Another Nail in
the Grass Feed Beef is better than Grain Feed Beef
of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/2009/08/articles/lawyer-oped/another-nail-in-the-grass-feed-beef-is-better-than-grain-feed-beef-coffin/
As I wrote a year ago in
a blog post, "Grass-Fed
vs Grain-Fed Beef and the Holy Grail: A Literature Review,"
several people have commented that switching from grain to grass feeding
could be one of the solutions to the problem with foodborne pathogens in
cattle and other livestock. Quotes like these are becoming more common on the
Internet and in recent media reports:
from grass-fed animals are safer than food from conventionally-raised
animals.” Eatwild, 2008.
has shown that the strains of E. coli most devastating to humans are the
product of feedlots, not cows. This is due to the animals being forced to
eat an unnatural diet, and not their natural choice, grass.” Grass-Fed
Beef: Safer and Healthier, Animal Welfare Approved, June 15, 2008.
I did an extensive
literature review and simply did not find support for the belief that
switching from grain to grass for cattle feed would make the world a bad
place to be pathogenic E. coli. Now comes an article by S. Reinstein, J.T.
Fox, X. Shi, M.J. Alam, D.G. Renter and T.G. Nagaraja. 2009, “Prevalence of
Escherichia coli O157:H7 in organically and naturally raised beef cattle.
Applied & Environmental Microbiology 75(16):5421-5423,” which states:
prevalences of E. coli O157:H7 that we observed in organically and
naturally raised beef cattle were similar to the previously reported
prevalence in conventionally raised cattle," the researchers said.
"No major differences in antibiotic susceptibility patterns among the
isolates were observed."
Now, before the internet
erupts into a belief culture war between grain feeders and grass feeders, I
am not saying that the cows themselves may not well be better off eating
grass and roaming the range, and I am not saying that feedlots miles wide
are not environmental hazards, but I think we need to face the fact that
grain vs grass does not mean “E.