Feeding low doses of sodium chlorate to pigs and cows before slaughter selectively kills the pathogens Salmonella typhimurium and E. coli 0157:H7.

Scientists in USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Food and Feed Safety Research Unit in College Station, TX, developed an animal model showing that sodium chlorate reduces the major concentration of these two pathogens in the animal intestinal tract.

Within 16 hours of being given sodium chlorate, 45 weaned pigs artificially infected with S. typhimurium showed a 150-fold reduction in infected intestinal cells.

An enzyme found in both of the bacteria converts sodium chlorate to chlorite, which kills the harmful bacteria, say ARS scientists.

For more information visit www.ars.usda.gov.