Antibacterial film on meat could be coming to your dinner table

Lana Bandoim's picture
meat safety
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A new study reveals that an antibacterial film covering meat products may appear on people’s dinner menus in the future. The research, published in the Journal of Food Science, suggests that the process to make this meal option a reality is making progress. The film would be made from a combination of essential oils and nanoparticles to make meat safer.

Antibiotics on your meat and in your meat

The use of antibiotics in the meat industry has been a controversial issue with recent studies pointing out that antibiotic resistance may be linked to it. The industry uses 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics by feeding them to the chickens, pigs and cows people eventually see in their supermarkets as packaged meat. There have been attempts to limit or ban the use of antibiotics

Despite the ongoing debate about using antibiotics, researchers feel an antibacterial film can benefit consumers by making meat products safer. The version in the study resembles sausage casing and is composed of an edible polymer derived from a fungus. This polymer has essential oils and nanoparticles built into it to keep the products fresh.

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Antibacterial film covering meat products

Researchers state the polymer material is safe and completely edible, but they are also developing other ways to wrap meat products. They would like to create a plastic film that has the polymer built into it, so the items will only have to be wrapped once. The antibacterial film is capable of dissolving slowly into the products and creating a barrier of protection.

Caution

The researchers warn that these items are still in the early stages, and nanoparticles will have to be tested before they can be declared safe for the dinner tables. Consumers may also want to proceed with caution because adding extra sources of antibiotics to the diet may not be advisable, and the current concerns about antibiotic resistance should not be ignored.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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