The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection (FSIS) has developed a compliance guide on known practices for pre-harvest management to reduce E. coli O157:H7 contamination in cattle. The document was a priority for President Obama’s Food Safety Working Group and is posted on the FSIS Website.

The compliance guide discusses several known practices for pre-harvest management to reduce E. coli contamination in cattle and focuses on the prevention of E. coli O157:H7 through reduced fecal shedding on the farm and during live animal holding before slaughter.
Specifically, the compliance guide suggests that pre-harvest interventions, such as treating cattle drinking water sources with chlorine and replacing grain with hay as the primary source of cattle feed have the potential to be effective in reducing fecal shedding in cattle.

The compliance guide also found vaccines and certain probiotcs and antibiotics to be potentially helpful in reducing dangerous pathogens in fecal shedding.
FSIS is seeking comments from the public on the compliance guides and expects to begin implementing the findings after analyzing the comments and, if necessary, making any adjustments.

“Preventing foodborne illness is the core mission of the Food Safety and Inspection Service and today’s announcement will help us reduce the incidence of Salmonella and Campylobacter,” said Jerold Mande, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, on May 11. “We welcome comments on today’s announcement.”

Comments regarding the compliance guides document must be received within the 60 day comment period through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at, or by mail to: Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Mailstop 5474, Beltsville, MD 20705-5474. All submissions received through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail must reference the Food Safety and Inspection Service and include the docket number “FSIS-2009-0034.”