The use of bacteriophage applied into the environment for the reduction and control of Listeria in a food manufacturing facility is a novel and relatively inexpensive intervention that could be undertaken by food manufacturers. Bob Reinhard, PhD. – Vice President Food Safety & Quality at Tyson Foods
Fate of Listeria on various food contact and noncontact surfaces when treated with bacteriophage
Bacteriophage (phage) are viruses that specifically target and infect a host microorganism but are harmless to humans and nonmicrobiological hosts. The potential application of phage, as a novel food safety technology has been proposed by many authors, and numerous phage studies have been conducted looking at either the direct application of phage into food, or the use of phage to overcome bacterial biofilms (Gilbreth et al., 2005; Gutiérrez, Rodríguez-Rubio, Martínez, Rodríguez, & García, 2016; Labrie, Samson, & Moineau, 2010; Sillankorva, Oliveira, & Azeredo, 2012; Simões, Simões, & Vieira, 2010; Srey, Jahid, & Ha, 2013). However, research focused on the practical application of phage in the food manufacturing environment, as an antimicrobial, to reduce the presence of Listeria species, is very limited.
The food industry has been addressing the presence of L. monocytogenes in food manufacturing facilities since the early1980’s. A number of different techniques have led to significant reductions in the presence of the pathogenic organism and have led to vastly improved food safety outcomes (Butts, 2003; U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2014). Many improvements have focused on, been developed for, and implemented by the meat and poultry industry in the United States. These improvements were drive regulatory oversite and by the risk associated with human illness from these foods when they are contaminated with L. monocytogenes. Different processes to mitigate L. monocytogenes were used in red meat and poultry facilities included (a) sanitary standard operational procedures, (b) the implementation of regulatory HACCP in the mid-1990’s, (c) sanitary design principles for equipment and facilities circa 2004, (d) advancement of antimicrobials in the early part of this century, and (e) sanitizer development/optimization from early 1990’s to the present. Additionally, industry environmental sampling programs, product testing and advancement of laboratory techniques have enabled improved identification and targeting of the hazard in the animal based-product supply chain. Similar advancements have been used across all food and beverage manufacturing, however, the techniques used are not applicable to all product categories, and major infrastructure changes to improve sanitary design of equipment and facilities is a lengthy and expensive process.
The use of bacteriophage applied into the environment for the reduction and control of Listeria in a food manufacturing facility is a novel and relatively inexpensive intervention that could be undertaken by food manufacturers.Bob Reinhard, Ph.D. – Vice President Food Safety & Quality at Tyson Foods
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