It was the death of the cows, of course, and led, unerringly, to the pasteurization hysteria instead of to proper food, healthier herds, and a Certification system for dairiesThat’s right — dangerous E. coli has been found in meat from cattle that were fed distiller’s grain.

The four main pathogens that cause dangerous food illness that are of concern today are:

  1. listeria
  2. salmonella
  3. staphaureus, and
  4. E. coli 0157:H7 (E. coli to you and me).

Researchers at Kansas State University have discovered that cattle fed on distiller’s grain — a byproduct of the ethanol distillation process — have a greater prevalence of E. coli 0157 in their meat. Their research found, through three rounds of testing, that cattle fed on distiller’s grain were twice as likely to have E. coli 0157 in their systems.

Distiller’s grains come from the distillation process:

Distillers Grains are a cereal byproduct of the distillation process.

There are two main sources of these grains. The traditional sources were from brewers. More recently, ethanol plants are a growing source. It is created in distilleries by drying mash, and is subsequently sold for a variety of purposes, usually as fodder for livestock (especially ruminants). ~

That’s right — rather than allowing cattle to graze freely on, say, grass in pastures, it is thought that distiller’s grain is a good (and somehow proper) feed for cows, such that ethanol (alcohol) plants are often set up next to cattle pens. Not only do he ethanol producers not have to cart away their production waste, but they reap an added source of income in selling their waste to the cattle owners next door. Additionally, due to increased ethanol production, and the possibility of its potential as an alternate source of energy, this production is likely to increase in the future — likely resulting in more cattle being fed distiller’s grains as time passes.

But wait; there’s more:

In beer or whiskey production grains such as corn are ground to a coarse consistency and added to hot water. After cooling, yeast is added and the mixture ferments for several days to a week. The solids remaining after fermentation are the distillers grains. ~

So, not only are these poor, penned-in cattle being fed grains, but those grains have been heated, with added water and yeast, and then fermented. This is a far cry from grass.

Flashback: 100 years ago — distiller’s mash fed to cows

This is actually the second "arranged marriage" for the cattle industry — the first was over a century ago when the distilleries just outside America’s growing cities sold their spent mash to feed the nearby herds of dairy cows to meet the growing demand for milk. The cattle became so weakened from their wretched living that the natural antibiotic qualities of healthy ruminant (grazing animal) milk was compromised enough to allow human transmitted pathogens (tuberculosis, cholera) to spread all over town. It was the death of the cows, of course, and led, unerringly, to the pasteurization hysteria instead of to proper food, healthier herds, and a Certification system for dairies.

That the rate of milk-born illness in children declined with the advent of pasteurization is a happy fact, but the effect of pasteurization on two generations of Americans doesn’t indicate it was the best course to take to accomplish it. The hot new bride, Ms. Ethanol, comes with a huge dowry donated by rich uncles and is a "green energy" groupie following the money.

Even though we figured out, over a century ago, how deteriorating the distiller’s diet was to our food chain and the fact that controlled university research tests reflect this hasn’t changed, Kansas State, one of the most respected institutions on the subject of food safety, is trying very hard to sidestep recommending that cattle owners stop feeding distiller’s grain to their cows.

What about that E. coli?

E. coli 0157 has effects that are far from pleasant, as everyone hopes they will never have to experience to believe. With a complete course of antibiotics, most healthy adults will be okay. But Dr. Wm.Campbell Douglass, MD says that this kind of malady often causes acute kidney failure in children and the elderly, and is alarmed that more state and federal attention has not been given to this deadly serious and growing threat from increasingly contaminated meat. This canny doctor of the "old school" was the National Health Federation‘s Doctor of the Year.

Cooking this meat to a crisp might be a recourse — except that the public has no way of knowing which package of steak, roast or hamburger from the supermarket was fed distillery leavings while on-the-hoof. There has to be a better way to further our quest for a clean-burning gasoline substitute than to endanger our food supply, not to even mention the fuel used in huge processing plants and transport vehicles.

C’mon KSU, stand for the validity of your own research as the Ag school that you are. We need to depend on the integrity of your science reporting and that of other state universities. Join the sustainable movement so the other 97% of us can eat without fear of suffering and death.

If you can help it, please don’t let the ethanol producers get any more subsidies for their "green energy supply" until the CATTLE STOP EATING TOXIC WASTE. While you, the distilleries and the FDA do a little more research "just to be sure", untold misery could ripple out to unsuspecting consumers and people could die!

Contributing Author Lynn Cameron owns the website and has conducted her own research into the complementary health field since the early seventies.

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5 Comments for "Dangerous E. coli in meat from cattle fed Distiller’s Grain"

  1. Diane Vigil

    Yow. This is good data, Lynn. Who knew that not only was "supermarket meat" not organic, but that the cattle are also fed something that could contain E. coli. Not appealing.

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. Lynn Cameron

    The Journal of Dairy Science back in 2003 addressing the proliferation of acid-resistant E. Coli 0157:H7 in the manure of feedlot cattle leaching pathogens into irrigation water to end up in the actual cell structure of salad crops that can NEVER be washed off, stated:

    "when confinement cattle are switched from a diet of grain to one of hay for only five days, 0157:H7 declines a THOUSAND-FOLD".

    Pretty incredible animal, the cow. They can fix themselves in less than a week on the right food. Even humans can see an astonishing difference in just one week of eating nutrient-dense organic meals; somebody must have measured the percentages in some study somewhere.

  3. Anna

    Hi, I would absolutely believe that a dietary switch from an unnatural ration (like grain) to hay or pasture (natural for a cow) would make a huge difference in bacteria counts for acid tolerant pathogens like E. Coli 0157:H7, in as little as a week.

    When I switched my cats from a premium canned cat food (cooked) to a balanced homemade raw meat and bones diet, the older cat, who had been in declining health for many years and whose lab blood tests indicated Chronic Renal Failure, within a week, began to run around like a much younger cat, had much nicer fur, and improved overall in every way. Within two months his blood tests showed no sign of Chronic Renal Failure, and two years later his tests are still negative. If he goes back on canned food for even two days, he starts hobbling down the stairs. A day back on the raw food has him moving much easier. i think his system is damaged from years of eating dry cat kibble (meat flavored cereal), which even a good canned food could not fix. He should have been on a species appropriate diet all along, but I just didn’t connect the vet recommended foods with his ailments.

    Just like my cats, cows need to eat as nature intended. Obligate carnivores need not only raw meat, but raw bone and moisture in a proper balance in their food, to mimic as close to their natural prey as possible, not cereal manufactured with surplus grain and animal waste products. Cows, being herbivores, need grass, and have little need for grain, which they would never eat in large quanities in nature. Nor will they remain healthy if fed a lot of waste products from the food manufacturing system or factory farming agricultural system.

  4. Diane Vigil

    Howdy, Anna. Thanks for sharing your experiences with your cat — good for you for sorting it out and so being able to help your feline friend. We’ve had similar experiences. It’s a shame that what vets recommend may not be so good for our animal friends.

    I looked up “obligate” for our readers:

    Obligate: Biology. Able to exist or survive only in a particular environment or by assuming a particular role.

    How are you getting the raw bone into his food in such a way that he can eat it?

  5. Lynn Cameron

    Hi Anna,

    So true about the cats. We know that one of the reasons they have bladder problems is their reluctance to drink water. Felines are meant to get most of their moisture from their prey’s innards — at least folks should make sure to make nearly a soup out of whatever they ARE fed. Another reason older cats get so sick, my vet told me, is that their teeth become deteriorated from bad diet (genetics?) & harbor the same nasty anaerobic (don’t need oxygen) bacteria that plague humans.

    It has been a trial to actually get my older female to eat raw foods. She’s better now that I’ve just received frozen some raw, organic pastured poultry cat food patties from Tropical Traditions to which I add cod liver oil and a tsp. of fermented milk.

    Might you suggest, Anna, what I could try for her chronic sinus infection? Of course, I diffuse essential oils, but that just keeps her breathing. I’m told that it’s really difficult, if not impossible, to ‘get’ to the source of the problem because the sinus cavity is so small and often misshapen especially in pure bred cats.
    I have tried 2 course of antibiotics which, as advertised, take care of it beautifully — for awhile!

    I’m reminded of the Pottenger study on cat health & longevity that inspired Weston Price early last century to investigate human dentition. I probably have a 6th or 7th generation of poorly nourished inbred feline exhibiting traits he discovered in research to occur as result of poor nutrition.

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