A mixture of “good” lactic acid bacteria kills “bad” bacteria to reduce foodborne pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli in processed meat and poultry by as much as 99.99 percent, according to research by Dr Mindy Brashears of the Texas Tech University.
Dr Brashears developed a treatment mixture, to be sold under the name Bovamine Meat Cultures, which has passed GRAS (generally recognised as safe) status review by the US Food & Drug Administration and is one of few post-production treatments available to protect meat and poultry during long-term storage without affecting the flavour or shelf life of the products.
Administered during the processing phase, the treatment works with other interventions throughout the production chain to provide an added layer of protection for consumers.
Consumers will be able to look for meat and poultry products labeled to reflect the lactic acid cultures used to reduce foodborne pathogens.
“Lactic acid bacteria are considered good bacteria in that they have a lot of benefits,” said Brashears, associate professor and director of the International Centre for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech. “They are used to make several products like cheese, yogurt and sausages. They have a place in nature and they compete with other bacteria by producing compounds that kill the other bacteria. It is not a new concept, but some of the applications we have developed are unique.”