“One of our objectives is to find the distinction between pathogenic Salmonella and nonpathogenic Salmonella,” says Sellers. “But it’s going to take work because pathogenicity depends on the level of exposure, duration of exposure and other factors. Additionally, Salmonella is an incredibly adaptive bug and mutates rapidly; therefore different genetic variations — even within a serotype — may be pathogenic at one farm and harmless at another.”
IFEEDER starts coalition
In response to the need for more Salmonella data, IFEEDER and other industry organizations, including the National Grain and Feed Association, Canola Council of Canada, the National Renderers Association and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, formed the Salmonella in Feed Research Coalition.
This summer, the coalition will hold its first meeting among FDA, academia and industry stakeholders to identify the most crucial gaps in information and formulate ways to gather the data.
“When you work with Salmonella and you start to look for data, it usually raises more questions than answers,” says Sellers. “We’ll likely start by taking an anonymous survey of feed and feed ingredients from around the United States to find out what types of Salmonella are actually in the marketplace. IFEEDER’s $15,000 donation will leverage another $60,000, and that funding will carry the project for about two years.”
Using the data from the survey, a research team within the coalition consisting of scientists from academia, USDA-Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and industry will collectively decide a research protocol, collect the necessary samples, analyze the data and decide what should be done with the results.
World looks to U.S. for policy guidance
Alltech’s Traylor hopes the results lead to more effective regulations for the industry and consumers, both domestically and abroad.
“The work being done by the Salmonella in Feed Research Coalition will lead to more effective regulating that doesn’t disregard the scientific knowledge available,” says Traylor. “The amazing thing is this is also going to reach out into the international market because a lot of foreign regulatory bodies are looking to the FDA for guidance, as the United States is one of the leaders in food and feed safety.”
IFEEDER and the rest of the Salmonella in Feed Research Coalition will remain dedicated to securing the safety of the world’s food and feed supply through its donations to the project.