Animal Feed: Render Unto Salmonella

By Kuznik, Frank | Nutrition Action Healthletter, April 1992 | Go to article overview

Animal Feed: Render Unto Salmonella


Kuznik, Frank, Nutrition Action Healthletter


We're careful about the animal foods we eat. But what about the foods that are eaten by the animals we eat? One of those foods may be responsible for thousands of case of salmonella food poisoning every year. What is it? Animals.

The rendering industry has any number of polite terms for the 36 billion pounds of slaughterhouse waste it recycles every year: animal byproducts, viscera, offal (maybe tha should be "awful").

Just about anything left over after livestock is turned into Sunday dinner is ground up, boiled down, and sent back to the farm as animal feed. Ears and intestines. Tails and toes. Chicken heads and feet. Even poultry feathers are collected and transformed into a barnyard treat called hydrolyzed feather meal.

Fecal matter still inside animals that were fed too soon before being sent to slaughter?

Whoops. There's that, too. Some rendering plants even take roadkill and dogs and cats left in city pounds.

"From an aethetic point of view, it's a highly repulsive image," says George Mitchell, director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). "But from a biochemistry standpoint, it's perfectly acceptable. The rendering process sterilizes and kills everything that came from those old carcasses."

Rendering may sterilize the animal byproducts that end up in animal feed, but even after sterilization, they're a paradise for new bacteria.

"These are protein-based products that are full of amino acids and nutrients," says the CVM's Mitchell. "When salmonella get into them, they will survice for a long period of time. And given a little bit of extra water, the salmonella will reproduce in large numbers."

How do the salmonella contaminate the rendered byproducts? Through cracked pipes that transport the muck around the plant; wet or poorly cleaned work or storage areas; visitors tracking it into the plant on shoes and clothing; sloppy handling; contaminated trucks; even flies, birds, and rodents.

Once in the feed, salmonella can work their way into the eggs, chickens, and other meat that we eat. The results range from unpleasant--bouts of diarrhea, nausea, and sometimes fever and abdominal cramps--to fatal.

"About 40,000 cases of salmonellosis get reported to us annuall...[although] we think there are actually one to two million cases of salmonella infection each year," says Morris Potter, assistant director for foodborne diseases at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC estimates that about 2,000 deaths a year are caused by salmonella in chicken.

The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine is working with the U.S. Animal Health Association--a group of government, industry, and university scientists--to develop voluntary quality assurance programs for feed production and handling. Their stated goal: to reduce salmonella contamination in feed to zero.

FEEDING A LINE

Not surprisingly, the feed industry says that zero contamination is impossible. But, says CVM microbiologist Daniel McChesney, to aim for anything less would be pointless.

"Salmonella isn't like a pesticide or a drug. It grows. If you measure for it and find two, in two days it could be two billion. So there's no point in having anything besides zero."

How contaminated is our animal-feed supply? No one really knows. Though the FDA has jurisdiction over feed production, it doesn't routinely test rendering plants and feed mills for salmonella. It only tests when there is a contamination problem that has been traced back to a particular plant or batch of feed.

FROM THE BEGINNING

Feed isn't the only source of salmonella contamination. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Animal Feed: Render Unto Salmonella
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.