May 27, 2008

Ethanol Co-Products and E. Coli

In January 2008, researchers at Kansas State published a study that that concluded ethanol co-products (distillers grains) increased the prevalence of E. Coli in cattle.

The results indicate that there is a positive association between DDG and E. coli O157 in cattle, and the findings should have important ramifications for food safety.

In the days that followed there were numerous news articles that tried to link the increasing use of distillers grains to the increases in meat recalls over the last few years.

Then in March 2008 the very same researchers published a follow up study that concluded that feeding cattle distillers grains did not increase the prevalence of E. Coli.

Unlike our previous studies, we found no evidence to indicate that dietary inclusion of distiller’s grains or corn processing methods have a significant effect on the prevalence E. coli O157 or Salmonella in cattle feces.

Following the release of this study there were hardly any news articles covering the story. The only articles that I saw at the time were in agricultural news outlets.

New study shows no connection between distillers dried grains and E. Coli.Now there has been another study published, this time by researchers at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln that concludes that there is no link between distillers grains and meat recalls.

At this point, there is no scientific evidence that feeding DG, at least at levels being used commercially, is the cause of a food safety crisis! Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the feeding of DGs is the cause of the 2007 recalls.

Now the question is whether or not the media will cover this story or will they just leave everyone with the impression established after the first study was published that the food supply isn't safe and that it is because of distillers grains.

Study : Does Feeding Distillers Grains in Rations Increase E. coli O157:H7?

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