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Originally published December 26 2013

Antibiotic era ending - Antimicrobial pecan shell extract can prevent Listeria contamination in organic meats

by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer

(NaturalNews) Stats prove that consumers are becoming more concerned about the quality of their meat. In the organic food industry, meat, fish and poultry are the fastest growing sector. Sales for organic meat were up 13% from 2010. On a global scale, organic food sales have increased more than 5 billion per year, with organic meat leading the way. The demand for purer meat is the people's rejection of cruel animal treatment, antibiotic overprescription and the misuse of questionable growth drugs. People around the world are calling out for better handling of meat and more natural processing.

Good news is on the way for organic meat production. As reported in the Journal of Food Science, pecan shell extract could make a viable antimicrobial preservative for organic meats. This discovery is brilliant and efficient. Instead of being discarded, pecan shells could be collected and used as a recyclable preservative.

Antibiotics to be phased out of meat in the years ahead

In order to be certified USDA organic meat, producers are restricted from using antibiotics. In Europe, all antibiotic use in animals is banned. The continued phase-out of antibiotics in all meat production should continue, especially in the US, where antibiotic use is extremely high. In the face of antibiotics, bacteria continue to "outwit" and "out survive" the prescriptions as newer and more dangerous strains form. Antibiotic resistance is growing, and many antibiotics are now pervasively ineffective for millions of people.

While it's obvious that antibiotics are over prescribed at the doctor's office, the volume prescribed to animals is three times greater across the board! This harsh reality of overmedicated humans and animals has gotten the attention of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as they awake from their slumber. Noting that 80% of antibiotics used in the US are used in animals, the FDA has recently announced a plan to phase out antibiotics in all processed meats in the years ahead.

Extra profit has taken precedence over human health and livelihood for too long.

In order to move forward with a new plan, antimicrobial substances must be extracted from natural sources and utilized efficiently to keep the future meat supply contaminant-free. This will most likely include pecan shell extract and could even include substances like garlic compounds, oregano and black walnut hull, to name a few possibilities.

Pecan shell extract eradicates Listeria bacteria strains from poultry skin cells

Listeria is a pesky meat contaminant, a genus of bacteria that can spread and effect pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. New research shows that Listeria bacterium contamination can be drastically reduced when treated with pecan shell extract.

In the study, pecan shells, both roasted and unroasted, were tested against the ornery Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes serotypes. Using a solvent-free extraction process, researchers were able to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration of antimicrobial content from the pecan shells. They even took it a step further and applied Listeria bacteria cells to a poultry skin model system, treating the bacteria with pecan shell extract to see the real-life growth inhibition before them.

The antimicrobial effectiveness of the pecan shell extract was strong. In the poultry skin model, the researchers witnessed a 2-log reduction (100 times less) of Listeria bacteria strains. Moreover, a 4-log reduction (10,000 times less) of the indigenous spoilage bacteria was observed after pecan shell extract was administered. In the end, the solvent-free extracts of pecan shells inhibited Listeria strains at minimum inhibitory concentrations as low as 0.38%.

The researchers believe that their work could pave the way for new antimicrobial preservation in organic meat production in the years ahead.

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