USDA Seeks Solution to Animal Antibiotic Use

The government agency is looking into safe alternatives to factory farms’ overreliance on superbug-breeding drugs.

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In the wake of public outcry concerning the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture, the US Department of Agriculture seems to be progressing in its attempt to devise safe alternatives to the potentially hazardous drugs. In a recent report in the Journal of Animal Science, USDA scientists revealed that feeding livestock sodium chlorate—a nontoxic substance previously used as a food additive and herbicide—is effective in reducing intestinal concentrations of harmful pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli. Researchers are hopeful that the discovery will lead to a safer meat supply, at a time when alarm over the health impact of the meat industry is being called into question.

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