Foodborne Pathogens

Responsibility from farm to food

Food safety expertise at Diamond V

When you’re part of the food supply chain, responsibility never takes a day off. Food companies and the farmers who supply them look to Diamond V as the world leader in natural nutritional health technologies to solve food safety issues, improve animal welfare, protect the environment, and advance public health.

Responsibility for safe, healthy, and sustainable food begins on the farm and continues throughout the food supply chain all the way to the consumer. When it comes to safe food, everyone depends on food suppliers to be responsible and to do everything in their power at each link in the chain to ensure food safety. Responsible companies need research-proven, field-confirmed, farm-ready technologies to optimize food safety during “pre-harvest” growth and production of animals on the farm.

Foodborne illness is a common and costly — yet preventable — public health issue. Pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Escherichia coli are frequently associated with consumption of animal protein products, and are often cited among the top five pathogens causing foodborne illness. Reducing pathogens in the gastro-intestinal tracts of animals can help reduce the risk of pathogens in food processing.

On the farm, conventional approaches like increased biosecurity, better hygiene, management and husbandry modifications, and feed microbial security play critical roles. Going forward, however, it’s going to take new tools — innovative nutritional health solutions — to reduce the risk of pathogens in food processing and assure greater food safety.

Pre-Harvest Food Safety Technologies   ▾

Effective pre-harvest food safety intervention against foodborne pathogens in livestock and poultry requires proven reduction in prevalence, number, virulence, and antibiotic resistance of those pathogens.

By following these criteria, food companies and their suppliers can:

  • Reduce pathogen load upon entry to processing facility.
  • Improve compliance with regulations, directives, etc. issued by authorities including FDA, FSIS, etc.
  • Help mitigate risk of product recall, which helps maintain brand integrity and consumer confidence
  • Help “antibiotic stewardship” on the farm, which supports the public health goal of preserving efficacy of antibiotics

Read on to learn more about the four criteria for effective pre-harvest food safety intervention.

Criteria 1: PREVALENCE   ▾

Prevalence: “Do I have a problem?”

Prevalence is the presence of a particular pathogen or disease-causing organism in a particular population or location at a given time.


  • Environmental samples
  • Live animal (fecal samples, intestinal contents)
  • Processing (whole carcass rinse, parts, ground meat)

Effective outcome: Reduced proportion (%) of food animals infected.

Criteria 2: NUMBER   ▾

Number: How severe is the infection or contamination?

Number represents the measure of viable bacterial cells in a sample, which may be expressed as “colony forming units per gram” of sample (CFU/g), log10, or most probable number (MPN)


  • Environmental samples
  • Live animal (fecal samples, intestinal contents)
  • Processing (whole carcass rinse, parts, ground meat)

Effective outcome: Reduction in “pathogen load” (Load = Prevalence X Number).

  • Reducing pathogen load in animals at the farm reduces the total load of pathogens coming into the processing plant and may result in more effective pathogen control in the plant.
  • Monitoring and controlling prevalence and number of foodborne pathogens like Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli are excellent “first steps” to improve pre-harvest food safety.

Criteria 3: VIRULENCE   ▾

Virulence: “How likely is it to cause illness?”

Virulence is the ability of an agent of infection, such as a foodborne pathogen, to cause disease.

Lower virulence means that even though animals coming into the processing plant test positive for a foodborne pathogen, there is less chance for people to become sick from consuming an infected food product. Virulence of certain foodborne pathogens is monitored by government agencies in many countries.


  • Tissue culture invasion (for Salmonella, repression of hilA gene expression)

Effective outcome: Lower virulence of the foodborne pathogen, which:

  • Increases infectious dose by a factor of 5-10
  • Reduces likelihood of foodborne illness


Antimicrobial Resistance: “Can antibiotic therapy treat the illness?”

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microorganism, such as a foodborne pathogen like Salmonella, to survive, reproduce, and cause disease despite drug therapy that had controlled such infection in the past.

Antimicrobial resistance is a serious public health concern worldwide. The efficacy of once-reliable antibiotics is increasingly at risk. Best practices of antibiotic stewardship on the farm are vital to sustaining antibiotic efficacy. Responsible veterinary care and adoption of non-antibiotic solutions are vital to the future of safe food production.


  • Growth of the pathogenic organism in the presence of a chemical, such as an antibiotic or other compound that would normally kill them or limit their growth. (decrease of the SGI1 integron in the input strain)

Effective outcomes:

  • Improved likelihood of antibiotic efficacy
  • Reduced probability of antibiotic resistance transmission to other pathogens

Food Safety Solutions   ▾

Diamond V’s unique, natural nutritional health technologies result from more than 70 years of scientific research and development published in more than 125 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. These pre-harvest technologies promote immunity, animal health, and human food safety while optimizing on-farm performance of poultry, pigs, dairy and beef cattle, aquaculture species, and other food animals.

Use of Diamond V technologies, including XPC, benefits food animal production and the food industry in multiple ways:

  • Improved pre-harvest food safety
  • Improved animal health and welfare
  • Greater efficiency in animal production
  • Greater efficacy in non-antibiotic production systems
  • Improved farmer and food company profitability

Healthy animals are critical to food safety, security, affordability, and quality. Pre-harvest control of foodborne pathogens enhances animal wellness, animal welfare, and product safety prior to processing. Safe food comes from healthy animals and balanced immunity is essential to animal health.

Make smart, science-based decisions

Food safety expertise at Diamond V

Safe food comes from healthy animals. Their biology and well-being is our business. Your business, like ours, depends on the company brand, which is a promise to customers of predictable value and trust.

Like Diamond V, your company works hard to establish, define, and protect the brand. You recognize and value the importance of forming partnerships with trusted, established brands to preserve your company’s brand integrity.

Diamond V has a brand based on more than 70 years of quality research, technology, and service to earn the reputation of the Trusted Experts in Nutrition and Health™. It is our commitment and promise to you.