To prevent these food-borne tragedies from happening in the future, researchers are using harmless viruses called phage to kill targeted pathogens (including Listeria and E. coli) that could be present on the surface of foods. A phage, in simple terms, is a harmless virus that can kill bacteria. Phage use has received regulatory FDA approval in the
Sentinel researchers published work in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology describes their method to stick phage onto cellulose material and explains when foods (ready to eat meats, raw meats) are wrapped in the package the harmful cells of Listeria and E. coli are killed by phage that have been placed on the packaging. This packaging option works at refrigeration temperatures, at which pathogens can still grow. The packaging solution can be used for modified atmosphere and vacuum packaged meats. This is one of several technologies being investigated by the Sentinel Network, a NSERC strategic network that can help to make food-borne illness a thing of the past.