Phage-Based Product Approved As A Food Processing Aid

Virus or phage. These are vehicles used in gene therapy.
Photo in public domain, c/o Pixabay

A new food processing aid has entered the food safety scene. The US Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) notice to a company called Micreos. Micreos produces a product called PhageGuard-E which is a phase control to combat the bacterium Escherichia coli O157 found on food processing surfaces. Unlike chemical intervention which is often harsh and employs chemicals which demand severe health & safety workwear and astute practices, the phage control does not damage plant equipment, water installations or concrete floors. PhageGuard-E actually kills E.coli and does not affect humans, or alter the organoleptic properties of food.

The GRAS notice specifically identifies PhageGuard-E uses as an antimicrobial for use on ‘beef carcasses, subprimals., beef cuts, and trimmings intended for ground beef at an application rate of up to 1×109 plaque forming units per gram of food.”

Micreos is to begin industrial scale projects in the USA, especially at meat processing plants.

The Managing Director at Micreos Food Safety, Bert de Vegt has been reported by the IFT as stating:-

“Raw or undercooked ground meat products remain the primary source of STEC [Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli] concern and outbreaks.

We’re pleased to be adding this tool to support the U.S. meat processors in their constant quest to deliver safe food, and we look forward to working with the industry to implement the technology.”

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is a major public health issue. Over 5,000 cases are recorded in the USA virtually annually.

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