Olymel, Canada’s largest pork producer and processor, is working with scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Université Laval on research to better understand the links between pig gut health, food safety and product quality.
The project is part of the Canadian Food Innovators (CFI-ICA) research cluster “Using science and innovation to strengthen Canada’s value-added food industry” through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriScience Program.
Antibiotic resistance poses a growing threat to global public health, so livestock farmers in Canada and other countries are looking for alternatives that will maintain the health, welfare, and production efficiency of livestock without compromising food safety.
To keep animals healthy, they’re using alternatives like probiotics that can boost the immune system by promoting better gut health. But there are still a lot of unknowns about the impact that influencing the pig’s microbiome will have on the quality, safety, and shelf life of pork products.
The three main objectives of the project are establishing a baseline of bacteria and bacterial families found at different stages of the value chain; evaluating the impact of different probiotics on pig gut health; and comparing the health of piglets raised in different conditions as well as the meat coming from those animals.