Foodborne pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 are threats to the safety of beef. Citrus peel and dried orange pulp are by-products from citrus juice production that have natural antimicrobial effects and are often incorporated into least-cost ration formulations for beef and dairy cattle. This study was designed to determine if orange peel and pulp affected E. coli O157:H7 populations in vivo. Sheep (n = 24) were fed a cracked corn grain–based diet that was supplemented with a 50-50 mixture of dried orange pellet and fresh orange peel to achieve a final concentration (dry matter basis, wt/wt) of 0, 5, or 10% pelleted orange peel (OP) for 10 days. Sheep were artificially inoculated with 1010 CFU of E. coli O157:H7 by oral dosing. Fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 was measured daily for 5 days after inoculation, after which all animals were humanely euthanized. At 96 h postinoculation, E. coli O157:H7 shedding was reduced (P < 0.05) in sheep fed 10% OP. Populations of inoculated E. coli O157:H7 were reduced by OP treatment throughout the gastrointestinal tract; however, this reduction reached significant levels in the rumen (P < 0.05) of sheep fed 10% OP diets. Cecal and rectal populations of E. coli O157:H7 were reduced (P <0.05) by inclusion of both 5 and 10% OP diets. Our results demonstrate that orange peel products can be used as a preharvest intervention strategy as part of an integrated pathogen reduction scheme.

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