A couple of cautions about today's news item on the effect of changing
cattle over to hay a few days prior to shipping them to slaughter.
A significant fraction of E. coli outbreaks appear to have resulted
from manure contamination of fruits and vegetables. The recommended
feeding change won't have much impact on those outbreaks.
Also, it is a bit of micro folklore that ingestion of acid-sensitive
bacteria on an empty stomach is safe, but ingestion on a full stomach
is not because the stomach acidity is partially-buffered by the food.
Contaminated and improperly cooked ground beef will be, almost by
definition, ingested on a full stomach.
None of the above should be considered as arguments against the
proposed feeding change, simply as suggestions that we not expect it to
do more than it can.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
These comments are mine and have not been reviewed and/or approved by
my management or by the U.S. Department of Energy.
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