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View Full Version : Your lunchmeat will now contain viruses, courtesy of FDA.


banyon
08-19-2006, 10:43 AM
FDA approves viruses as food additive
Bacteriophages meant to kill harmful bacteria on lunch meats

Friday, August 18, 2006; Posted: 6:31 p.m. EDT (22:31 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A mix of bacteria-killing viruses can be safely sprayed on cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages to combat common microbes that kill hundreds of people a year, federal health officials said Friday in granting the first-ever approval of viruses as a food additive.

The combination of six viruses is designed to be sprayed on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, including sliced ham and turkey, said John Vazzana, president and chief executive officer of manufacturer Intralytix Inc.

The special viruses, called bacteriophages, are meant to kill strains of the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, the Food and Drug Administration said in declaring it safe to use on ready-to-eat meats prior to their packaging.

The viruses are the first to win FDA approval for use as a food additive, said Andrew Zajac, of the regulatory agency's office of food additive safety.

The bacterium the viruses target can cause a serious infection called listeriosis, primarily in pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. In the United States, an estimated 2,500 people become seriously ill with listeriosis each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 500 die.

Luncheon meats are particularly vulnerable to Listeria since once purchased they typically aren't cooked or reheated, which can kill harmful bacteria like Listeria, Zajac said.

The preparation of bacteriophages -- the name is Greek for "bacteria-eater" -- attacks only strains of the Listeria bacterium and not human or plant cells, the FDA said.

"As long as it used in accordance with the regulations, we have concluded it's safe," Zajac said. People normally come into contact with phages through food, water and the environment, and they are found in our digestive tracts, the FDA said.

Consumers won't be aware that meat and poultry products have been treated with the spray, Zajac added. The Department of Agriculture will regulate the actual use of the product.

The viruses are grown in a preparation of the very bacteria they kill, and then purified. The FDA had concerns that the virus preparation potentially could contain toxic residues associated with the bacteria. However, testing did not reveal the presence of such residues, which in small quantities likely wouldn't cause health problems anyway, the FDA said.

"The FDA is applying one of the toughest food-safety standards which they have to find this is safe," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group. "They couldn't approve this product if they had questions about its safety."

Intralytix, based in Baltimore, first petitioned the FDA in 2002 to allow the viruses to be used as a food additive. It has since licensed the product to a multinational company, which intends to market it worldwide, said Intralytix president Vazzana. He declined to name the company but said he expected it to announce its plans within weeks or months.

Intralytix also plans to seek FDA approval for another bacteriophage product to kill E. coli bacteria on beef before it is ground, Vazzana said.

Scientists have long studied bacteriophages as a bacteria-fighting alternative to antibiotics.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/18/edible.virus.ap/index.html

banyon
08-19-2006, 10:45 AM
3 questions:


Why the hell are we going to all this trouble and not simply irradiating the food like they do in Eurpoe?
How do they know this stuff will not mutate, as other viruses do?
Will there be long term effects on our digestive tract with an overabundance of these phages?

jidar
08-19-2006, 10:48 AM
2 questions:

1) Why the hell are we going to all this trouble and not simply irradiating the food like they do in Europe?

2) How do they know this stuff will not mutate, as other viruses do? Also, perhaps there will be long term effects on our digestive tract with an overabundance of these phages.


I saw you slip that third question in there, just what kind of shit are you trying to pull here?

banyon
08-19-2006, 10:55 AM
I saw you slip that third question in there, just what kind of shit are you trying to pull here?

There, now its a :cuss: bulleted list. Happy? :p

Calcountry
08-19-2006, 11:23 AM
FDA approves viruses as food additive
Bacteriophages meant to kill harmful bacteria on lunch meats

Friday, August 18, 2006; Posted: 6:31 p.m. EDT (22:31 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A mix of bacteria-killing viruses can be safely sprayed on cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages to combat common microbes that kill hundreds of people a year, federal health officials said Friday in granting the first-ever approval of viruses as a food additive.

The combination of six viruses is designed to be sprayed on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, including sliced ham and turkey, said John Vazzana, president and chief executive officer of manufacturer Intralytix Inc.

The special viruses, called bacteriophages, are meant to kill strains of the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, the Food and Drug Administration said in declaring it safe to use on ready-to-eat meats prior to their packaging.

The viruses are the first to win FDA approval for use as a food additive, said Andrew Zajac, of the regulatory agency's office of food additive safety.

The bacterium the viruses target can cause a serious infection called listeriosis, primarily in pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. In the United States, an estimated 2,500 people become seriously ill with listeriosis each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 500 die.

Luncheon meats are particularly vulnerable to Listeria since once purchased they typically aren't cooked or reheated, which can kill harmful bacteria like Listeria, Zajac said.

The preparation of bacteriophages -- the name is Greek for "bacteria-eater" -- attacks only strains of the Listeria bacterium and not human or plant cells, the FDA said.

"As long as it used in accordance with the regulations, we have concluded it's safe," Zajac said. People normally come into contact with phages through food, water and the environment, and they are found in our digestive tracts, the FDA said.

Consumers won't be aware that meat and poultry products have been treated with the spray, Zajac added. The Department of Agriculture will regulate the actual use of the product.

The viruses are grown in a preparation of the very bacteria they kill, and then purified. The FDA had concerns that the virus preparation potentially could contain toxic residues associated with the bacteria. However, testing did not reveal the presence of such residues, which in small quantities likely wouldn't cause health problems anyway, the FDA said.

"The FDA is applying one of the toughest food-safety standards which they have to find this is safe," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group. "They couldn't approve this product if they had questions about its safety."

Intralytix, based in Baltimore, first petitioned the FDA in 2002 to allow the viruses to be used as a food additive. It has since licensed the product to a multinational company, which intends to market it worldwide, said Intralytix president Vazzana. He declined to name the company but said he expected it to announce its plans within weeks or months.

Intralytix also plans to seek FDA approval for another bacteriophage product to kill E. coli bacteria on beef before it is ground, Vazzana said.

Scientists have long studied bacteriophages as a bacteria-fighting alternative to antibiotics.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/18/edible.virus.ap/index.html

Dammit, I knew that Bush was da debil.

jspchief
08-19-2006, 11:30 AM
Is this step really necessary to save only a few hundred people every year? We can't save everyone.

Hydrae
08-19-2006, 11:39 AM
Is this step really necessary to save only a few hundred people every year? We can't save everyone.

Yep, millions must eat a virus with who knows what kind of long term affects (long term, like 10-20 years of build up in our systems) just to save 500 people a year.

Banyon, I have no knowledge to answer your question above, I look forward to some knowledgable person helping us out here. One question though, you mention irradiating food. Do we know this doesn't cause molecular changes in the food similar to what happens in a microwave?

BucEyedPea
08-19-2006, 11:48 AM
Yep, millions must eat a virus with who knows what kind of long term affects (long term, like 10-20 years of build up in our systems) just to save 500 people a year.

Banyon, I have no knowledge to answer your question above, I look forward to some knowledgable person helping us out here. One question though, you mention irradiating food. Do we know this doesn't cause molecular changes in the food similar to what happens in a microwave?
Don't say that, about the microwave...I said that before but,but,but the microwave is not a particle basher. I'm against microwaving and irradiating ( we don't know long term effects for these either). Safest bet is to be informed and eat natural...why anyone would regularly eat lunch meat, hot dogs etc. is beyond me...unless they're organic or all natural.

I also do not think the FDA is above reproach...nor keeps us safe 100%.
They can only provide a minimum of safety standards, the people have to do the rest by taking responsibility for their information and choices. JMO.

Pitt Gorilla
08-19-2006, 12:22 PM
Dammit, I knew that Bush was da debil.Royals beat the A's.

banyon
08-19-2006, 12:57 PM
Dammit, I knew that Bush was da debil.

Oh yeah, I remember when I mentioned Bush and posted this in DC. :shake: I'm sure it was his idea. :shake:

banyon
08-19-2006, 01:00 PM
Yep, millions must eat a virus with who knows what kind of long term affects (long term, like 10-20 years of build up in our systems) just to save 500 people a year.

Banyon, I have no knowledge to answer your question above, I look forward to some knowledgable person helping us out here. One question though, you mention irradiating food. Do we know this doesn't cause molecular changes in the food similar to what happens in a microwave?

True, there's not a tremendous amount of long-term info on irradiation either, but at least there's a few years of Euros not dropping dead to base that on.

jspchief
08-19-2006, 01:02 PM
True, there's not a tremendous amount of long-term info on irradiation either, but at least there's a few years of Euros not dropping dead to base that on.I have 33 years of eating lunchmeat and hot dogs without dropping dead to determine that it's all a waste of time.

BucEyedPea
08-19-2006, 01:06 PM
True, there's not a tremendous amount of long-term info on irradiation either, but at least there's a few years of Euros not dropping dead to base that on.
You don't have to die from it....you could just have other health issues later and use conventional medicine to prolong your life...but why even get to that point.
It's all cumulative anyhow. Gee, I mean really if people form ancient Bible times lived over a hundred...there must be something wrong with what we're doing. :p

banyon
08-19-2006, 01:08 PM
Don't say that, about the microwave...I said that before but,but,but the microwave is not a particle basher. I'm against microwaving and irradiating ( we don't know long term effects for these either). Safest bet is to be informed and eat natural...why anyone would regularly eat lunch meat, hot dogs etc. is beyond me...unless they're organic or all natural.

I also do not think the FDA is above reproach...nor keeps us safe 100%.
They can only provide a minimum of safety standards, the people have to do the rest by taking responsibility for their information and choices. JMO.


Yeah, but the OP says that they will not inform consumers which I assume includes labeling.

BucEyedPea
08-19-2006, 01:14 PM
Yeah, but the OP says that they will not inform consumers which I assume includes labeling.
I agree with labeling and lettin' 'em know. Yep!
But even if those labels are undecipherable due to being all chemicals.
Ever see them?
No one can read them. But they still buy 'em.

That's why I avoid most packaged food in regular supermarkets. At least the natural stores I see the ingredients are actually REAL food. As I understand, even packaged taco shells and restaurant food has genetically engineered food in them now and no one even knows nor are there always labels.

Gotta keep the pharmaceutical companies and big med in biz ya' know?!

Bwana
08-19-2006, 01:55 PM
I guess that little bastard from Japan that throws back all those hotdogs at those world championship hotdog eating contests is now ****ed.

Demonpenz
08-19-2006, 04:01 PM
you know what else is bad for your health? Hanging around with stupid hippy bitches.

ChiefFan31
08-19-2006, 04:05 PM
Yep, millions must eat a virus with who knows what kind of long term affects (long term, like 10-20 years of build up in our systems) just to save 500 people a year.

That really says it all right there. I am just in awe of the thought processes sometimes of our Gov.