This will end my deli experiences!!
(CBS) In a Baltimore lab, scientists are harnessing billions of tiny organisms in a war against deadly food bacteria, reports CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano.
Were trying to make the food supply safer, says John Vazzana, CEO and president of the bioresearch company Intralytix.
Intralytix researchers are studying phages aka viruses ancient organisms that come in millions of different varieties.
Scientists have found six that are particularly good at killing listeria, a bacteria found on prepared foods such as lunch meat.
"They are very, very specific, so you have to find a phage that is effective against whatever is your target bacteria, says Vazzana.
Last month the FDA approved the use of this virus cocktail on food.
Coming soon to your deli counter: cold cuts and hotdogs that have been sprayed with this live virus.
Customers wont be able to tell from the taste, but each time they take a bite of meat treated with the formula, they are eating some phages as well.
The Attman family has served up corned beef and hot dogs for three generations and can't stomach the idea of spraying live viruses on their family recipes.
Asked if the idea of spraying viruses on his meat grosses him out, deli owner Mark Attman says yes. Of course it does. ... I would have a very hard time spraying that on meat.
But most people don't know that they already consume millions of these viruses every day they occur naturally in our water and on our food. What these scientists have done is harvest the most helpful ones.
And it's not just listeria. Scientists at Intralytix are developing phage sprays to kill other bacteria, such as salmonella, and E. coli.
Scientists believe they'll soon have an E. coli spray which could prevent another deadly spinach crisis.
We have a high degree of confidence that our E. coli phage product could make fruits and vegetables a lot safer for the American people, says Vazzana.
Safer, but like many things that may be good for you, a little hard to swallow.
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