Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ISU Seeks Link Between Pathogens and Illness

21.11.2008
Iowa State University Food Safety Consortium researchers are seeking to connect the dots to determine how changes in the pork production process affect the predicted number of people who become ill with salmonellosis because of pork and how food safety interventions affect risk as well as industry costs.

No food processor wants pathogens contaminating the product in the plant for at least one obvious reason; the product on sale at retail might carry the risk of foodborne illness. Beyond that, it isn’t clear what are the chances that a consumer will become ill.

Helen Jensen and colleagues are seeking to connect the dots to determine how changes in the pork production process affect the predicted number of people who become ill with salmonellosis because of pork and how food safety interventions affect risk as well as industry costs. By learning that information, the meat industry would be able to figure the costs of intervening at points in the production process that would be the most effective in making the product safer.

“We think this model will be helpful for the industry whether it’s the packing plant or the Pork Board,” said Jensen, an Iowa State University professor of economics. She has collaborated with Scott Hurd, an associate professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine who is spending most of 2008 on leave from ISU as deputy undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are pursuing the research with support from the Food Safety Consortium.

Jensen said in discussing the subject with the pork industry, the key question has been whether to invest resources in the farm or in the slaughterhouse. “Then if we do invest resources in the slaughterhouse or on the farm, what’s the gain we’re going to get? Gain in this situation is measured by reduction in the number of human cases of illness,” she said.

It’s unusual to carry the research all the way to measuring the number of human illnesses. Jensen noted that U.S. research has not explored that angle to the extent that Europeans have done. Data are limited on Salmonella in the United States for anyone seeking to find out about its seroprevalence – the number of persons who test positive for a disease stemming from the bacterium.

“We’re mostly depending on one study done here at Iowa State which has found that the really large swine farms have a somewhat higher seroprevalence than everybody else,” Jensen said. “Now we’re converting our data by size categories so that we can put them into our model and say, ‘If that’s true for the whole the whole U.S. and we apply those data across all herds in the U.S., how is that going to work out as far as the number of contaminated carcasses?’” The epidemiological model is being integrated with a multi-market economic model that evaluates producer and processor behavior and the economic effect on the pork industry.

One significant question to follow is what interventions can be made during the production process that will have an effect on curbing human illness. It isn’t an easy matter to resolve.

“There’s a tendency to think that there’s a nice linear relationship – every reduction of Salmonella on the pig farm is going to reduce human health risk by the same portion. And that’s just not true, for a number of reasons,” Jensen said.

Hurd analyzed data from Denmark, which has kept more extensive records of the cause-and-effect situation than has the United States. In Denmark, the data show that pathogen reduction on the farm had little impact on human health risk. But pathogen reduction in the slaughterhouse did make a difference.

“The Danish study showed the most cost effective place to invest resources was in the slaughterhouse, because you get a better return on your investment when return is measured in terms of human health cases,” Jensen explained. “How many human cases of Salmonella can we reduce per dollar invested?”

Dave Edmark | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>