May 29, 2020

They develop the first additive for food packaging that eliminates listeria

Faced with the last outbreak of listeria that took place last August in Andalusia, researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research and the technology-based company Encapsulate have developed the first additive for food contact containers capable of killing the Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria that causes listeriosis.

The additive reduces the population of bacteria, from 100,000 colony forming units to zero.

The additive, which is based on a patent developed between Encapsulae and the Institute of Ceramics and Glass of the CSIC, drastically reduces the population of bacteria, since the tests have shown a high activity in 24 hours, passing 100,000 units colony forming, to zero. The infective dose is attributable to doses higher than 100,000 units per ingested portion.

"It is a disruptive process where we have modified the distance of the chemical bonds of a food preservative commonly used in meat products. The encapsulation of the modified additive in the plastic container generates a contact surface that prevents the growth of bacteria. The effect It has been demonstrated, among other microorganisms, for Listeria monocytogenes. Thus, a simple plastic container increases food safety, "explains Professor José Francisco Fernández Lozano, of the Institute of Ceramics and Glass of the CSIC.

Prevention against new outbreaks

Listeriosis is a very serious infection caused by bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. It has low morbidity (few cases of infection occur) but very high mortality, 30%, although in the case of sensitive groups, such as the elderly and fetuses, it rises to 70%. During 2017, the European Authority of Food Security (European Food Safety Authority EFSA) reported 2,480 cases of listeriosis in the European Union, with 227 deaths. In Spain that same year there were 284 confirmed cases. During the this year's crisis of the meatloaf There have been more than 330 cases in a single outbreak, with 3 deaths and 7 abortions.

Many foods eliminate listeria in the production process, but can become infected again in the final packaging.

The listerias are bacteria very resistant to various conditions, such as acidity and low temperatures, and even has the capacity to grow at refrigeration temperatures between 2 ° C and 4 ° C. This resistance makes it widely distributed in the agricultural environment, in soils, plants, fodder, fecal matter, sewage and water.

The main transmission path for the human being it is the consumption of contaminated food, such as meat products ready for consumption; for example, cooked sausages or pates, smoked fish, dairy products made with raw milk and prepared salads.

Many ready-to-eat foods include in their production process a phase that eliminates listeria, such as cooking or baking, but can be contaminated in final packaging or handling during marketing, such as slicing.

The new product against listeria is now available for commercial use. "The current production capacity allows to supply additive for more than 50 million food containers. The additive is approved for use in plastic food contact containers according to EC 10/2011 regulations and as an active additive according to EC450 / 2009" , explains Javier Menéndez, CEO of Encapsulae.

. (tagsToTranslate) Develop (t) additive (t) food containers (t) (t) listeria

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