FSANZ backs Salmonelex; EU approval for Listex pending

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Salmonelex. Picture: Micreos
Salmonelex. Picture: Micreos

Related tags: Listeria monocytogenes, European union

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved a processing aid against Salmonella.

Salmonelex is Micreos’ second phage product accepted in Australia and New Zealand after an approval of Listex against Listeria monocytogenes in 2012.

Salmonelex is misted onto the surface by a spray or dip method, it kills Salmonella ​without sensory effects and as a processing aid it does not require labeling.

After approval in the USA it can be used in Australia and New Zealand to control the pathogen on meat and poultry products.

Phages explained

Bert de Vegt, managing director of Micreos, said it has knowledge on how to use phages, where in the process and the dosage levels needed.

“When the phage hits the bacteria it has an immediate effect, if you apply it on the surface of chicken, within the first 30 minutes there is a 1 log reduction. [The total time] depends on how much of a dose, the contact time and distribution coverage on the food,” ​he told FoodQualityNews.

“The main interest of Salmonelex is for poultry, pork and beef, there are more incidents in these categories. It comes in from the animal, which doesn’t get ill, but we humans do.

“Phages are a processing aid, there is no sensory effects on the product and no label requirement. They are natural and safe for human consumption, phages kill specific bacteria.

“It was a logical step, those that use Listex also look for ways to control Salmonella​, there is a market need for these interventions.”

Salmonelex is approved in the US and Australia. The firm also has a product for Listeria, Listex, which is approved in Australia, Israel, Switzerland, Norway, Canada and US.

EU decision next month

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is evaluating the safety and efficacy of Listex P100 in the reduction of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat food with an opinion due in July.

In late 2015, the European Commission received a new application for its approval in RTE foods (meat, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy products).

The European Commission said it received an application in 2011 from the company for the approval of Listex P100 to remove Listeria monocytogenes surface contamination in raw fish.

“However, to date, this substance has not been approved by the Commission because of insufficient scientific data to demonstrate the effectiveness of Listex P100 in fishery products which does not allow EFSA to draw definitive conclusions,” ​it added.

EFSA issued a scientific opinion in 2012 on the evaluation of the safety and efficacy of Listex P100 but the Commission said it has not taken any legislative proposal, as the opinion left uncertainties concerning its effectiveness in the fishery products.

Bert de Vegt said it is hopeful about its new application.

“We had hoped in 2011 after the EFSA approval that phages are safe. We have petitioned this time for RTE products. I don’t see any reason [why we would not get approval] and once we have it we can move to the next stage,” ​he said.

“50% of our payroll is on R&D, we have plenty of internal data and data in the public domain. We are a technology and research-driven company, the phage needs to kill the entire species of Listeria and Salmonella, you don’t want to kill 80% and leave the rest intact.”

Micreos said it was focussing on the US, with new applications for those markets where approval has been granted, with a sales office in Atlanta, Georgia opened at the start of the year.

Current work on the applications side involves finding new markets for the technology and product development such as systems to target Campylobacter and E. coli.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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