Produce Grown by Livestock May Be Food Safety Risk
FDA published a report on June 11 that expresses concerns with farm animal operations located nearby fields growing produce. The report focuses on a 2020 Salmonella enteritidis outbreak in peaches that affected 101 people across 17 states and explains FDA’s testing and traceback processes from the outbreak.
The report explains that FDA connected pathogen samples from peaches and peach tree leaves to a strain of Salmonella on an adjacent chicken operation using whole-genome sequencing on chicken isolates from the same period as the outbreak. The results prompted additional testing around the company’s orchards where other strains of Salmonella were connected to genetically identical pathogens found in beef and cattle isolates from an adjacent cattle feedlot. The findings helped FDA quickly identify and prioritize investigations at certain peach packing and holding operations and other peach orchards.
The report states these findings underscore FDA’s concern about the potential impact adjacent land uses have on produce safety, including the potential impact of dust exposure. Past outbreaks have been linked at least in part to animal feeding operations, including a 2018 E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce. FDA encourages collaboration between neighboring farms to identify areas of concern and tailor their land management to the specific practices and conditions on individual farms.