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Impact of reducing the level of wet distillers grains fed to cattle prior to harvest on prevalence and levels of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in feces and on hides

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Cattle fed finishing diets with wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) have been shown to harbor increased Escherichia coli O157:H7 populations in the feces and on the hides. To determine if feeding a lower level of WDGS at the end of the feeding period reduces E. coli O157:H7 load at harvest, 608 heifers were sorted into one of five treatments and fed 0, 40, or 70% WDGS (dry matter basis). For three of the treatments, WDGS was reduced midway through the study. Treatment 0W0W heifers (positive control) were fed a corn grain-based diet continuously, and 40W40W heifers (negative control) were fed 40% WDGS continuously. Heifers subjected to treatments 40W0W, 40W15W, and 70W15W were fed either 40 or 70% WDGS for the first 56 days and switched to 0 or 15% WDGS, respectively, for the last 56 days. Prior to the switch in diets, animals fed diets with 40 or 70% had higher prevalence and percent enumerable fecal samples for E. coli O157:H7. After the dietary switch, animals fed 40W0W, 40W15W, and 70W15W diets had fecal prevalence and percent enumerable samples (33.4 and 6.3%, 31.0 and 9.7%, and 34.9 and 8.4%, respectively) similar to those of animals fed 0W0W diets (10.2 and 3.2%, respectively; P > 0.05), whereas animals fed 40W40W had the highest fecal prevalence and percent enumerable samples (70.1 and 29.2%, respectively; P < 0.05). Similar relationships between the treatments were observed for hide samples. Time after dietary switch was important, as animals fed lower levels had significantly lower fecal prevalence and percent enumerable samples after 56 days, but not after 28 days. The study indicates that cattle can be switched to lower levels of dietary WDGS (15% or less) 56 days prior to harvest to significantly reduce E. coli O157:H7 in feces and on hides.
Wells, J.E. , Shackelford, S.D. , Berry, E.D. , Kalchayanand, N. , Bosilevac, J.M. , Wheeler, T.L.
Includes references
Journal of food protection 2011 Oct., v. 74, no. 10
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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