New Technology Designed to Naturally Protect Beef from Harmful Bacteria

KANSAS CITY -- National Beef, a leading beef packing company, has implemented a new, natural food safety technology that is designed to further protect consumers from harmful bacteria that may be present in meat, including E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria.

The technology, branded under the name Activin, involves the use of an activated form of lactoferrin, a natural protein that is credited with protecting infants from bacteria while their immune system is developing. Lactoferrin also is naturally present in beef. By discovering how to activate the lactoferrin molecule, scientists were able to mimic its bacteria-fighting properties on the surface of beef.

National Beef has begun using Activin at its operations in Dodge City and Liberal, Kan. Customers can expect to receive Activin-treated product by early next week.

"We are fully committed to providing consumers with the safest, most wholesome, and most nutritious beef possible," said John R. Miller, chief executive officer of National Beef. "The ability to use a natural ingredient to further protect consumers against harmful bacteria is a significant step not only for National Beef, but for our entire industry as well."

According to Miller, Activin will be included as the final step in the company's existing food safety interventions. The system includes an electrostatic application of Activin, followed by a water rinse to detach any remaining pathogenic bacteria from the meat surface.

Research results prove Activin protects beef against E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria, and more than 30 other types of pathogenic bacteria. It does not influence the nutritional qualities of beef products or affect its taste, texture, color, or aging qualities.

Activin was researched and developed by aLF Ventures, LLC, of Salt Lake City. It has been fully approved for use during processing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It also has received GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While the use of Activin will make beef products safer, consumers also are encouraged to follow proper food safety procedures at home.

"Consumers should be diligent about food safety at home," said Janet Anderson, director of the Safe Food Institute and associate professor at Utah State University. "This includes handling food properly and making sure food is cooked to the recommended temperature."

For a complete guide to food safety at home, Anderson recommends consumers visit http://www.fightbac.org.

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