Two trials were conducted to determine the efficacy of cattle wash treatments in reducing pathogens on hides of cattle before slaughter. In trial I, live cattle (n = 120) were washed in an automated, commercial cattle wash system with one of four treatments (single water wash, double water wash, water wash with 0.5% l-lactic acid, or water wash with 50 ppm chlorine). Samples were collected at three locations (brisket, belly, and inside round) pre- and posttreatment to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments on the reduction of aerobic plate counts, coliforms, Escherichia coli and the incidence of Salmonella. For all three locations, bacterial numbers increased from 0.1 to 0.8 log CFU/cm2 posttreatment. In trial II, hide samples were inoculated in the laboratory with 6.0 log CFU/cm2 of rifampicin-resistant Salmonella serotype Typhimurium. Hide wash treatments included higher concentrations of chlorine (100, 200, and 400 ppm) and l-lactic acid (2, 4, and 6%), as well as other antimicrobial agents such as ethanol (70, 80, and 90%), acetic acid (2, 4, and 6%), and Oxy-Sept 333 (0.5, 2, and 4%). Spray wash treatments with ethanol and 4 to 6% concentrations of lactic acid had greater (P < 0.05) mean log reductions than 2% solutions of acetic or lactic acid, as well as 100, 200, and 400 ppm chlorine and the control water wash treatment. Spray wash treatments with Oxy-Sept 333 and 100, 200, or 400 ppm chlorine were not effective (P > 0.05) in reducing Salmonella Typhimurium compared to the (control) distilled water spray wash treatment. Several effective cattle hide interventions were identified in a controlled laboratory setting, but the high concentrations required for effectiveness would likely present problems from an animal welfare standpoint.

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