USDA Grant Will Help Implement Pathogen Prevention Methods at Feed Yards

Using approximately $598,000 from the USDA, Texas Tech University's International Center for Food Safety Excellence will develop and conduct a Pre-harvest Food Safety Demonstration Project to relay pathogen prevention methods to the cattle industry.

Written by Cory Chandler

Ah, beef, it’s what’s for dinner – and that much safer for the dinner plate, thanks to methods developed at Texas Tech University to curtail such harmful pathogens as E. coli O157 and Salmonella in feed yards.

Now, using nearly $600,000 from the USDA, an International Center for Food Industry Excellence (ICFIE) team will train feedlot personnel to implement these intervention strategies.

"This grant will take our research out of the lab and get it to our end users," said Mindy Brashears, director of the ICFIE. "Thanks to the USDA, this information is not limited to a journal article or a conference demonstration; the benefits can be passed to feed yards and, ultimately, consumers."

ICFIE research has shown that by introducing relatively simple safeguards at critical junctures, feed yards can contain pathogen spread as they transport cattle for harvest. Using approximately $598,000 from the USDA, they will develop and conduct a Pre-harvest Food Safety Demonstration Project at Texas Tech to relay this information to the cattle industry.

The funding is part of a $14 million grant package distributed among 17 universities by the USDA to improve U.S. food safety. It will support three interrelated projects to locate information gaps in feed yards, provide field training and ensure that controls are successfully adopted.

Texas Tech will collaborate with the National Cattleman’s Beef Association in the project. Team members include Brashears, Markus Miller, Chance Brooks, Todd Brashears, Mark Lyte, all from Texas Tech, and Guy Loneragan from West Texas A&M University.

Each year, USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service awards National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (NIFSI) grant funds so that sound, practical, science-based knowledge can be shared among teachers, scientists, health professionals, researchers, farmers, food processors, food service workers and all who impact the safety of the U.S. food supply. NIFSI grant funds are frequently used to develop education and outreach programs for consumers.

CONTACT: Mindy Brashears, director, International Center for Food Industry Excellence, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2805, ext. 235, or