Vaccinating all livestock makes no sense, says scientist

Source of Article:  http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/content/view/10459/26/

Written by Ric Swihart   

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

 

 

Bacterial and microbial contamination between animals and humans “is nothing new,” says a Lethbridge Research Centre scientist.
Tim McAllister was responding to a study, published this week, in which researchers from McGill University and the University of Montreal stated seemingly healthy livestock could pose a serious risk to human health because of a “hidden reservoir” of bacteria they carry.
McAllister, a livestock feed biotechnology and nutrition specialist, said scientists have known the relationship of bacteria and micro-organisms in animals with humans since the 1930s.
Suggesting the vaccination of all animals to reduce the incidence of bacteria and micro-organisms to reduce contact with humans makes no sense, he said.
While maintaining animal health and nutrition and providing adequate shelter may help enhance an animal’s immune system, McAllister said it should not be considered to reduce the likelihood of organisms making humans sick.
Consumers must remember there are bacteria and micro-organisms on everything in the world
“If we worried about bacteria and micro-organisms, we would all have to live in a glass bubble,” said McAllister. “All the food we eat has bacteria on it.”
While there is nothing wrong with trying to minimize the bacteria and micro-organism counts in food, he said ultimately it boils down to the last thing one does before putting food in one’s mouth.
He said one of the greatest protections against food bacteria and micro-organisms is proper food handling. For instance, placing raw chicken on a cutting board poses no health problem once the chicken is cooked properly. But placing lettuce on the same board that hasn’t been cleaned can cause a problem before being eaten.
The other safeguard rests on the stove or barbecue. Cook your food properly, said McAllister.
“You can give me hamburger laced with E-Coli 0157-H7 (the infamous hamburger disease agent that caused deaths and illnesses at Walkerton, Ont.), let me cook it, and I will always eat it,” he said.
Montreal-based researchers sampled thousands of “asymptomatic” pigs — those that showed no signs of illness and would likely end up slaughtered and sold as meat products.
McAllister said the major packing plants spend about $5 an animal during processing to reduce the risk of contamination of foods.
Salmonella is another concern of the study researchers. McAllister said it also falls into the category of proper food handling and proper food cooking to completely make such foods in contact with salmonella safe to eat.

 

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