A field trial using cattle from a commercial feedlot was conducted to quantify the effect of duration of fasting and a temporary change in ration on the concentration of Escherichia coli biotype 1 in feces. A nested hierarchical design with repeated measures through time was
used. Two groups of 20 British X European breed beef steers having reached slaughter weight (mean live weight 685 kg; SD 50 kg) were fed entirely on a high-energy ration typical of that used in the Ontario beef finishing industry or were switched for 4 days onto a high-roughage ration. This
was followed by a period of fasting and water deprivation to mimic that which occurs prior to slaughter. Fecal samples were collected at 0, 24, and 48 h of fasting, and for each sample the total presumptive E. coli (biotype 1) CFU/g of feces was enumerated by spiral plating. Estimates
of effect for the design factors were obtained by restricted maximum likelihood, and these were compared to robust counterparts obtained from generalized estimating equations. Results indicated that the ration, the duration of fasting, and their interaction had significant effects on total
log E. coli concentration in feces. Cattle on the high-roughage ration for four days had a significantly lower initial log E. coli CFU/g of feces compared to cattle on the normal ration, but after 48 h of fasting they had a significantly higher concentration. It is concluded
that while a temporary change in ration and duration of fasting does affect E. coli concentration in feces, these changes do not seem large enough to deliver a drastic improvement in beef carcass hygiene should they be incorporated in hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP)
plans for the preslaughter period of beef production.
Document Type: Research Article
Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1
Publication date: May 1, 1998
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