Milk protein may fight meat bacteria

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it is safe to spray lactoferrin, a milk protein, on to beef carcasses to fight disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli.

Scientists with aLF Ventures, a Salt Lake City company, had found that spraying lactoferrin on raw beef carcasses inhibits the growth of E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter and prevents them from attaching to meat surfaces.

The company plans to sell lactoferrin, a naturally occurring protein found in milk.

Endorsed. The FDA issued its endorsement in response to a petition filed by aLF Ventures asking the agency to affirm lactoferrin is safe for consumers.

The company also submitted scientific data showing that use of lactoferrin is safe for individuals who are allergic to milk, the agency said in a statement.

Foodborne illness. E. coli, which can result in kidney failure and death, is among the most dangerous of some two dozen harmful bacteria that cause an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness annually in the United States.

The amount of added lactoferrin that remains on the beef after spraying is comparable to the amount of lactoferrin that naturally occurs in the beef, aLF Ventures said.

The company also submitted scientific data to the USDA, which has authority over meat labels.

aLF Ventures is a joint venture between Farmland National Beef and DMV International, a unit of Dutch-based Campina AG.

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