ways beef producers can make the food chain even safer and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. This is important work, and it's why leaders from all segments of beef production gather at this Summit each year to discuss the latest research, share their best practices and set goals for the future,” said James O. Reagan, Ph.D., chairman of BIFSCo and senior vice president of research, education and innovation for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.
The citrus research is one of 13 safety studies funded by cattle farmers and ranchers in 2009. Lead researcher Todd Callaway with USDA's Agricultural Research Service found that dietary orange peel and pulp reduced Salmonella populations in the intestinal tract of sheep. Callaway expects the next phase of the study to yield similar results for reducing E. coli O157:H7.
This year's Summit also included sessions about traceability, recall lessons and subprimal interventions. First held in 2003, the Beef Industry Safety Summit has emerged as the most important meeting of the year for collaboratively discussing solutions to existing and emerging beef safety issues.
"We know that the number of beef recalls has declined in recent years, but the folks at this meeting remain committed to eliminating E. coli O157:H7 from the food supply,” said Reagan.