Food Safety

Grad student discovers packaging that keeps food clean—and free of bacteria, too.

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According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans got food poisoning last year than in years past—with salmonella cases driving the increase. And an unusually aggressive strain of E. coli not yet seen in the U.S. is behind the current large outbreak of food poisoning in Europe, mostly Germany.

Want some good news?

Foods packaged in a new “killer paper” material developed by an Israeli grad student could keep foods safer—while also extending shelf life.

Scientists are reporting development and successful lab tests of a material intended for use as a new food packaging material that helps preserve foods by fighting the bacteria that cause spoilage.

The paper, described in American Chemical Society journal Langmuir, contains a coating of silver nanoparticles—each 1/50,000 the width of a human hair—that act as powerful antibacterial agents.

Professor Aharon Gedanken and colleagues note that the coated paper showed potent antibacterial activity against E. coli and S. aureus—two causes of bacterial food poisoning—killing all of the bacteria in just three hours.

The new coating used on “killer paper” might someday be added to plastic bags and cartons. Silver is already widely used as a germ-fighter in medicinal ointments, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and even odor-resistant socks.

Source: The American Chemical Society

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  1. Colloidal silver for medicinal uses has been around for many, many years. In recent times there has been an effort by “someone” to discredit colloidal silver, indicating that it may be dangerous to use. I would be interested in some sort of “proof of the pudding.” The “killer paper” sounds like a very good idea, IF it has been clinically tested as being safe. Is it absorbed into the food in the packaging? If so, how much silver is safely ingested? —


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