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Evaluation of Sodium Chlorate, With and Without Nitroethane, on Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 in Cull Dairy Cattle

Loneragan, Guy; Nisbet, David; Krueger, Nathan; Farrow, Russell; Edrington, Thomas; Callaway, Todd; Anderson, Robin; Hagevoort, GR
New Mexico State University
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
West Texas A&M University
Start date
End date
Every year more than 76 million Americans become ill from the consumption of food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. The bovine gastrointestinal tract is a well recognized reservoir for bacterial pathogens like Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Campylobacter. In the United States these bacterial pathogens are responsible for more than 3.5 million human infections annually at an estimated annual cost of more than $3.5 billion a year. As many as 66% of the cull dairy cow markets have detectable amounts of Salmonella shedding and these cull cow markets contribute substantially to the ground beef available for consumption. Thus, pre-harvest intervention strategies that reduce the shedding of food-borne pathogens in cull dairy cattle are essential to reducing the amount of pathogenic bacteria entering slaughter facilities and potentially contributing to contamination of food products and human infections.

Sodium chlorate supplementation has been investigated as a pre-harvest food safety strategy to reduce Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 in vitro and in food producing animals. Research has also shown that the addition of short chained nitro compounds like nitroethane can enhance the ability of sodium chlorate to reduce if not kill Salmonella and E. coli as much as ten-fold in vitro and in vivo. Based on the research done to date, sodium chlorate technology shows great promise for reducing Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 pre-harvest. The objective of the current research was to determine if feeding sodium chlorate, with and without nitroethane, is effective in reducing populations of Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and generic E. coli in cull dairy cattle on a commercial dairy prior to slaughter.

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Findings: Results demonstrated that all animals were negative for E. coli O157:H7 and sodium chlorate and sodium chlorate + nitroethane reduced the concentration of Salmonella in cull dairy cows, especially in the high shedding animals, to levels that can be effectively controlled by modern processing intervention strategies at the slaughter plant.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Cattlemen's Beef Assoc.
Project number
Bacterial Pathogens
Escherichia coli