April 21, 2018

Researchers Find Cinnamon a Natural Antibacterial Agent

Researchers at Washington State University have found that cinnamon may help prevent food poisoning by killing pathogenic bacteria. Their work has been published in Food Control Journal.

E coli bacteriaIt turns out that cinnamomum cassia oil is very effective at killing the top six non-O157 STEC (shiga toxin producing E. coli) bacteria. The major component in C. cassia oil is cinnamaldehyde. The government recently declared the six non-O157 STEC bacteria as adulterants and require testing for those bacteria in beef slaughter plants.There is a “zero tolerance” policy for those bacteria in raw ground beef and trimmings.

The essential oil “killed several strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli” according to the researchers, and it is effective in low concentrations. Just 10 drops in a liter of water killed the bacteria in 24 hours.

The demand for natural food additives is rising, as concerns about chemical additives are increasing. Co-author of the study, Dr. Meijun Zhu, an assistant professor in the School of Food Science said in a statement, “our focus is on exploring plant-derived natural food bioactive compounds as antimicrobials to control food-borne pathogens, in order to ensure safety of fresh produce.”

About 110,000 cases of STEC illnesses occur every year in the United States. And produce is sometimes contaminated by those pathogenic bacteria, either in the production chain or in the fields due to runoff from farms.

The researchers believe that the oil can be put into films and coatings for meat and fresh produce. And facilities could also include it while washing produce and meat during processing.

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