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Cinnamon may offer a natural key to prevent foodborne illness

Harold Mandel's picture

Foodborne illness is a very serious problem which is responsible for a great deal of morbidity and mortality. An awareness of this problem generally prompts people to be a great deal more careful about handling food and where they choose to eat out. Recent research has shown cinnamon may be a natural key to helping to prevent foodborne illness.

Cinnamomum cassia oil has an m inhibitory effect on Escherichia coli

Cinnamomum cassia oil has been found by researchers to have an inhibitory effect on non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli reported the journal Food Control. Many foodborne outbreaks have been caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). The significance of non-O157 STEC has been underestimated and they have therefore gained far less attention until increasing outbreaks were seen recently.

Cinnamomum cassia oil has the potential to be used as an antibacterial agent in the food industry

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the use of natural plant materials as antimicrobial agents. For this study researchers tested the antibacterial efficacy of Cinnamomum cassia oil on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's “top six” non-O157 STECs, which includes O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145. It was concluded that Cinnamomum cassia oil can effectively inhibit the growth of non-O157 STECs at low concentrations. It has been suggested that Cinnamomum cassia oil has the potential to be used as a natural antibacterial agent in the food industry.

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Cinnamon has promise as a natural agent to help prevent foodborne illnesses

Two Washington state scientists have been seeking ways to prevent some of the most serious foodborne illnesses which are caused by pathogenic bacteria. These scientists have found promise
in the ancient but common cooking spice cinnamon reports Washington State University. It was observed in this study that Cinnamomum cassia oil killed several strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli which are known to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “non-O157 STEC.”

The demand for natural food additives is strong

Co-author of the study Meijun Zhu has said that increasing health concerns dealing with chemical additives has strengthened demand for natural food additives. She shared that the focus of her work has been to explore the potential use of plant-derived natural food bioactive compounds as antimicrobials to control foodborne pathogens.

Study co-author Lina Sheng says about 110,000 cases of foodborne illness are caused a year by non-O157 STEC. Cinnamomum cassia oil can be incorporated into films and coatings which are used for packaging meat and fresh produce. This essential oil can also be added into the washing step of meat, fruits or vegetables in order to eliminate pathogens. Cassia cinnamon is produced primarily in Indonesia.

This research is very significant in view of how debilitating and even lethal foodborne illness can be. A tasty natural oil for the prevention of such a serious condition appears like a fantasy. However, researchers have found that the power of Cassia cinnamon oil to fight pathogens which cause foodborne illness is for real. This finding raises interest in this tasty manner to help keep food healthy.