New application could reduce risk of Listeria

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) wants submissions on an application for a processing aid which reduces the risk of Listeria.

Only yesterday Food Magazine reported on a new study which found that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, who avoid foods likely to cause Listeria, as advised by the government and health experts, would be missing out on important nutrients.

The authors of the study believe that instead of eliminating all foods which may cause listeria, new guidelines which promote a moderate intake of foods such as deli meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and some cheeses when pregnant would be a better approach.

The application currently under review by FSANZ could change the safety of such foods if it is passed.

Micreos B.V (previously EBI Food Safety Ltd) has applied for permission to use the bacteriophage preparation, P100, as a processing aid for ready-to-eat foods to reduce levels of Listeria monocytogenes.

FSANZ wants the chemical approved for use on the surface of meats, cheese, fish and fruit and vegetables.

“Processing aids can’t be used in food production without a rigorous safety assessment by FSANZ,” FSANZ Chief Executive Officer, Steve McCutcheon said.

When P100, which is a bacteriophage, is applied to foods, it identifies the food poisoning bacteria, Listeria, and destroys it.

It’s believed to be harmless to plants, animals and humans and does not alter the properties of food or impact compounds like amino acids.

Bacteriophage preparations to treat food has been used United States, Canada and the Netherlands.

Submissions will be considered around July this year.

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