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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Cinnamon essential oil can naturally prevent dangerous foodborne illnesses

Cinnamon essential oil can naturally prevent dangerous foodborne illnessesEssential oil of cinnamon is a potent antibacterial agent that may be useful as a natural method for preventing the spread of foodborne illness, according to a study conducted by researchers from Washington State University that is scheduled for publication in the journal Food Control in December 2014. The study was conducted on the oil of the cinnamon variety known as cassia or Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia). This is different from the Ceylon variety (Cinnamomum verum) more commonly used in cooking. Researchers tested the essential oil against the top six strains of a variety of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or non-O157 STEC

Bacteria wiped out within 24 hours

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service has a “zero tolerance” policy for these six strains in raw ground beef or trimmings. This means that, if any of the six strains are detected in these products, the food is considered tainted.
Non-O157 STEC is responsible for approximately 110,000 cases of foodborne illness in the United States each year.
The researchers found that just 10 drops of cinnamon essential oil in a liter of water were able to kill all six strains of non-O157 STEC within 24 hours.
“The oil can be incorporated into films and coatings for packaging both meat and fresh produce,” researcher Lina Sheng said. “It can also be added into the washing step of meat, fruits or vegetables to eliminate microorganisms.”
Growing concern over the health effects of chemical preservatives and other foodadditives have led to a growing market for natural alternatives. The Washington State researchers are now planning to investigate whether dandelions can be used to inhibit the bacteria that lead to bacterial mastitis, a mammary infection, in dairy cows.
“Our focus is on exploring plant-derived natural food bioactive compounds as antimicrobials to control foodborne pathogens, in order to ensure safety of fresh produce,” co-author Meijun Zhu said.

The future of food preservation

In recent years, many other researchers have also been exploring natural food preservatives and antimicrobials. For example, a study conducted by scientists from the National University of Technology in Argentina and published in the journalFood Chemistry in 2007 found that propolis extract could also function as a natural antibacterial preservative.
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