U of M Research Examines Pathogen Survivability in the Food Chain

by 5m Editor
27 February 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1456. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1456

Research being conducted by the University of Manitoba is evaluating the ability of pathogens commonly found in swine manure fertilizer to survive through the food production chain.

The research is being conducted on a site in the RM of La Broquerie with funding from the federal greenhouse gas initiative, the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative, MRAC and livestock commodity groups.

Its intent is to assess the environmental implications of applying swine manure to pasture, the nutritional value of the forage produced and the performance of the cattle that eat it.

One additional aspect deals with the survival of pathogens. U of M Food Microbiologist Dr. Rick Holley says tracking organisms like Salmonella, Campylobacter and Yersinia, will indicate risks associated with current manure handling practices.

"We're going to be examining hog manure prior to application to the fields for the presence of pathogenic organisms and then their sustained presence on forage, then their colonization of cattle that have been fed that plant material and we'll be taking a look at persistence of those pathogens in manure that's been shed from the cattle.

We see in the literature that there are not very many studies that take a look at all aspects associated with risk in the animal environment.

From an agricultural point of view I suppose it's good that these organisms don't cause the animals to become ill but that makes it difficult for us to find them in the animal environment.

This project will provide us the opportunity to see the movement of pathogenic organisms through the whole system".

Dr. Holley says, if time permits, scientists will also examine whether pathogens being shed in the cattle's manure after they eat the forage are ending up in the food products made from those animals.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor