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Impact of transportation and lairage on hide contamination with Escherichia coli O157 in finished beef cattle

G A Dewell, C A Simpson, R D Dewell, D R Hyatt, K E Belk, J A Scanga, P S Morley, T Grandin, G C Smith, D A Dargatz, B A Wagner, M D Salman
Journal of Food Protection 2008, 71 (6): 1114-8
Transportation of cattle from the feedlot to the slaughter plant could influence hide contamination of Escherichia coli O157. A study was initiated to investigate the influence of transportation and lairage on shedding and hide contamination of E. coli O157. Fecal and hide samples were obtained from 40 pens of harvest-ready beef cattle at the feedlot prior to transport and again at the slaughter plant immediately after slaughter. Potential risk factors for hide contamination at the feedlot, during transport, and at slaughter were evaluated. A multilevel Poisson regression model was used to evaluate if transportation and lairage were associated with hide contamination by E. coli O157 in finished beef cattle. Lots of cattle held in E. coli O157-positive lairage pens had eight times greater risk of having positive slaughter hide samples compared with cattle held in culture-negative pens (relative risk, 8.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.6 to 38.8). Lots of cattle that were held in lairage pens contaminated with feces had three times greater risk for positive slaughter hide samples compared with cattle held in clean pens (relative risk, 3.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 7.9). Lots of cattle that were transported for long distances (> 160.9 km) had twice the risk of having positive hide samples at slaughter compared with cattle transported a shorter distance (relative risk, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 5.1). These findings suggest that transportation and lairage should be considered in E. coli O157 control strategies.


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