Mother Nature Network
According to the New York Times, over the past three years there have
been 52 recalls of beef tainted with E. coli. In the three years previous to
those, there were only 20 recalls.
A new vaccine is being tested that could “significantly reduce the amount of harmful bacteria that cattle carry into slaughterhouses” and reduce the amount of tainted beef that ends up in the hands and mouths of consumers.
The vaccines aren’t intended to wipe out E. coli completely. It’s estimated that there will be a 65 to 75 percent reduction in the number of animals carrying E. coli. If that percentage is correct, then the present safeguards will better catch what remains — although not totally.
Vaccines have been available for about a decade now but approval has been tricky. That’s because the vaccine is given to the cow, but its purpose is to safeguard human health. E. coli doesn’t harm the cow even though it can poison a human. No one I talked to was sure if the Agriculture Department or the Food and Drug Administration had the authority to approve such a vaccine.
One vaccine by a Minnesota company, Epitopix, has been approved for sale while research is ongoing. About 30,000 cattle will be vaccinated during the trials.
Even if the vaccine proves successful, there is another problem: E. coli is spread in the slaughterhouse. However, the vaccine would need to be administered by the farmers or feedlot operators. The question is, who would be responsible for paying for the vaccines?
And, even if the vaccine works and the financial problems are worked out, I have two questions:
Number of animals killed in the world by the fishing, meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage.
0 marine animals
0 cows / calves
0 pigeons/other birds
0 donkeys and mules
0 camels / camelids