Bacteriologic culture and histologic examination of samples collected from recumbent cattle at slaughter. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the potential food safety risks constituted by recumbent cattle that are slaughtered for edible beef. DESIGN: Prospective case series. ANIMALS: Thirty cattle in recumbency that passed a routine antemortem inspection at a US federally inspected abattoir. PROCEDURE: Aerobic, bacteriologic culture of blood samples taken immediately prior to slaughter and of spleens taken during viscera inspection. Gross lesions were recorded, and samples of liver, lung, kidney, and heart were collected from each animal for routine light microscopic examination. RESULTS: Bacteremia caused by Salmonella dublin was documented in 1 cow that had arthritis. Two other cows were condemned after postmortem inspection: 1 because of pneumonia and pleuritis and the other because of vegetative endocarditis. Three carcasses were retained and later condemned because of antibiotic residues in tissues; 1 of these cows had mastitis, 1 had liver abscesses, and 1 was the cow with vegetative endocarditis. Sarcocystosis was found in 27 of 30 hearts, but other clinically important histologic lesions were observed only in liver samples. In 11 of the 30 cows, multifocal, microscopic foci of hepatitis were observed, suggesting that terminal embolic bacterial showering of the liver had occurred in these animals. Liver samples were not submitted for bacteriologic culture. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Most recumbent cows slaughtered for edible beef are not contaminated by bacteria; however, the viscera from these animals may present a food safety danger. Efforts should be made to develop rapid tests to identify bacteremic animals at slaughter and to more fully evaluate terminal showering of viscera by bacteria in cattle at slaughter.

published proceedings

  • J Am Vet Med Assoc

author list (cited authors)

  • Edwards, J. F., Simpson, R. B., & Brown, W. C.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Edwards, JF||Simpson, RB||Brown, WC

publication date

  • November 1995