Milk Protein Offers New Tool to Prevent Meat Contamination
Thursday, September 4th 2003
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is safe to spray lactoferrin, a milk protein, on to beef carcasses to fight disease-causing bacteria such as Escherichia coli O157:H7.
Scientists with aLF Ventures, a Salt Lake City company, have found that spraying lactoferrin on raw beef carcasses inhibits the growth of E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter and prevents them from attaching to meat surfaces. The company plans to sell lactoferrin, a naturally occurring protein found in milk.
The FDA issued its endorsement on Friday in response to a petition filed by aLF Ventures asking the agency to affirm that lactoferrin is safe for consumers. The company also submitted scientific data showing that use of lactoferrin is safe for individuals who are allergic to milk, the agency said in a statement.
"Innovative technology is a critical building block in preserving the strong foundation of the U.S. food supply," said Lester Crawford, deputy FDA commissioner. "We must continue to encourage scientific research and new technology to maintain this nation's safe food supply."
E. coli O157:H7, which can lead to kidney failure and death, is among the most dangerous of some two dozen harmful bacteria that cause an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness annually in the United States.
The amount of added lactoferrin that remains on the beef after spraying is comparable to the amount of lactoferrin that naturally occurs in the beef, aLF Ventures said.
The company also submitted scientific data to the U.S. Agriculture Department, which has authority over meat labels.
aLF Ventures is a joint venture between Farmland National Beef and DMV International, a unit of Dutch-based Campina AG
Source: Reuters Health
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