The livestock and leafy green industries face increasing demands to provide safe food while simultaneously protecting water quality, prevent erosion, reduce herbicides, and preserve wildlife habitats. However, certain strains of pathogenic E. coli and other enteric pathogens are threatening the safety of California's food supply. Recent research has shed light on the occurrence of foodborne pathogens in cattle, wildlife, and the environment and potential risks to produce food safety. In one project, ten central California coast ranches were visited between 2008 and 2010. A total of 2715 fecal, 209 water and 93 sediment samples were collected for bacterial culture. E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from cattle feces (2.6%), water (1.5%) and sediment (1.1%). Â Wildlife sampling conducted during the same time indicated that E. coli O157:H7 was present in feral pigs (5%), coyotes (2%), crows (5%), cowbird (3%), and Tule elk (2%), yet none detected from rabbits, skunks or black-tailed deer. A follow-up project conducted in 2010-2013 indicated that small rodents such as deer mice that traveled in or around produce fields had low infection rates of 0.2% for E. coli O157:H7, but 3% infected with Salmonella. Lastly, during 2009-2010 twenty three rivers and creeks along the Central Coast showed a high prevalence of Salmonella (35 % of water samples) but very low occurrence of E. coli O157:H7 (2.4% of water samples). The purpose of these research projects is to understand pathogens in the environment and possible animal sources. The next step will be to develop management practices that will decrease the probability of pathogenic risks in our food supply.
Oral presentation and poster titles, abstracts, and authors from the Society for Range Management (SRM) Annual Meetings and Tradeshows, from 2013 forward.