Tea Leaves And Grape Seeds Reduce Pathogens In Food

Researchers at the University of Arkansas have discovered some new ways to greatly inhibit the presence of pathogens in food.

According to a recent study, infusing chicken meat with a combination of organic acids (acetic, citric, lactic, malic and tartaric) and select plant extracts (from grape seeds and green tea) can drastically reduce the amounts of E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella Typhimurium that may be present.

Not suprisingly, even better results were obtained when the expirimental technique was coupled with small amounts of irradiation.  In this regard, the researchers believe that a combination of organic acids and plant extracts, coupled with very small amounts of irradiation, could ultimately provide the optimal amount of protection against a wide range of food-borne illnesses.

According to Navam Hettiarachchy, a UA food science professor who supervised the project, "we want to determine the least amount of plant extracts that we can use, and the least amount of irradiation dosage, to get the best inhibitory effect."

Although research is continuing, Hettiarachchy has confirmed that at least one poultry company has expressed interest in the project. In turn, to achieve the maximum food safety benefit, Hettiarachchy also remains "hopeful that, with time, the public will become aware of irradiation processing so that they accept [the technology]." 

Although we'll leave it to others to interpret those tea leaves, we will, at the very least, continue to report on new developments. 

Close Only Counts In Horseshoes And Hand Grenades: Emerging Food Safety Technologies

Technological advancements have exploded in recent history.  From the internet to non-invasive surgical techniques to credit card size cell phones, we have progressed further in the last fifty years than the rest of history combined.  With the exception of purchasing state of the art electronics that are often obsolete by the time they are opened, such advancements have been exciting and made our lives much easier.

Despite great leaps, however, the threat of contracting a food-borne illness does, and may always, exist.  Because harmful bacteria can be introduced at any point from farm to fork (or, as I say, from "crop to court"), the fight against existing and emerging organisms remains extraordinarily complex.  In turn, the best scientific minds in the world are working feverishly (pun intended), even as you read this, to develop new methods aimed at protecting our food supply from these resilient food-borne pathogens.

Although it seems today that the prevalent and favored practice is indiscriminately to attack and criticize the food industry, it must be recognized that food safety professionals and the companies they work for have in recent years made substantial strides.  From irradiation (still waiting for consumer acceptance) to high-pressure pasteurization to the creative use of nanotechnology, new interventions are continually being developed to improve the safety of our food.

These and other developments merely highlight the technological advances in food safety within the last few years and months.  The food safety technology business is rapidly growing and, to the extent we can figure out this internet thing, we will continue to keep you abreast of the latest innovations.