Call for new research on E.coli
A report published today by the Food Standards Agency in Scotland recommends investigating the use of feed additives and cattle vaccines in the control of E.coli O157 on UK farms.
This serious gastrointestinal pathogen can be transmitted from cattle faeces to humans via the environment or through the food chain and the research identifies three control strategies worthy or further investigation as follows:
- the use of probiotics in feed
- the vaccination of animals
- measures for improving biosecurity on farms
However, a survey of around 500 UK farmers found that while there are high levels of awareness of the risks of E.coli O157 to public health, many respondents are not convinced of the benefits of investing in treatments such as vaccines and probiotics.
Farmers who open their premises to the public are more likely to be willing to pay or to spend time in controlling E.coli O157, and the report suggests that a targeted vaccination to open farms could be a viable option.