Phages are the natural enemy of bacteria and specifically kills pathogens like Salmonella and Listeria by directly applying to food or processing surfaces via spraying, misting or dipping. For billions of years, phages have evolved together with bacteria. Food processors can now use them to eliminate harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria without altering the taste, colour, texture or aroma of meats, cheeses or vegetables.
Theo Cilliers, the CEO of PhageSpecialist, firmly believes that nature provides the best answers to today’s modern-day challenges. The relationship with PhageGuard (a leading company in Phage Technology -The Netherlands) results from that belief. PhageGuard products are renowned worldwide as the natural and organic solution to make food safer. Cilliers reiterated the importance of having a strong science base for any phage innovation. PhageGuard provides this scientific knowledge with the fundamental research at the world-leading Swiss University ETH in Zurich to the applied science with other universities and institutes at the point of use. PhageGuard’s knowledge and expertise are second to none.
In recent months, PhageSpecialist involved PhageGuard and the Centre for Food Safety at the University of Stellenbosch to research the impact of phages in South Africa. Although phages have scientifically proven to be effective on all food types, Cilliers chose the poultry industry with high labour intensity to prove phage's efficacy in typical South Africa conditions. This relationship resulted in a scientifically designed industrial trial on approximately three million chickens at the end of 2020.
Cilliers explained that this trial was made possible by the Dutch Oost NL in 2017, the NFIA (Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency) and the Dutch embassy in Pretoria directly after the listeria outbreak in South Africa. The RVO.nl (Rijksdienst Voor Ondernemend Nederland) provided a maximum subsidy for this trial.
The trial showed that using the product PhageGuard S against Salmonella has proven to reduce Salmonella contamination in affected flocks. PhageSpecialist will oversee problem-solving, protocols, marketing, and distribution in South Africa and SADEC Countries.
Together with the input and advice from the Centre for Food Safety, the South African food industry can now use PhageGuard (Listex) against Listeria and PhageGuard S against Salmonella in all processing applications. The Centre for Food Safety has expressed its interest to remain involved in and committed to supplying cutting edge state of the art solutions to ensure safer food for all.
Cilliers added that it is essential for the industry to note that the phage in PhageGuard Listex infects all Genus Listeria species commonly associated with food processing and that the phages contained in PhageGuard S infects all serovars of Salmonella. PhageGuard does not replace cleaning processes or good hygiene.
PhageGuard protects against possible recalls or outbreaks across the globe. PhageGuard protects food processors’ product and their customers but, most importantly, their consumers. PhageGuard proud itself that it has earned the trust of long pasting customers that rely on PhageGuard every day.
Lastly, Cilliers conclude with this bold statement that natural and organic phages are the most abundant organism on the planet and are the most logical candidate to address the food safety challenges long into the future. Especially now, scientific studies confirm the emergence of bacterial resistance against chemical alternatives.
PhageSpecialist, together with PhageGuard, The Centre for Food Safety, South African Poultry Association and Food Focus, will be hosting a complimentary webinar on 15 April at 11 am on the "EFFECTS OF BACTERIOPHAGES IN REDUCTION OF SALMONELLA ON WHITE MEAT DURING PROCESSING".
17 March 2021
Amendment to press release:
Cilliers corrected a figure for clarity purposes, over an extensive period over ten million chickens were trialled; only three million chickens were used to obtain the results as mentioned in the release.
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