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Integrating Livestock Doesn’t Jeopardize Food Safety, ISU Study Finds

A new study from Iowa State University shows that livestock grazing can be integrated with organic crops without posing a significant food safety risk. The study involved experimental organic farming systems in Iowa, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania on which corn and soy crops were rotated with cattle grazing on small grains. Researchers found no traces of common strains of E. coli or salmonella on the meat produced in the experiments, and pathogens detected in feed, fecal, and hide samples remained below thresholds commonly detected in conventional production systems. Iowa State University professor Kathleen Delate, one of the authors of the study, said the results show promise for the potential of farmers integrating animal and crop production. Experiments have shown such arrangements can help farmers realize a number of benefits, including better soil health.