Cleaning and Sanitizing
on a Beef Farm
Consider this scenario:
- Small beef cattle feedlot
- Partially covered/open housing
- Bunks for feeding silage/grains
- Watering bowls
Common Food Safety Risks for this scenario:
The biological risks for this type of production
system are pathogens in the digestive tracts and on the hides of
market beef cattle (e.g. E. coli or Salmonella) which can cross-contaminate
to carcass and meat during the slaughter process.
The chemical risks are residues in the meat of marketed
beef cattle resulting from animal health products and other chemicals
present on the farm.
The physical risk is broken needles found in meat.
Broken needles are not addressed in cleaning and sanitizing therefore
need not be considered as part of the answer.
How Good Agricultural Practices can help:
The following list will help to identify areas and equipment to
be cleaned and sanitized that are critical in an on-farm food safety
program and suggest practices to reduce risk.
If you use feed bunks and water bowls/tanks, a biological
risk can be associated with contaminated feed and water sources.
- Regularly drain and rinse water bowls/tanks to reduce contamination
from bird droppings and manure from other animals
- Regularly remove excess or leftover feed to reduce contamination
from the droppings of birds and wildlife. Feed only enough feed
to be consumed in a short period.
If you have livestock housing areas that are wet
and accumulate manure, a biological risk can occur.
- Keep housing areas dry. Wet bedding allows tag to accumulate
on livestock hides. This increases the probability of cross-contamination
from hide to meat during the slaughter process.
- Have a written practice stating that manure from housing areas
is removed when the area becomes excessively damp and is replaced
with clean, dry bedding materials.
If you re-use medical equipment (e.g. needles and
syringes, implanting guns, calving equipment, medicated feed mixing
equipment), a chemical risk can arise if medical equipment is not
- Develop a written practice to describe how medical equipment
should be cleaned e.g. soap used followed by a disinfectant
- Keep in mind for some antimicrobials only hot or warm water
should be used
- Clean medicated feed mixing equipment using a technique called
"sequencing". Sequencing is processing non-medicated
feedstuffs through equipment to pick up medication residues.
If you store hazardous chemicals on the farm, chemical
risks can arise.
- Clean up hazardous spills immediately
- Clean areas when changing products in a location to prevent
If you feed and/or store medicated feeds on your
farm, chemical risks can arise.
- Ensure storage areas are cleaned when changing between non-medicated
and medicated feeds or another type of medicated feed. The risk
is cross-contaminating medication residues into animal diets with
the potential to leave unacceptable residues in the meat of slaughter
- Have a written cleaning practice that describes how surfaces
should be cleaned to remove residues (e.g. washing with soap).
If the storage area surfaces are wood, washing is probably not
practical. Therefore avoid interchanging feed storage areas and
do not store medicated feed in areas with rough wood surfaces.
If you use vehicles to transport livestock, chemical
or biological risks can occur when transportation vehicles are not
cleaned and adequately bedded.
- Keep in mind that previous loads containing livestock can result
in the introduction of diseases and cross-contamination to hides
of animals being sent to slaughter.
- Keep in mind that chemical residues can result from previous
transport of fertilizers or pesticides.
- Develop written cleaning and sanitizing practices if the vehicles
are farm-owned. If not farm-owned, develop a policy stating that
vehicles must be clean before arriving at the farm.
- Ensure vehicles are cleaned and sanitized between loads of livestock.
This is accomplished by first power washing with soap and water
followed by a rinse of disinfecting solution. Ensure wash water
does not drain into livestock housing areas.