Phages used to reduce Salmonella by 90 percent in meat products

Assistant Professor Amilton de Mello, from the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources at the University of Nevada, Reno, presented his research at the international American Meat Science Association’s conference June 20-22 in Texas.

Amilton de Mello“We were able to reduce salmonella by as much as 90 percent in ground poultry, ground pork and ground beef,” de Mello reported. “We’re excited to be able to show such good results, food safety is an important part of our work and salmonella is one of the most prevalent bacteria in the nation’s food supply.”

De Mello’s research treated meat products infected with four types of salmonella by applying Myoviridae bacteriophages during mixing. Bacteriophages are commonly found in our environment. They are viruses that can only harm specific bacterial cells and are harmless to humans, animals and plants.

In the experiments, the salmonella bacteria was inoculated on refrigerated meat and poultry trim, then the treatment was applied to the meat before grinding. The bacteriophages invaded the cells of the bacteria and destroyed them.

“On the final ground meat products, there was a 10-fold decrease of salmonella,” de Mello said. “The results are very encouraging and we’re hoping this can be adopted by the meat industry to increase food safety.”

Reno child gets Campylobacter from illegal bathtub cheese

Don’t eat cheese made in a bathtub.

The Washoe County Health District in Reno, Nevada, announced that a child became seriously ill from Campylobacter after eating homemade cheese that was illegally sold door-to-door.

Tracie Douglas, the health district’s spokeswoman, said she does not know when the child became ill or if the youngster had to be hospitalized. Also unavailable is the child’s age, gender or city of residence.

Because queso fresco is made with unpasteurized milk in unsanitary and unlicensed facilities, it poses a serious health threat to consumers, particularly the elderly, young, pregnant women, and people who have weakened immune systems.

Although it has not been determined if the cheese that made the child sick was made locally, it is being sold door-to-door in the Truckee Meadows throughout Hispanic communities, health officials said.