Part 2 of three-part video series on antimicrobial resistance

Delving deeper into the discussion on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), this episode of the Beef Research School focuses on AMR research and surveillance on beef cattle.  We hear from Dr. Tim McAllister, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Principal Research Scientist, who explains in detail how AMR develops, summarizes past studies, and explains an upcoming study under the proposed Beef Science Cluster II. Continue reading

Part 1 of three-part video series on antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial use and resistance have received considerable negative, inaccurate attention from the media, activist groups and legislators throughout North America, most recently following the release of a policy paper by the Ontario Medical Association. Continue reading

Antimicrobial resistance: does Canadian beef production contribute?

In March 2013, a policy paper was released by the Ontario Medical Association on the contribution of inappropriate use of antibiotics to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The report strongly implied that antibiotic use in livestock is a major contributor to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in humans. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) would like to make the public aware that the report included several misconceptions and myths about beef cattle and AMR. Continue reading

Food Safety Research on Mechanically Tenderized Beef

This is a guest post written by Mark Klassen, Director of Technical Services for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and Canada Beef Inc.

Mechanical tenderization is a process that typically utilizes a set of needles or blades which penetrate meat, cutting through muscle fibers and connective tissue to improve tenderness. Mechanical tenderization has been widely utilized in Canada to enhance the eating quality of beef for many years.

During the 2012 recall of beef from XL Foods Inc., there were five reported cases of illness thought to be associated with the consumption and/or handling of mechanically tenderized product. Consequently, Health Canada is now undertaking a risk assessment to examine the safety of mechanically tenderized beef and to provide guidance around cooking temperatures.

To ensure the best information is available to Government and the Canadian beef industry, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) has instigated further food safety research. The research is focused on four aspects related to the safety of mechanically tenderized beef. Continue reading

Latest Results from Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance

The Public Health Agency of Canada has completed its most recent report on the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS). This program monitors trends in antimicrobial resistance in beef cattle, swine and broiler chickens, and in meat samples collected from retail stores, with a focus on three bacteria of interest: E. coli, Campylobacter, and Salmonella.  Samples are also collected from healthy animals entering federally inspected abattoirs that process cattle (E. coli and Campylobacter), swine (E. coli and Salmonella), and chicken (E. coli, Campylobacter, and Salmonella). All three bacteria are also examined in retail chicken, and only E. coli testing results are reported for retail beef and pork because Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria are so rare in these meats. Continue reading

E. coli O157:H7: an Industry Research Priority

E. coli O157:H7, the cause for the recent, extensive beef recall, is one of the few types of E. coli that is dangerous to humans.  It is shed in the feces of many warm-blooded animals, including deer, geese, dogs and cattle. E. coli O157:H7 is harmless to most animals but can be dangerous to humans if contaminated water or undercooked meat is consumed, especially to those with an immature or weakened immune system.  Beef can become contaminated by cattle hides and equipment during slaughter and processing or by food handlers in the retail sector.

Potentially dangerous pathogens are uncommon in beef, which is due in large part to the industry focus on combatting E. coli O157:H7. Continue reading