EDMONTON - A breakthrough vaccine that prevents cattle from shedding E. coli before the animals are sent to slaughter has been on the market for several years but isn't widely used.
Bioniche, the Ontario company that produces the vaccine, says less than five per cent of Canadian cattle are getting the shots.
Company official Rick Culbert says it would cost $50 million a year to vaccinate the national herd while it costs $200 million annually to deal with E. coli's health effects on humans.
Experts say the problem is that the bacteria don't make cattle sick so ranchers don't think they should have to pay for the vaccine.
Research is being done to have the vaccine mixed with other cattle shots so it's cheaper and easier to use.
E. coli was discovered last month in beef processed at the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta., and more than 1,500 products have been recalled across the country and in the United States.