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Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia Coli (STEC) in the Beef Chain: Assessing and Mitigating the Risk by Translational Science, Education and Outreach

Investigators
Thomson, Dan; Thippareddi, Harshavardhan; Sanderson, Michael W; Phebus, Randall K; Moxley, Rodney; Montelone, Beth; Luchansky, John; Gallagher, Dan
Institutions
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Start date
2012
End date
2014
Objective

Objective 1 - Develop and validate reagents and assays for STEC-8 (Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli serotypes O26, O45, O103, O104, O111, O121, O145 and O157); Design valid sampling protocols; Optimize and implement rapid, multi-agent detection technologies.

Objective 2 Characterize core microbiology and eco-epidemiology of STEC-7 vs. STEC O157; Identify modifiable biotic, abiotic and motility risk drivers of natural STEC-8 spikes ("outbreaks").

Objective 3 Develop and validate interventions to lessen STEC-8 risk at post harvest; Compare energy, water and economic cost/benefit and feasibility of interventions.

Objective 4 Risk analysis and risk assessment: Create beef product pathway probabilistic microbial quantitative risk assessment (QRA) models for STEC-8 from live cattle to consumption. Validate QRA and risk-based corrective actions via STEC-8 inoculated studies.

Objective 5 Risk management and risk communication: Translate research into user-friendly food safety deliverables for stakeholders; Provide and promote useful, broad risk assessment participation and understanding by non-experts; Develop, pilot-test, execute and disseminate STEC risk assessment and risk management deliverables for food safety professionals, regulators, educators and consumers. Expected outcomes

Objective 1: Develop new ?-E. coli "O" somatic O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145 and ?-E. coli H2, H8, H11, H19, H25, H28 mouse MAb-hybridoma lines; Validate in-house O and H MAb bound to IMS-beads or agglutinating latex beads and antigen-capture lateral flow kits and other assays.

Objective 2: Generate input data for summer and winter STEC-7 prevalence and levels for QRA; Identify farm and plant conditions associated with STEC-7 eco-epidemiologic risk. Determine effective pre-harvest intervention targets; Modify STEC-7 agri-food ecosystems by "Ecological engineering" or "Integrated STEC pathogen management," sets of best practices.

Objective 3: Implement multi-component interventions for STEC risk mitigation on farms and on/in beef and further processed beef products. Develop synchronized approach to implement biological, physical and/or chemical interventions for incrementally lowering occurrence and reducing STEC populations associated with the live animal as well as with ground beef patties,non-intact steaks, and/or fermented/dried RTE beef products.

Objective 4: Establish a valid, flexible farm-to-fork probabilistic STEC-7 QRA. Identity STEC- 7 data gaps and uncertainties to guide future needed research.

Objective 5: Train students for careers in food safety, animal science, veterinary public health and applied microbiology. Develop on-line training modules, Webinars and info-sheets to educate beef chain workers and managers Inform and empower beef chain stakeholders, including consumer, to apply new practices at the food safety front-lines for STEC-7 risk reduction.

More information

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY:
We will significantly advance evidence- and action-based beef food safety against zoonotic non- O157 STEC O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 (non-O157 STEC-6) and STEC O157, the seven most important US STEC serotypes (STEC-7). Using a beef product pathway model, we will inform a probabilistic quantitative microbial risk assessment, emphasizing non-O157 STEC-6 exposure assessment, risk management, and risk communication in combination and comparison with STEC O157. Risk assessment efforts will examine multiple and complex factors influencing STEC-7 risk along the beef production, slaughter, fabrication, processing, distribution, and retail and food service human consumption pathways. Conventional, novel, and rapid detection and enumeration assays for STEC-7 along the beef chain will be developed, validated, and applied to conduct a nationwide summer and winter baseline survey for STEC-7 in peri-harvest live cattle through large and small slaughter processing to retail and restaurant-sourced ground beef. Key drivers modulating beef chain STEC-7 exposure will be identified, including frequency and level of live cattle infection and carcass and product contamination. We will estimate public health, economic, and environmental impacts of existing or new intervention strategies on predicted and actual STEC exposure risk. We will validate risk exposure models and/or risk-based corrective actions in a unique large biosecure challenge facility that realistically simulates the entire beef chain. Innovative education, extension, and evaluation efforts will be intertwined early and often with research toward beef chain STEC risk mitigation and decreased beef-attributable human STEC cases. A large diverse stakeholder contingent will advise, co-direct, and co-coordinate all project efforts.

APPROACH:
Objective 1- We have validated and field-proven methods to detect live serotype O157, O111 and O26 STEC and are developing comparative methods for detection of O45, O103, O121 and O145 STEC. Method sensitivity, specificity, cost-benefit and suitability will be determined for samples from pre-harvest (i.e., cattle feces, soil, water, feed, hides, pest flies), post-harvest (i.e., carcasses, excision and sponge), primal/subprimal cuts, trim, purge ("meat juice" from large beef trim containers ("combos"), and consumer products (i.e., ground beef). Objective 2- We will assess baseline beef chain STEC-7 exposure risk by nationwide summer and winter surveys of farms, beef processing plants and retail/food service ground beef. Next we will closely examine representative STEC-7 infected farms (cattle & environment) each season over 2 years to understand STEC-7 transmission and contamination dynamics to discern drivers of STEC-7 epidemics (i.e., endemic instability, super-spreading, super-shedding). STEC-7 eco-epidemiology will be investigated within the framework of the "epidemiologic quadrant" i.e., herd or individual infection results from interacting bovine animal, farm environment, STEC agent and human actions ("anthropogenics," e.g., husbandry and biosecurity practices). Objective 3 - We will explore observational, experimental and modeling approaches for STEC-7 control in beef. Benefit is assumed if the entire beef chain is probed for STEC vulnerability. Objective 4 - We will expand the 2001 FSIS E. coli O157 risk assessment by constructing a 2nd order QRA that simultaneously simulates all STEC-7 strains from farm to fork. Each STEC-7 strain will have its own prevalence and concentration probability distributions, growth rates and intervention susceptibilities through the beef chain using new STEC-7 data (Obj 1, 2 and 3). We hypothesize that simultaneous multiple STEC-7 modeling will best detect values of single or combinatorial interventions for public health benefit. Objective 5 Outreach and education seek broad participation and understanding by beef chain stakeholders and the academic-scientific communities to promote adoption of the best STEC-7 risk reduction strategies. Within the risk analysis framework that is this proposal's foundation, these activities will serve a risk communication role to integrate results into formal and non-formal learning environments and promote stakeholder dialogue with the STEC CAP team.

PROGRESS: 2013/01 TO 2013/12
Target Audience: A number of target audiences were reached by programmatic efforts during this reporting period. The target audiences include: undergraduate and graduate student interns, secondary school teachers, industry and academic partners, stakeholders, government regulators, internal project collaborators, and the broader public. Each of the five Objectives has different aims and thus different audiences that are targeted. Student interns were leveraged a great deal and, as an audience, participated in activities and processes that contributed towards achieving the project objectives. The Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli - Student Training Education Program (STEC-STEP) internship program funded 14 students during Year 2. STEC-STEP is a participatory research-education program that integrates field and laboratory research with university-level education. Students interning worked both in the field and in laboratories of investigators. A total of 32 internships will be available collectively for the Spring and Summer 2014 terms, and 10-12 of these internships have been reserved for students at Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). If the MSI positions are not completely filled, these slots will be opened up to the general student population across the nation. Objective 5 collaborators affiliated with the education and outreach activities targeted secondary school teachers. In preparation for the field testing of the Food Production, Nutrition, and Health course at Kansas and Nebraska participating schools for the 2013-2014 school year, a teacher workshop was held. Eight high school teachers were trained on the new course curriculum and its intended implementation in school curricula. The Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation, our independent evaluator for the grant, provided direct observational evaluation of the teacher training and will be conducting follow-up post-training evaluations. Due to the focus of controlling additional Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) within the beef industry, it is critical that industry-academic research partnerships be established. Particularly, for the Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) Coordinated Agricultural Project (STEC CAP) grant to reach the goal of reducing the occurrence of and risk from STEC in the beef supply, having access to and participation by commercial producers, processors and technology providers is crucial. Hence various industry institutions were targeted by project collaborators. Novel partnerships were forged with Tyson, Adams Feed Yard, the Meat Safety and Quality Research Unit of the USDA - Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), Electrostatic Spraying Systems LLC, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. At this time, STEC CAP collaborators encounter a great willingness from industry partners to support their activities. These include access to production and feedlot operations for pre-harvest sample collection, access to commercial grinding operations, and active participation in large-scale commercial beef trim antimicrobial intervention experiments. Industry representatives from multiple companies recently provided guidance to STEC CAP researchers on semi-dry fermented sausage processing parameters along with ingredients and beef products to conduct STEC-inoculated process validations. Further, access has been granted to a significant volume of industry microbiological data that will help populate the STEC CAP quantitative microbial risk assessment. A Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) and the Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) were established and consisted of an additional audience representing all segments of the beef chain. The SAB and SAP provided formal advice to the Executive Management Team (EMT) as they prioritized projects and programs to address relevant industry and public health needs relating to STEC control. Stakeholders contributed to project assessment through surveys and focus groups. Stakeholders such as beef processors and/or technology providers directly participated in various research studies and outreach program evaluations. Additionally, online training modules regarding STEC safety from birth to consumption were developed for varying stakeholders including: beef producers, farmers, ranchers, feedlot operators, stocker operators, packing plant operators, harvest facilities, hamburger processors/grinders, veal operators, dairy cow production operators, and wholesalers and retailers of beef products, such as restaurants and grocers. Collaborators have also shared project related information with a broader public audience through a total of 36 media contacts. A broader public audience included: attendees of large industry conferences, USDA agency affiliated meetings, attendees of university related functions, technology providing companies, as well as US congressional staff. The STEC CAP initiative has been featured in several university outreach publications as well as featured in the biweekly NIFA newsletter for research, extension, and education partners at land-grant and other cooperating institutions. The STEC CAP website (www.stecbeefsafety.org) has also made significant contributions in further disseminating STEC CAP work to public audiences. Topics such as news and events, publications, as well as education and outreach opportunities have been maintained and updated on the website. A Facebook page has also been created and linked to the website. Additional links to STEC CAP collaborators Twitter feeds and blogs are featured on the homepage. Finally, internal project collaborators were a target audience regarding communication to facilitate the advancement of project efforts. Project collaborators requested a formal communication method that would eliminate frequent e-mail updates. The STEC CAP monthly newsletter was established and through 7 issues, to date, has successfully communicated to internal collaborators the latest project information and progress. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Several graduate students are conducting STEC CAP research as part of their MS and PhD programs.Interns participating in the STEC-STEP program worked under the supervision of STEC CAP collaborators from each of the five objectives. All interns received training as part of their internship experience in order to participate in projects related to each of the objectives� efforts. Through the partnership of the Frontier program and the STEC-STEP program, two interns, one at Ursinus College, and one at Kansas State University participated in a southern California Frontier Field Trip and gained valuable knowledge of the food supply chain. Interns presented posters of their work at the STEC CAP Annual Conference. Several undergraduate and other students (e.g., veterinary) that were not interns also conducted research in laboratories of STEC CAP collaborators, some with development of poster presentations. A total of 27 secondary teachers from Kansas and Nebraska were trained to implement a Food Production, Nutrition and Health course, and were taught about food safety, beef safety, STEC, the STEC grant goals. Dr. Scott Goltry (American Meat Institute, AMI), gave a presentation at KSU to faculty, students, and others on the AMI�s food safety priorities, the industry�s need for risk assessment, and FSIS statistical data, and the potential to collaborate on the STEC CAP. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? STEC CAP collaborators gave 38 scholarly presentations, and shared information with public audiences through a total of 36 media contacts. The STEC CAP has been featured in several university outreach publications, and in the biweekly USDA NIFA newsletter for research, extension, and education partners at land-grant and other cooperating institutions. The STEC CAP website (www.stecbeefsafety.org) made significant contributions in disseminating STEC CAP work to public audiences. The barfblog (http://barfblog.com/) showcased the impact of E. coli outbreaks on the population and the beef industry and the importance and timeliness of the work conducted for the STEC CAP project to the general public. Blog posts related to E. coli were released on barfblog.com. A Facebook page was created for the STEC CAP project that gave project updates and presented an opportunity for collaborators to communicate. The Nebraska Department of Education, Kansas Department of Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), and Kansas State University partnered to disseminate educational materials to secondary science, family and consumer science and agriculture teachers. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

PROGRESS: 2012/01/01 TO 2012/12/31
OUTPUTS: The inaugural meeting of the STEC CAP was held in Lincoln, NE from Jan. 24-25, 2012 with collaborators, advisory group members, university administrators, and partners in attendance. Another meeting was held at the International Association for Food Protection meeting on July 25, 2012, with 13 collaborators and two graduate students in attendance. Research technicians and students were hired, research equipment was purchased, protocols were developed, and experiments were initiated. With an industry advisory group, experiments were begun to monitor STEC-8 in beef jerky. Progress was made on a multiplex oligonucleotide ligation PCR; a waveguide-based optical biosensor platform for improved detection of STEC; assays for E. coli pathogen biomarkers and their evaluation in meat homogenates; and culture methods for STEC detection. STEC strains were exchanged between institutions for diagnostic test development and validation. Progress was made on development of predictive models for interventions for STEC-8 risk reduction; a conceptual model and baseline data for the risk assessment model; and a literature review to generate data to populate the model. Data collectors were trained, and three food safety information sheets for the public are near completion. Thirty scholarly presentations were made, including many invited talks. Presentations were given to food safety researchers and academics; food safety professionals, leaders and decision-makers; university faculty, staff, and students; K-12 teachers and students; and community stakeholders. CAP information was shared with public audiences in 14 media contacts, such as radio interviews and features in university magazines. The bites.ksu.edu website and barfblog.com blog were maintained to provide current information to the public on food safety. Since Oct. 2012, barfblog.com has featured 60 posts related to E. coli and STEC. A web portal, www.stecbeefsafety.org, was launched in Dec., and will enable further dissemination of CAP work to broad audiences and internal project communication. It will include educational modules with information and findings from the CAP for university instructors to access and integrate into undergraduate and graduate courses. An exhibit at Husker Harvest Days at Grand Island, NE presented information and hands-on activities related to beef food safety to approximately 370 individuals on Sept. 11-12. In June, a weeklong professional development workshop, Teaching Food Safety through Food Science, was held for 17 K-12 teachers of science, family and consumer education, and agriculture at Kansas State to increase subject knowledge of food science and food safety and to promote integration of such concepts into classroom teaching. At the U. of Nebraska-Lincoln, the 2012 Food and Nutrition Science Summer Institute was held for 13 K-12 teachers in July 2012. Teachers learned about an inquiry-based learning model and gained hands-on experience in food science and safety. A curriculum based on this information will be pilot tested by teachers in the classroom in the near future. Efforts are underway to develop a STEC-related course for K-12 teachers for university credit. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty collaborators at 12 institutions currently participate in the STEC CAP. These collaborators are researchers from universities (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, North Carolina State University, New Mexico State University, University of California-Davis, University of Delaware, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University, and University of New Mexico) and research centers (USDA Agricultural Research Service -Eastern Regional Research Center, and New Mexico Consortium -Los Alamos National Laboratory). Thirty members of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel represent industry associations and companies from across beef food chain, major packers, retail and food service leaders, consumer advocates, and academics. New partnerships were formed in 2012 for the STEC CAP. Industry partners from Armour-Eckrich and the John Morrell Food Group facilitated the beef jerky experiments described above with materials and equipment and elaboration of the research protocol. A partnership with Electrostatic Spraying Systems, Inc. will provide engineering and operational guidance for the use of the electrostatic application systems and additional needed equipment to support research in Objective 3. This partner will also interact with companies looking to utilize the technology commercially and facilitate transfer of STEC CAP research to industrial use. A materials transfer agreement with partner Dr. James Dickson, Iowa State University, allows for the exchange of non-O157:H7 STEC strains for research. Relationships have also been established with Pfizer Inc., the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, North American Meat Association and the Kansas Beef Council to facilitate and augment the work of the STEC CAP. A small grant recently awarded by the Kansas Beef Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association will enable Drs. David Renter and T.G. Nagaraja to evaluate additional pre-harvest interventions and prevalence rates with significance to the STEC CAP. A partnership with Dr. Suri Iyer, University of Cincinnati, will provide the carbohydrate ligand for Shiga toxin to collaborators at the New Mexico Consortium-Los Alamos National Laboratory. A recent partnership with Dr. Steven Graves of the University of New Mexico has been established to analyze monoclonal antibodies and to develop a multiplex assay for detection of STEC. Initial conversations with Dr. Arne Flaoyen of the National Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway, will likely lead to a future workshop for scientists and food safety professionals to network, prioritize research projects, and exchange scientists, strains, and protocols related to STEC. Meetings have also been held with a medium-size beef processing company to discuss forming a partnership for testing microbial interventions. Objective 3 collaborators will be working with the National Agri-Marketing Association to work with industry partners in the examination of veal safety, a topic of growing importance as rates of STEC are reported to be higher in veal meat. TARGET AUDIENCES: Presentations by STEC CAP collaborators have reached various audiences with information about STEC and STEC CAP work, including food safety researchers and academics; food safety professionals, leaders and decision-makers; university faculty, staff, and students; K-12 teachers and students; and community stakeholders. Articles about the STEC CAP in university magazines have reached alumni and supporter audiences and features in institutional and industry newsletters by STEC CAP partners have reached industry, policy, and advocacy stakeholders. The STEC CAP website, the bites.ksu.edu website, the barfblog.com blog, and the Husker Harvest Days exhibit reached out to a wider, public audience. The Teaching Food Safety through Food Science workshop described above presented an in-depth professional development program to 17 K-12 teachers of science, family and consumer education, and agriculture in June 2012. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln workshop, 2012 Food and Nutrition Science Summer Institute, engaged an additional 13 K-12 teachers in July 2012. In the fall of 2012, the STEC Student Training and Education Program (STEC-STEP) was launched. This program is designed to provide undergraduate, graduate and veterinary medicine students an intensive professional experience related to research, education and/or outreach efforts being conducted by the 12 STEC CAP institutions. A special component of the STEC-STEP will involve students from Minority Serving Institutions in these opportunities. Eight STEC-STEP proposals have been approved for nine paid internships at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, the New Mexico Consortium - Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Interns will be involved in projects that, for example, validate antimicrobial procedures; survey peri-harvest live cattle, beef processing plants, and retail/food service ground beef; develop assays for biomarkers for the detection of STEC; and install and validate an electrostatic spray system for beef carcass inoculations and decontamination. Beginning in January 2013, student interns will work a minimum of 200 hours during the semester or summer of the internship, engage in various assigned research activities, and prepare a technical report and poster to be presented at the annual meeting. STEC-STEP externships will begin in early 2013. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Release of funds from the USDA did not occur until May 3, 2012. Delays in the release of funds by STEC CAP institutions and the need for approval of collaborators' Statements of Work pushed back access to funding for collaborators until the summer or fall of 2012. Waiting on funds to hire graduate students, equipment and materials, and other necessities, many collaborators postponed research activities and other planned STEC CAP work. The lack of progress by STEC CAP collaborators has then pushed back select education and outreach activities, including the development of modules for university audiences to be accessed through the web portal, www.stecbeefsafety.org, and for industry employee audiences through the Beef Cattle Institute (led by Dr. Dan Thomson). Other collaborators, however, have been able to move forward with their planned activities by temporarily utilizing other available funds. Key leadership positions of the STEC CAP have undergone restructuring in 2012. Dr. James Keen, the original Project Director, resigned from the STEC CAP on June 9, 2012. At the request of UNL Administration, Dr. Rodney Moxley accepted the position as the new Project Director for the STEC CAP, and this was approved by the USDA-NIFA on September 5, 2012. One of the Co-PDs, Dr. Dan Gallagher, was asked and accepted the responsibility to join the Executive Management Team on July 23, 2012 to fill the vacancy in the five-person team due to Dr. Keen's departure. Dr. David Renter was asked and on July 24, 2012 accepted the responsibility to be the leader for Objective 2, which was also necessitated by Dr. Keen's departure. Dr. Beth Montelone, a Co-PD and co-leader for the Objective 5 education and outreach activities, resigned from the STEC CAP on October 23, 2012, to focus on her other responsibilities as Associate Dean and Professor in the College of Arts & Science at Kansas State University. Drs. Curtis Kastner and Dan Thomson assumed the leadership role and responsibilities vacated by Dr. Montelone. Due to the closure of the monoclonal laboratory core facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center at Omaha (where the work was originally planned), the analysis of monoclonal antibodies will be conducted through an amended subaward to the New Mexico Consortium (Los Alamos National Laboratory) under the guidance of Dr. Mukundan. At the request of USDA-NIFA, collaborators in Objective 3 have formed a Veal Safety Group to develop best practices for reducing the risk of STEC-8 in veal, including the validation of antimicrobial interventions for veal.

PROGRESS: 2012/01/01 TO 2012/12/31
OUTPUTS: The inaugural meeting of the STEC CAP was held in Lincoln, NE from Jan. 24-25, 2012 with collaborators, advisory group members, university administrators, and partners in attendance. Another meeting was held at the International Association for Food Protection meeting on July 25, 2012, with 13 collaborators and two graduate students in attendance. Research technicians and students were hired, research equipment was purchased, protocols were developed, and experiments were initiated. With an industry advisory group, experiments were begun to monitor STEC-8 in beef jerky. Progress was made on a multiplex oligonucleotide ligation PCR; a waveguide-based optical biosensor platform for improved detection of STEC; assays for E. coli pathogen biomarkers and their evaluation in meat homogenates; and culture methods for STEC detection. STEC strains were exchanged between institutions for diagnostic test development and validation. Progress was made on development of predictive models for interventions for STEC-8 risk reduction; a conceptual model and baseline data for the risk assessment model; and a literature review to generate data to populate the model. Data collectors were trained, and three food safety information sheets for the public are near completion. Thirty scholarly presentations were made, including many invited talks. Presentations were given to food safety researchers and academics; food safety professionals, leaders and decision-makers; university faculty, staff, and students; K-12 teachers and students; and community stakeholders. CAP information was shared with public audiences in 14 media contacts, such as radio interviews and features in university magazines. The bites.ksu.edu website and barfblog.com blog were maintained to provide current information to the public on food safety. Since Oct. 2012, barfblog.com has featured 60 posts related to E. coli and STEC. A web portal, www.stecbeefsafety.org, was launched in Dec., and will enable further dissemination of CAP work to broad audiences and internal project communication. It will include educational modules with information and findings from the CAP for university instructors to access and integrate into undergraduate and graduate courses. An exhibit at Husker Harvest Days at Grand Island, NE presented information and hands-on activities related to beef food safety to approximately 370 individuals on Sept. 11-12. In June, a weeklong professional development workshop, Teaching Food Safety through Food Science, was held for 17 K-12 teachers of science, family and consumer education, and agriculture at Kansas State to increase subject knowledge of food science and food safety and to promote integration of such concepts into classroom teaching. At the U. of Nebraska-Lincoln, the 2012 Food and Nutrition Science Summer Institute was held for 13 K-12 teachers in July 2012. Teachers learned about an inquiry-based learning model and gained hands-on experience in food science and safety. A curriculum based on this information will be pilot tested by teachers in the classroom in the near future. Efforts are underway to develop a STEC-related course for K-12 teachers for university credit. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty collaborators at 12 institutions currently participate in the STEC CAP. These collaborators are researchers from universities (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, North Carolina State University, New Mexico State University, University of California-Davis, University of Delaware, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University, and University of New Mexico) and research centers (USDA Agricultural Research Service -Eastern Regional Research Center, and New Mexico Consortium -Los Alamos National Laboratory). Thirty members of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel represent industry associations and companies from across beef food chain, major packers, retail and food service leaders, consumer advocates, and academics. New partnerships were formed in 2012 for the STEC CAP. Industry partners from Armour-Eckrich and the John Morrell Food Group facilitated the beef jerky experiments described above with materials and equipment and elaboration of the research protocol. A partnership with Electrostatic Spraying Systems, Inc. will provide engineering and operational guidance for the use of the electrostatic application systems and additional needed equipment to support research in Objective 3. This partner will also interact with companies looking to utilize the technology commercially and facilitate transfer of STEC CAP research to industrial use. A materials transfer agreement with partner Dr. James Dickson, Iowa State University, allows for the exchange of non-O157:H7 STEC strains for research. Relationships have also been established with Pfizer Inc., the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, North American Meat Association and the Kansas Beef Council to facilitate and augment the work of the STEC CAP. A small grant recently awarded by the Kansas Beef Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association will enable Drs. David Renter and T.G. Nagaraja to evaluate additional pre-harvest interventions and prevalence rates with significance to the STEC CAP. A partnership with Dr. Suri Iyer, University of Cincinnati, will provide the carbohydrate ligand for Shiga toxin to collaborators at the New Mexico Consortium-Los Alamos National Laboratory. A recent partnership with Dr. Steven Graves of the University of New Mexico has been established to analyze monoclonal antibodies and to develop a multiplex assay for detection of STEC. Initial conversations with Dr. Arne Flaoyen of the National Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway, will likely lead to a future workshop for scientists and food safety professionals to network, prioritize research projects, and exchange scientists, strains, and protocols related to STEC. Meetings have also been held with a medium-size beef processing company to discuss forming a partnership for testing microbial interventions. Objective 3 collaborators will be working with the National Agri-Marketing Association to work with industry partners in the examination of veal safety, a topic of growing importance as rates of STEC are reported to be higher in veal meat. TARGET AUDIENCES: Presentations by STEC CAP collaborators have reached various audiences with information about STEC and STEC CAP work, including food safety researchers and academics; food safety professionals, leaders and decision-makers; university faculty, staff, and students; K-12 teachers and students; and community stakeholders. Articles about the STEC CAP in university magazines have reached alumni and supporter audiences and features in institutional and industry newsletters by STEC CAP partners have reached industry, policy, and advocacy stakeholders. The STEC CAP website, the bites.ksu.edu website, the barfblog.com blog, and the Husker Harvest Days exhibit reached out to a wider, public audience. The Teaching Food Safety through Food Science workshop described above presented an in-depth professional development program to 17 K-12 teachers of science, family and consumer education, and agriculture in June 2012. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln workshop, 2012 Food and Nutrition Science Summer Institute, engaged an additional 13 K-12 teachers in July 2012. In the fall of 2012, the STEC Student Training and Education Program (STEC-STEP) was launched. This program is designed to provide undergraduate, graduate and veterinary medicine students an intensive professional experience related to research, education and/or outreach efforts being conducted by the 12 STEC CAP institutions. A special component of the STEC-STEP will involve students from Minority Serving Institutions in these opportunities. Eight STEC-STEP proposals have been approved for nine paid internships at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, the New Mexico Consortium - Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Interns will Interns will be involved in projects that, for example, validate antimicrobial procedures; survey peri-harvest live cattle, beef processing plants, and retail/food service ground beef; develop assays for biomarkers for the detection of STEC; and install and validate an electrostatic spray system for beef carcass inoculations and decontamination. Beginning in January 2013, student interns will work a minimum of 200 hours during the semester or summer of the internship, engage in various assigned research activities, and prepare a technical report and poster to be presented at the annual meeting. STEC-STEP externships will begin in early 2013. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Release of funds from the USDA did not occur until May 3, 2012. Delays in the release of funds by STEC CAP institutions and the need for approval of collaborators' Statements of Work pushed back access to funding for collaborators until the summer or fall of 2012. Waiting on funds to hire graduate students, equipment and materials, and other necessities, many collaborators postponed research activities and other planned STEC CAP work. The lack of progress by STEC CAP collaborators has then pushed back select education and outreach activities, including the development of modules for university audiences to be accessed through the web portal, www.stecbeefsafety.org, and for industry employee audiences through the Beef Cattle Institute (led by Dr. Dan Thomson). Other collaborators, however, have been able to move forward with their planned activities by temporarily utilizing other available funds. Key leadership positions of the STEC CAP have undergone restructuring in 2012. Dr. James Keen, the original Project Director, resigned from the STEC CAP on June 9, 2012. At the request of UNL Administration, Dr. Rodney Moxley accepted the position as the new Project Director for the STEC CAP, and this was approved by the USDA-NIFA on September 5, 2012. One of the Co-PDs, Dr. Dan Gallagher, was asked and accepted the responsibility to join the Executive Management Team on July 23, 2012 to fill the vacancy in the five-person team due to Dr. Keen's departure. Dr. David Renter was asked and on July 24, 2012 accepted the responsibility to be the leader for Objective 2, which was also necessitated by Dr. Keen's departure. Dr. Beth Montelone, a Co-PD and co-leader for the Objective 5 education and outreach activities, resigned from the STEC CAP on October 23, 2012, to focus on her other responsibilities as Associate Dean and Professor in the College of Arts & Science at Kansas State University. Drs. Curtis Kastner and Dan Thomson assumed the leadership role and responsibilities vacated by Dr. Montelone. Due to the closure of the monoclonal laboratory core facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center at Omaha (where the work was originally planned), the analysis of monoclonal antibodies will be conducted through an amended subaward to the New Mexico Consortium (Los Alamos National Laboratory) under the guidance of Dr. Mukundan. At the request of USDA-NIFA, collaborators in Objective 3 have formed a Veal Safety Group to develop best practices for reducing the risk of STEC-8 in veal, including the validation of antimicrobial interventions for veal.

PROGRESS: 2012/01/01 TO 2012/12/31
OUTPUTS: The inaugural meeting of the STEC CAP was held in Lincoln, NE from Jan. 24-25, 2012 with collaborators, advisory group members, university administrators, and partners in attendance. Another meeting was held at the International Association for Food Protection meeting on July 25, 2012, with 13 collaborators and two graduate students in attendance. Research technicians and students were hired, research equipment was purchased, protocols were developed, and experiments were initiated. With an industry advisory group, experiments were begun to monitor STEC-8 in beef jerky. Progress was made on a multiplex oligonucleotide ligation PCR; a waveguide-based optical biosensor platform for improved detection of STEC; assays for E. coli pathogen biomarkers and their evaluation in meat homogenates; and culture methods for STEC detection. STEC strains were exchanged between institutions for diagnostic test development and validation. Progress was made on development of predictive models for interventions for STEC-8 risk reduction; a conceptual model and baseline data for the risk assessment model; and a literature review to generate data to populate the model. Data collectors were trained, and three food safety information sheets for the public are near completion. Thirty scholarly presentations were made, including many invited talks. Presentations were given to food safety researchers and academics; food safety professionals, leaders and decision-makers; university faculty, staff, and students; K-12 teachers and students; and community stakeholders. CAP information was shared with public audiences in 14 media contacts, such as radio interviews and features in university magazines. The bites.ksu.edu website and barfblog.com blog were maintained to provide current information to the public on food safety. Since Oct. 2012, barfblog.com has featured 60 posts related to E. coli and STEC. A web portal, www.stecbeefsafety.org, was launched in Dec., and will enable further dissemination of CAP work to broad audiences and internal project communication. It will include educational modules with information and findings from the CAP for university instructors to access and integrate into undergraduate and graduate courses. An exhibit at Husker Harvest Days at Grand Island, NE presented information and hands-on activities related to beef food safety to approximately 370 individuals on Sept. 11-12. In June, a weeklong professional development workshop, Teaching Food Safety through Food Science, was held for 17 K-12 teachers of science, family and consumer education, and agriculture at Kansas State to increase subject knowledge of food science and food safety and to promote integration of such concepts into classroom teaching. At the U. of Nebraska-Lincoln, the 2012 Food and Nutrition Science Summer Institute was held for 13 K-12 teachers in July 2012. Teachers learned about an inquiry-based learning model and gained hands-on experience in food science and safety. A curriculum based on this information will be pilot tested by teachers in the classroom in the near future. Efforts are underway to develop a STEC-related course for K-12 teachers for university credit. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty collaborators at 12 institutions currently participate in the STEC CAP. These collaborators are researchers from universities (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, North Carolina State University, New Mexico State University, University of California-Davis, University of Delaware, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University, and University of New Mexico) and research centers (USDA Agricultural Research Service -Eastern Regional Research Center, and New Mexico Consortium -Los Alamos National Laboratory). Thirty members of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel represent industry associations and companies from across beef food chain, major packers, retail and food service leaders, consumer advocates, and academics. New partnerships were formed in 2012 for the STEC CAP. Industry partners from Armour-Eckrich and the John Morrell Food Group facilitated the beef jerky experiments described above with materials and equipment and elaboration of the research protocol. A partnership with Electrostatic Spraying Systems, Inc. will provide engineering and operational guidance for the use of the electrostatic application systems and additional needed equipment to support research in Objective 3. This partner will also interact with companies looking to utilize the technology commercially and facilitate transfer of STEC CAP research to industrial use. A materials transfer agreement with partner Dr. James Dickson, Iowa State University, allows for the exchange of non-O157:H7 STEC strains for research. Relationships have also been established with Pfizer Inc., the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, North American Meat Association and the Kansas Beef Council to facilitate and augment the work of the STEC CAP. A small grant recently awarded by the Kansas Beef Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association will enable Drs. David Renter and T.G. Nagaraja to evaluate additional pre-harvest interventions and prevalence rates with significance to the STEC CAP. A partnership with Dr. Suri Iyer, University of Cincinnati, will provide the carbohydrate ligand for Shiga toxin to collaborators at the New Mexico Consortium-Los Alamos National Laboratory. A recent partnership with Dr. Steven Graves of the University of New Mexico has been established to analyze monoclonal antibodies and to develop a multiplex assay for detection of STEC. Initial conversations with Dr. Arne Flaoyen of the National Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway, will likely lead to a future workshop for scientists and food safety professionals to network, prioritize research projects, and exchange scientists, strains, and protocols related to STEC. Meetings have also been held with a medium-size beef processing company to discuss forming a partnership for testing microbial interventions. Objective 3 collaborators will be working with the National Agri-Marketing Association to work with industry partners in the examination of veal safety, a topic of growing importance as rates of STEC are reported to be higher in veal meat. TARGET AUDIENCES: Presentations by STEC CAP collaborators have reached various audiences with information about STEC and STEC CAP work, including food safety researchers and academics; food safety professionals, leaders and decision-makers; university faculty, staff, and students; K-12 teachers and students; and community stakeholders. Articles about the STEC CAP in university magazines have reached alumni and supporter audiences and features in institutional and industry newsletters by STEC CAP partners have reached industry, policy, and advocacy stakeholders. The STEC CAP website, the bites.ksu.edu website, the barfblog.com blog, and the Husker Harvest Days exhibit reached out to a wider, public audience. The Teaching Food Safety through Food Science workshop described above presented an in-depth professional development program to 17 K-12 teachers of science, family and consumer education, and agriculture in June 2012. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln workshop, 2012 Food and Nutrition Science Summer Institute, engaged an additional 13 K-12 teachers in July 2012. In the fall of 2012, the STEC Student Training and Education Program (STEC-STEP) was launched. This program is designed to provide undergraduate, graduate and veterinary medicine students an intensive professional experience related to research, education and/or outreach efforts being conducted by the 12 STEC CAP institutions. A special component of the STEC-STEP will involve students from Minority Serving Institutions in these opportunities. Eight STEC-STEP proposals have been approved for nine paid internships at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, the New Mexico Consortium - Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Interns will be involved in projects that, for example, validate antimicrobial procedures; survey peri-harvest live cattle, beef processing plants, and retail/food service ground beef; develop assays for biomarkers for the detection of STEC; and install and validate an electrostatic spray system for beef carcass inoculations and decontamination. Beginning in January 2013, student interns will work a minimum of 200 hours during the semester or summer of the internship, engage in various assigned research activities, and prepare a technical report and poster to be presented at the annual meeting. STEC-STEP externships will begin in early 2013. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Release of funds from the USDA did not occur until May 3, 2012. Delays in the release of funds by STEC CAP institutions and the need for approval of collaborators' Statements of Work pushed back access to funding for collaborators until the summer or fall of 2012. Waiting on funds to hire graduate students, equipment and materials, and other necessities, many collaborators postponed research activities and other planned STEC CAP work. The lack of progress by STEC CAP collaborators has then pushed back select education and outreach activities, including the development of modules for university audiences to be accessed through the web portal, www.stecbeefsafety.org, and for industry employee audiences through the Beef Cattle Institute (led by Dr. Dan Thomson). Other collaborators, however, have been able to move forward with their planned activities by temporarily utilizing other available funds. Key leadership positions of the STEC CAP have undergone restructuring in 2012. Dr. James Keen, the original Project Director, resigned from the STEC CAP on June 9, 2012. At the request of UNL Administration, Dr. Rodney Moxley accepted the position as the new Project Director for the STEC CAP, and this was approved by the USDA-NIFA on September 5, 2012. One of the Co-PDs, Dr. Dan Gallagher, was asked and accepted the responsibility to join the Executive Management Team on July 23, 2012 to fill the vacancy in the five-person team due to Dr. Keen's departure. Dr. David Renter was asked and on July 24, 2012 accepted the responsibility to be the leader for Objective 2, which was also necessitated by Dr. Keen's departure. Dr. Beth Montelone, a Co-PD and co-leader for the Objective 5 education and outreach activities, resigned from the STEC CAP on October 23, 2012, to focus on her other responsibilities as Associate Dean and Professor in the College of Arts & Science at Kansas State University. Drs. Curtis Kastner and Dan Thomson assumed the leadership role and responsibilities vacated by Dr. Montelone. Due to the closure of the monoclonal laboratory core facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center at Omaha (where the work was originally planned), the analysis of monoclonal antibodies will be conducted through an amended subaward to the New Mexico Consortium (Los Alamos National Laboratory) under the guidance of Dr. Mukundan. At the request of USDA-NIFA, collaborators in Objective 3 have formed a Veal Safety Group to develop best practices for reducing the risk of STEC-8 in veal, including the validation of antimicrobial interventions for veal.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
ARS (NP108)
Project source
View this project
Project number
NEB-39-161
Accession number
226821
Categories
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Escherichia coli
Commodities
Meat, Poultry, Game