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Listeria-killing phage product gets FSANZ approval

By Mark Astley , 23-Aug-2012
Last updated on 27-Aug-2012 at 11:51 GMT

Listeria-killing Listex P100 has been approved for use in Australia and New Zealand, making it the first bacteriophage product for food safety to be permitted for use in Australasia.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved the product for use as a processing aid – meaning it can be used during food processing without labeling requirements - after finding no associated safety concerns.

The spray-on product has been given approval for use with meat, seafood, cheese and ready-to-eat (RTE) foods.

Phages are the most abundant micro-organisms on the planet. Although harmless to humans, phages infect and kill bacterial cells. They work by breaking down bacterial cell walls using enzymes, which prevents the replication and spread of the bacteria.

Listex P100, which is manufactured by Netherlands-based Micreos B.V., is designed to exclusively infect and control the spread of Listeria species including Listeria monocytogenes.

Netherlands-based Micreos B.V. developed the product. Its CEO Mark Offerhaus told FoodProductionDaily.com that the firm has now sets its sights on regulatory approval in emerging nations.

Zero tolerance

“Micreos is pleased with FSANZ’s approval,” Micreos CEO Mark Offerhaus told FoodProductionDaily.com. “Australia and New Zealand have a significant food processing industry and strict standards towards Listeria. A significant part of its processed food is exported to countries with zero tolerance for Listeria such as the USA, Russia and Singapore.”

“Listex can help food manufacturers to produce safe products, prevent product recalls due to Listeria contamination and rejections in export countries due to Listeria contamination.”

The FSANZ approval is the latest in a string of regulatory green lights received by Micreos for its Listex P100 bacteriophage product. The firm has now set its sights on the increasingly food safety-conscious Asian market.

“We are expecting approvals in several Asian countries now, as food safety is rapidly becoming more important there,” said Offerhaus.

Kills Listeria, nothing else

Listex P100, can be easily integrated into food manufacturers' normal production processes, making it a particularly simple answer to contamination concerns.

Following the FSANZ go-ahead, Micreos has entered into talks with a number of cheese, fish and processed meat manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand.

“Listex can be added where and when contaminations are most likely to occur. As an example, for cooked RTE products, Listex is generally sprayed after chilling prior to packaging,” he said.

“Any products susceptible to Listeria contamination can be treated.”

“Listex kills Listeria, and nothing else. It helps improve the safety of ready-to-eat foods,” Offerhaus added.

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