Antimicrobial Agent Kills Food-Borne Pathogens Safely

Deadly microbes such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria are a big concern for food-processing plants. Despite the food industry’s efforts to maintain clean work environments, these organisms still enter the food chain and sicken thousands of people every year.

To tackle this problem, a team of scientists at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), led by Danny Lattin, Ph.D., in collaboration with Michael F. Slavik, Ph.D., at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (UAF), researched cetylpyridinium chloride, or CPC, and discovered it to be a highly effective antimicrobial treatment for killing food-borne microbes.

Initial funding for this work came from the Food Safety Consortium, a group of researchers from UAMS, UAF, Iowa State University and Kansas State University. Further research and development of the CPC application, sold under the Cecure® brand name, was completed by Safe Foods Corp., which has licensed the technology from UAMS BioVentures.

Significant kill rates of pathogens can be accomplished with Cecure® without altering the taste, texture, odor and appearance of the food product.

Many of the largest U.S. poultry processors are now treating their products with this biocide. With additional U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for more  food applications soon to come, and keen international interest, Cecure® is expected to be used in the largest food-processing countries within the next several years. The development of Cecure® has created more than 50 technical, high-paying jobs in the U.S. — a number that is expected to double by 2010.


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