A systematic review to assess the effectiveness of pre-harvest meat safety interventions to control foodborne pathogens in beef

Maria Rodrigues da Costa*, Joana Pessoa, Truls Nesbakken, Diana Meemken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Safe beef is a priority for consumers, policy makers, official veterinarians, and producers. This systematic review aims to update the recent knowledge on pre-harvest interventions to control main foodborne pathogens in beef and to assess their effectiveness. Only controlled trials in beef or dairy cattle were included. A total of 1514 studies were retrieved from PubMed® and Web of ScienceTM for 13 selected pathogens in particular Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). After the screening, 28 papers remained for Campylobacter (n = 1), Clostridium botulinum (n = 1), Clostridium perfringens (n = 1), Extended spectrum-lactamase AmpC gene-carrying bacteria (ESBL/AmpC) (n = 1), Salmonella (n = 11), and STEC (n = 13). Results were synthesised narratively using tables as support. Research on pre-harvest interventions to control foodborne zoonoses in bovines was mostly focused on Salmonella spp. and STEC. The studies retained on Salmonella and STEC showed that vaccination, and cleaning, disinfection, management, and biosecurity were the most tested and effective interventions, denoting their potential to control or reduce detection and shedding of these pathogens. The correct implementation of such measures is crucial for their efficacy. While vaccination can be implemented to prevent severe outcomes of disease and reduce shedding; cleaning, disinfection, and biosecurity can prevent the introduction and/or the spread of pathogens to/within farms. The use of feed additives and treatments had mixed results but seemed to be effective for Salmonella. The criteria for paper selection excluded observational studies which document effective practices like depopulation and repopulation with healthy animals. Overall, high herd health status coupled with good management and biosecurity were effective to control or prevent the important foodborne pathogens in cattle at pre-harvest level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109944
JournalFood Control
Early online date19 Jun 2023
Publication statusPrint publication - Nov 2023


  • Beef cattle
  • Farm practices
  • Foodborne pathogens
  • Salmonella
  • STEC
  • Zoonoses


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