Orange peels and pulp show food safety promise

by Bryan Salvage
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DALLAS –Research presented at the 2010 Beef Industry Safety Summit claims the essential oils in orange peel and pulp kill E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. These natural byproducts, created by making juice, are now being investigated as a potential feed ingredient for cattle.

More than 200 experts met in Dallas this week to share research and identify farm-to-fork solutions for improving beef safety.

Developing on-farm safety solutions is one area of focus at the eighth annual Safety Summit, hosted by the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (B.I.F.S.Co.). B.I.F.S.Co., since its founding in 1997, has led the implementation of important post-harvest safety innovations. The next step in advancing U.S. beef safety is adding safety hurdles at the pre-harvest level.

“Research continues to find new ways beef producers can make the food chain even safer and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses,” said James Reagan, Ph.D., chairman of B.I.F.S.Co. and senior vice president of research, education and innovation for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. “This is important work, and it’s why leaders from all segments of beef production gather at this Summit each year to discuss the latest research, share their best practices and set goals for the future.”

In 2009, the citrus research was one of 13 safety studies funded by cattle farmers and ranchers. Dietary orange peel and pulp reduced Salmonella populations in the intestinal tract of sheep, found lead researcher Todd Callaway with U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Research Service. Mr. Callaway anticipates the next phase of the study to yield similar results for reducing E. coli O157:H7.

Sessions about traceability, recall lessons and subprimal interventions were included in this year’s Summit. The Beef Industry Safety Summit, first held in 2003, has emerged as the most important meeting of the year for collaboratively discussing solutions to existing and emerging beef safety issues, the checkoff relays.

“We know that the number of beef recalls has declined in recent years, but the folks at this meeting remain committed to eliminating E. coli O157:H7 from the food supply,” Mr. Reagan said.

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