What do E. coli, Cows, Cars, and Ethanol Have in Common?

By Automotive Staff | February 21, 2008
The demand for corn in this country and others is high. And like things in great demand, the supply runneth out too soon. Naturally, the price of corn has increased astronomically, and as a result, cattle are being fed distillers grains in place or along with corn. What exactly are distillers grains and what's this got to do with your car? For one thing, all that corn that was going into your inexpensive tortillas is now being converted into ethanol. Distillers grains are not a natural, lovely, tasty green grass food of which cattle would chew, if given a choice. They are created in distilleries (alcohol breweries) where grains (corn) are mashed along with any number of ingredients.
Now, some preliminary research shows that the feeding cows this concoction as the main provision to cows increases the amount of E. coli in their manure? "Why worry if it's in their manure?" you may question. The cow really doesn't care, but those same strains of E. coli bacteria that live happily in a cows gut sometimes wander into the meat supply. To make these conclusions is very much preliminary, but already the USDA has noted a high number of beef recalls (and you thought only cars had recalls). Well, we told you this had something to do with cars.