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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.
About 100 years ago in Paris, a type of virus was discovered that eats bacteria. They called it bacteriophages (Greek for "bacteria eater") or phages for short.
These phages are commonly found in our food, water, environment, and even our digestive tracts. The Doctors in Paris thought they had discovered the key to controlling bacteria. But, when antibiotics were discovered the research into phages was almost abandoned, but not quite.
In the Soviet Union, the research continued and institutes were set up to develop therapies using these bacteria eating virus.
Today we have a growing medical problem with the appearance of antibiotic resistant germs. Some Western researchers are revisiting phages (the germ eating viruses) as an alternative or supplement to conventional bacteria-fighting therapies.
One business that is making use of this research is a company called Intralytix, Inc. based in Baltimore, MD, USA.
Chronic Exposure: Under some circumstances methemoglobinemia occurs in individuals when the nitrate is converted by bacteria in the stomach to nitrite.
Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, rapid heart beat, irregular breathing, convulsions, coma, and death can occur should this conversion take place.
Bacteriaphages are grown in a preparation of the same bacteria they are designed to kill, and then purified.
According to Intralytix, typical phages have hollow heads that store their viral DNA and tunnel tails with tips that bind to specific molecules on the surface of their target bacteria.
The viral DNA is injected through the tail into the host cell, where it directs the production of progeny phages. These "young" phages burst from the host cell, thereby destroying it, and go on to infect more bacteria.
The viruses will not kill any organism other than their target bacteria.
Originally posted by Now_Then
I think viruses are much much smaller that the bacteria - I could be wrong... I just hope things work like they are supposed to - any life form of any size usually has a few unexpected tricks
How do we know weather years down the line some one figures a way to make this harmful? Imagine everyone suddenly getting AIDS or Ebola variants from Dhelli counter cold meats....
Originally posted by casualburger
No amount of mutation will ever result in these bacteriophages making you sick by infecting you.