Effects of pre-harvest supplemental chlorate on beef carcass and meat quality.
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Effects of feeding sodium chlorate on carcass quality, tenderness and color stability were evaluated. Heifers (n=64) were fed chlorate at either 0.01% or 0.05% of body weight (BW) in the last feeding or 0.01% for the last 5d before harvest, while control cattle received no chlorate. During the 12h period between feed withdrawal and transport to the harvest facility, the cattle were provided water containing either no sodium chlorate or sodium chlorate (approximately 30mM). Feed treatments at 0.01% of BW produced higher marbling scores than feeding 0.01% of BW for 5d. However, neither of these treatments produced marbling scores that were different from non-treated controls. Water supplementation increased tenderness in cattle fed 0.01% of BW for 5d, but decreased tenderness in cattle fed 0.05% of BW at the last feeding. Although tenderness differences existed, it is not clear whether or not they were caused by the feed or water treatments or by pre-existing variation in the cattle. Neither feed nor water supplementation affected color stability. These data suggest that chlorate preparations could be used to reduce pathogens without adversely impacting meat quality or display life. However, further research is needed to further substantiate these findings.