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Do You Know Nutrition: How safe is use of bacteriophage in foods?

By By Phylis Canion
Oct. 9, 2012 at 5:09 a.m.

Phylis Canion

Is it true that the virus bacteriophage is used on meats? Does it have to be listed on the product label? If so, under what name?

In the Federal Register of Aug. 18, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it had approved the use of bacteriophage (a virus that kills bacteria) preparation made from six individually purified phages to be used on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products as an antimicrobial agent.

The phage preparation is used in meat and poultry processing plants for spray application to the surface of RTE meat and poultry products, such as lunch meats and hot dogs, to kill listeria. This is the first time the FDA has regulated the use of a phage preparation as a food additive.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, use of this additive must comply with the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act and needs to be declared as an ingredient on the label of the treated meat or poultry product as "bacteriophage preparation" or "treated with an antimicrobial solution to reduce microorganisms."

Certified organic meats will not contain any additives of any type. It is best to always read the label.

I was recently diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune mechanism forms antibodies that attack the body's own tissue. What dietary recommendations would you suggest?

There are two types of lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). Regardless of which case you have, here are some nutritional recommendations.

Eat a diet low in fat, salt, and animal protein. Asparagus, eggs, garlic and onions contain sulfur, which is needed for repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage and connective tissue and aids in the absorption of calcium.

Brown or black rice, fish, leafy green vegetables, non-acidic fruits, oatmeal and gluten-free whole grains are very important and beneficial. Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, which is excellent for reducing inflammation.

Do not consume milk, red meat, caffeine, paprika, tobacco and anything that contains sugar. Avoid the nightshade vegetables (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and white potatoes), as these foods contain solanine, which can contribute to inflammation and pain.

It is also important to avoid alfalfa sprouts because they contain canavain, a toxic substance that is incorporated into protein in place of arginine. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of good water and moderate exercise can also be beneficial.

Thought for the week: Dream as if you will live forever. Live as if you will die today. - James Dean

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at doc.phyl@yahoo.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.

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