Clarity urged on phage use

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Regulation on phage usage needs to be examined on a case by case basis, claimed an expert
Regulation on phage usage needs to be examined on a case by case basis, claimed an expert

Related tags: regulations

A weapon to fight listeria in ready-to-eat foods can keep being sold in the EU under a European Court of Justice Order, but more rulings are needed to support similar solutions, one expert claims.

Last month’s decision made Micreos’ bacteriophage Listex P100 the first phage endorsed for such uses in the EU. Phages are viruses that kill certain species of bacteria.

Claire Burrows, senior associate at law firm Walker Morris, said the Order only covered Listex: “Phage technology is highly specific​ (phages must be specifically developed to tackle particular pathogens).

Individual assessment

“It can be presumed that any future EU phage regulation will require specific phages to be approved individually, following an assessment of efficacy, specificity, safety and potential issues associated with use.

“In the absence of specific regulations dealing with the use of phages in food processing, other phages are also likely to become the topic of lengthy and protracted debates over their ability to be used by food processors.

“This creates uncertainty about their legal use and regulation, thereby preventing EU consumers benefiting from this impressive technology, already widely used in the US, Australia and elsewhere.”

Related topics: Technical

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