E coli

Scientists in Ontario have used phage to destroy listeria and E coli cells on the surface of food. 

The University of Guelph researchers, whose work is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, stuck phage on to packaging material and when ready-to-eat or raw meat was wrapped in the package harmful pathogens were killed.

"This work has the potential to change the way today's food packaging operates, said Dr Mansel Griffiths, one of the researchers and director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety at the University of Guelph.

The use of phage – a harmless virus that can kill bacteria – as a food additive has been approved by Health Canada and the US FDA.