The Nebraska Governor’s Conference on Ensuring Food Safety included a lively discussion on distillers grains and E. coli O157:H7. Dr. Jim Wells at USDA presented data that appears to show some correlation between certain levels of cattle-fed distillers grains and the levels of O157 that appeared in the hides of cattle. Recent research suggests that distillers grain does not increase the prevalence of O157 in cattle though it may increase the amount of the O157 in the cattle that already have the bug.
Some researchers are coming to believe that any issues surrounding distillers grains may be ameliorated by dietary supplements. Dr. Wells emphasized, however, that more research is needed. USDA believes that distillers grains are an important source of animal feed and appears committed to better understanding distillers grains and cattle nutrition.