Is it derived from animal feed?
After costing the US poultry industry 50 million chickens in 2015, AI has become the biggest historic poultry health disaster in the United States, according to Financial Implications of Avian Flu Outsourcing on a broiler operation in the United States. Each year, the Salmonella bacteria cause about 1.4 million infections, 26,000 hospitalizations and 420 deaths in the United States alone, according to estimates from the US Center for Disease Control.
AI has been found in poultry and wild birds in more than 50 countries and is considered endemic in several of them. From December 2014 to June 2015, the United States suffered from an outbreak of bird flu that included more than 200 cases in flocks of commercial and backyard poultry. According to the Congressional Research Service of the US Congress, the seven-month epidemic has cost US industry $ 3.3 billion.
Is it derived from animal feed?
While it is unquestionably true that there are multiple entry points for pathogens into living production, most, such as human footsteps and vehicle movements, present a localized risk and can be addressed by control measures. simple and rigorously enforced biosecurity. Even water contamination is a relatively localized risk, with sources rarely serving more than one farm. But the diet is somewhat different. A single source of contaminated raw material can serve multiple feed plants, hence the contaminated finished feed ends up in many complexes and poultry houses.
What we know about Salmonella
“Internally, we studied 8,000 samples over a year and found that animal by-products carried a percentage of Salmonella contamination ranging from 20% to 75%, while cereals ranged from 5% to 30%, overall, we have noticed that the microbial profiles contaminating feeds and their ingredients are very variable, ”said Dr Enrique Montiel, director of nutrition and live production at DVM and Anitox. “High microbial loads are the main factor contributing to the variability observed in feed. For example, out of 15,000 untreated samples we investigated in the EU showed that the 10% of the most contaminated samples had an average Enterobacteriaceae count of 700,000 cfu / g. ”
Many researchers over the years have established that animal feed is a fomite for Salmonella, and this remains a topic of continuing interest. Dr. Shariat, from the Poultry Diagnostic Research Center at the University of Georgia, recently published an article titled Incidence of Salmonella Serovars Isolated from Commercial Pet Stores in the United States and Identification of Serovars Using CRISPR Analysis. This experiment confirmed the discovery of Salmonella in poultry feed, noting that in two different trials, 15% and 9.1%, respectively, food samples were not only positive for Salmonella, but harboring five serotypes. known to cause human illness.
“Salmonella does not always cause disease in poultry, but can pose a risk to food safety. This is why it is so critical to recognize and assess the risks to live production. By reducing the prevalence of pathogenic bacteria entering live production, you reduce the prevalence of pathogens entering processing, ”explained Dr Montiel.
What we know about bird flu
A USDA Economic Research Service report examining the AI epidemic in the United States in 2014-2015 recognizes that there are several pathways that could spread the disease. One of those listed was food distribution. An experiment conducted by Dr Haroldo Toro of Auburn University observed that the survival of the AI virus in food improved when coated with skimmed milk powder. This observation confirms the idea that transmission of the virus in animal feed is more likely to occur when the feed is contaminated with organic material, for example feces.
“Food producers are doing all they can to support their farmers, looking for ways to ensure that animal feed is not an AI pathway on the farm. Biosecurity experts advocate extreme care with stored food. However, it only takes one batch of contaminated feed to soil a transport vessel or feeder and increase the likelihood of herd exposure, ”said Dr. Montiel.
Protect your investment
Animal feed often accounts for 60-70% of the poultry producers’ investment in a flock. To obtain a return on investment, herds must reach their full genetic potential. Nutritionists, buyers and millers put a lot of effort into the design and development of diets that contribute to a healthy and efficient gut by improving nutritional investment through optimized absorption, protection against pathogenic damage to the villi and prevention of disruption of pathogens for healthy intestinal microflora. Pathogens put livestock at risk for systemic dysfunction in the digestive tract and limit genetic potential for maximum productivity. Animal feed, as a fomite, has a dynamic and ubiquitous nature, which allows it to introduce bacterial and viral contamination into feeders and introduce risks to entire herds, often increasing conversion rates of animals. food.
“Independent research by Dr. Toro has shown that food sanitizing technology inactivates the AI virus in food, even when the virus is stabilized by organic matter. Further demonstrating that animal feed disinfectants are a biosecurity tool to be considered, ”continues Dr Montiel,“ It was a major breakthrough. This meant that, for the first time, feed could be a critical control point, helping to reduce the risk of an AI outbreak in a poultry production operation.
Clean feed promotes efficient growth by protecting livestock and nutrients from pathogens. By controlling the microbial load from production to the point of consumption, the highest quality feed is provided to livestock. Protected food is quality food.
“Historically, food processors have had very few options when it comes to protecting feed,” says Dr Montiel. “Heat treatment and organic acids are common mitigation options but offer very limited protection over time, which means food is at risk of recontamination as soon as it leaves the factory.
Animal feed disinfectants demonstrate high efficacy against viruses and pathogens such as Salmonella. The APHA – the UK-based Animal and Plant Health Agency – tested a feed disinfectant against other commercial mitigation agents and found the disinfectant to be much more effective at low levels of d ‘application. “
Animal feed disinfectants provide long-lasting protection against recontamination when applied to individual ingredients or to finished feeds, keeping them free of pathogens during transport and storage. Ultimately, ensuring that food does not face the challenge at the point of consumption. This is what sets animal feed disinfectants apart from other mitigation strategies used in commerce, such as heat treatment and organic acids which only control contamination of feed at the point of treatment.
Producers wishing to take effective measures to protect their animals from contamination can obtain more information at www.anitox.com/poultrysite.
Watch for the next article in this series which describes and compares the interventions available to mitigate viral and bacterial pathogens in feed.