Each year, roughly one in six Americans becomes sick from contaminated food, resulting in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
This data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is enough to stop anyone in their tracks. How could this be when the American food supply is considered one of the safest in the world?
This only stands to show that no matter how careful or cautious food producers or suppliers are, even the 'safest' food can get contaminated by pathogens. Bacteria like Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter often latch on to surfaces like conveyor lines, storage bins, and other food handling equipment, and can quickly spread to the food during its processing stage. To curb the spread of such pathogens and ensure global food safety, Intralytix—a top-tier biotechnology company—is making a stand against the micro-sized antagonists through its natural, safe, and non-toxic bacteriophage-based products.
"Traditionally, food processing companies have depended on chemical products to eliminate pathogenic bacteria," says Greg Strang, the director of the food safety division at Intralytix. As much as they kill bacteria, chemical antimicrobials and synthetic preservatives are not free of pitfalls. Recent studies have linked several adverse health effects (liver damage, asthma, allergic reactions, and cancer) to the consumption of food processed with chemical preservatives. "In contrast, the organic bacteriophage-based approach presents a perfect alternative for companies seeking to switch to a more natural and safer option," mentions Strang.
According to him, Bacteriophages (viruses that can infect and kill bacteria) are the most abundant microorganisms on earth. Specifically, lytic bacteriophages can efficiently kill targeted bacteria without affecting anything else.
This makes bacteriophages the perfect agent for eliminating bacterial contamination of food in a safe, non-toxic, and effective manner. By harnessing the natural power of these bacteriophages, Intralytix offers robust food safety products designed to target some of the deadliest foodborne bacterial pathogens, including L. monocytogenes and E. coli.
Notably, unlike chemical antimicrobials, Intralytix's bacteriophage-based products do not compromise the integrity (odor, color, composition, or taste) of the food and ensure efficacy in eliminating harmful bacteria. The bacteriophages present in Intralytix's products are species-specific and target only the bacteria in the food. When the bacteriophages come in contact with the harmful bacteria, they inject their DNA and begin their feeding cycle on the This goes on for about 20 minutes, until the entire target area is cleansed. And, since the bacteriophages leave no trace of the bacteria or any other toxic byproducts, Intralytix's offerings have even been granted the 'processing aid' status in the food safety arena.
Intralytix's role in curbing the listeriosis causing L. monocytogenes is also notable. The L. monocytogenes bacterium, which possesses the highest fatality rates among all foodborne pathogens, is mainly transmitted through ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products. In fact, the health concern caused by listeriosis has even prompted the U.S. food and drug administration (FDA) and the food safety inspection service (FSIS) to establish a 'zero tolerance' for L. monocytogenes in RTE foods. Eliminating the listeriosis causing bacterium completely was a challenge and even resulted in numerous food recalls. That was until Intralytix developed and introduced the bacteriophage-based preparation solution, ListShield, to eliminate the risk of L. monocytogenes. ListShield consists of six naturally occurring bacteriophages, which were isolated from the environment, exhaustively studied, and carefully selected for deployment in RTE foods. The unrivaled efficacy of the ListShield solution today has led the FDA to approve it as an additive for RTE foods. Currently, Intralytix is the only company in the world to have received FDA approval for using a bacteriophage-based preparation as a food additive.
Equally impressive is Intralytix's part in curbing the rise of Salmonella, which has caused quite a stir in the poultry industry. The pathogen covertly infects poultry meat and eggs, and sometimes even the birds, showing no signs of the disease. As a result, the eradication of Salmonella from poultry production has been incredibly difficult until now. But with Intralytix's SalmoFresh—an all-natural, non-chemical antimicrobial preparation—controlling the foodborne Salmonella enterica is becoming a lot simpler. The ingredients of SalmoFresh are naturally occurring lytic bacteriophages that selectively and specifically kill Salmonella, including strains belonging to the most common and highly pathogenic serotypes like Typhimurium, Enteritidis, Heidelberg, Newport, Hadar, Kentucky, Thompson, Georgia, Agona, Grampian, Senftenberg, Alachua, Infantis, Reading, and Schwarzengrund. By treating red meat and poultry with SalmoFresh prior to grinding, producers can witness significant reductions in Salmonella contamination.
Such tremendous strides in the food safety space are constantly propelling Intralytix to remain at the peak of its success. Backed by its 23 years of unrivaled bacteriophage expertise and 15 issued patents, the company plans to continue its food safety stride by further expanding its footprint in the food processing industry. At the same time, in the upcoming months, the biotech company also wishes to augment its capabilities in the discovery, production, and marketing of more bacteriophage-based solutions and continue breaking new barriers in the food safety space through its innovative and committed mindset.