Cost of E. coli vaccine for cattle lacks appeal to farmers
A vaccine for cattle could possibly have prevented the X-L Food E. coli outbreak, but it's not being used.
Dr. Brett Findlay is the B.C. microbiologist who created a vaccine for E. coli. He says the vaccine prevents the bacteria from multiplying in a cow's guts and drops the bacterial load in an animal by 99 per cent.
Findlay says there's no incentive for beef producers to use it.
"No one's using it because it costs $3 a dose and a cow takes 2 doses, so it would cost a farmer $6 to vaccinate a cow and there's no real incentive for a farmer to spend that," said Findlay.
He says it would take $50 million to vaccinate Canada's entire beef herd. But he feels it's worth it since E. coli costs our health care system $250 million each year.
While scientists believe a vaccine shot would make meat safer, not everyone thinks vaccinating cattle to further protect humans from e-coli contamination is a good thing.
Health Canada has reservations about the vaccine, saying it's wants more research on how it affects human
Edited by CJME's Karen Brownlee.