Research to Evaluate Salmonella Risk in Animal Feed Production

The Institute for Feed Education and Research, along with several partners – including the American Feed Industry Association, National Pork Board, National Renderers Association, Poultry Protein and Fat Council, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, and U.S. Soybean Board – has launched a new research project with the University of Arkansas to analyze whether animal feed contains any of the serotypes from the bacteria Salmonella that could pose a health threat to livestock. The yearlong project is aimed at helping the animal feed industry better understand if the bacteria is prevalent at their manufacturing facilities so that it can make more informed decisions on what additional safety measures, if any, should be taken to promote feed safety and protect animal health.

There are more than 2,500 strains, or serotypes, of naturally occurring Salmonellae present in the environment and in animals. Although humans who consume contaminated food or practice poor food handling can sometimes contract salmonellosis – a foodborne illness that is estimated to cost more than $2.3 billion annually in medical care expenses and productivity losses – it is rare for animals to elicit the same response. The biology of many animals typically shields them from most strains of the bacteria; however, the Food and Drug Administration considers eight specific Salmonellae serotypes to be “hazardous” to five animal species – poultry, swine, sheep, horses, and dairy and beef cattle.

To prevent these serotypes of _Salmonella _from posing a risk to these animals, the six organizations formed a Salmonella in Feed Coalition, providing a $50,000 grant to the University of Arkansas to conduct a thorough research analysis. The project will invite 250 animal food mills in the United States that produce livestock feed to voluntarily send samples of their commercial feed to the university for analysis. Kansas State University, another partner in the project, is developing guidance materials for the volunteers to explain how to collect the samples and will be providing sampling kits. The facilities will take the samples in the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018 from their bulk feed shipments. In all, 500 samples will be collected and analyzed.

Once the samples are received, they will be tested to see if Salmonellae are present. If the sample contains the bacteria, it will be further analyzed to determine the specific Salmonella serotype. Project results are expected at end of summer 2018.

December 2017 RENDER | back