Research – Spraying an army of bacteria-eating viruses can save us from food poisoning

Interesting Engineering

Every year more than 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses, and various other types of pathogens. Food contamination is often underestimated, but it is responsible for 420,000 deaths annually. This number represents more people than the entire population of Iceland.

After being produced on a farm, food passes through a lot of channels before it makes it to our platter. Preventing it from contamination is almost impossible. However, a team of researchers from McMaster University in Ontario has figured out a way to free food from disease-causing bacteria before it goes into your stomach, according to a press release.

They have developed a food decontamination spray that employs food-safe microscopic beads containing bacteriophages (viruses that kill bacteria). The researchers claim, during the study, they were able to free lettuce and meat from E. coli 0157, a common food-borne pathogen that infects the human intestine and causes health issues such as diarrhea. 

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