Pre-harvest prevention key to avoiding future food recalls, experts say

Food safety experts say pre-harvest prevention methods such as vaccines could help stop food safety recalls such as the one currently underway.

Nearly 700 beef and veal products have been recalled in Canada in recent weeks due to possible E. coli contamination — though no linked illnesses have been reported, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

University of Guelph professor Lawrence Goodridge says new food safety legislation that came into effect early this year has increased the CFIA’s investigative ability and led to more recalls.

Professor Keith Warriner says rapid-testing technology and pressure to test from retailers has also boosted the number of recalls in Canada.

Both say developing pre-harvest prevention methods could help reduce the number of future recalls.

Some in the industry are working on cattle vaccines to prevent the spread of E. coli while others have been working to figure out how to use bacterial phages to decrease the risk of bacteria on animals for slaughter.

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