Researchers in the US have said they may have found a method of beating the potentially lethal food poisoning bacteria listeria.

Professor Jimmy Keeton and colleagues at Texas A&M University say a simple organic acid can stop the harmful bug.

Studying the effects of a number of different substances on frankfurters infected with a high level of listeria, the researchers found that acidified calcium sulphate was the only substance of those tested that could kill the bacteria and prevent it from returning.

Listeria can cause a variety of harmful medical conditions and it is estimated that around one in five cases of listeria results in death.

The results of this study, which was funded by the American Meat Institute, have been submitted to the USDA, reported BBC Online.

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Following recent outbreaks in the US, the country’s government is investigating ways to reduce listeria contamination.