MARCH 3, 2004 | A major breakthrough in food safety that originated in a research laboratory at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has won the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). UAMS and Safe Foods Corporation today announced the notice of approval by the FDA for Cecure™, an anti-bacterial spray for poultry, which will soon be deployed in the war against food-borne illnesses.
A team of scientists at UAMS led by Danny Lattin, Ph.D., in collaboration with Michael F. Slavik, Ph.D., at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, discovered cetylpyridinium chloride (“CPC,” trade name Cecure) to be a highly effective biocide initially against Salmonella. It has subsequently been found to be very effective against E. coli, Listeria, and Campylobacter. Other College of Pharmacy faculty members who were part of that original research team include Phil Breen, Ph.D., Kim Fifer, Ph.D., and Cesar Compadre, Ph.D.
At a news conference at UAMS announcing the approval of Cecure™, Safe Foods President and CEO Curtis Coleman praised UAMS where scientists discovered that CPC, the active ingredient in several over-the-counter mouthwashes and throat lozenges, could kill food-borne pathogens. “The preliminary discovery at UAMS has led to the next generation of food safety antimicrobial technology that has the ability to increase food safety around the world,” Coleman said.
UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., congratulated Coleman and the UAMS scientists who made the initial discovery on the FDA approval. He noted that scientific discoveries of new products and applications, like Cecure™, should become an important source of revenue for UAMS.
Stephanie Gardner, Ph.D, Ed.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy, recognized Breen, Fifer, and Compadre, three of the original research team who discovered CPC was effective in killing bacteria and thanked them for their tireless efforts in conducting research. “Their work offers global possibilities for helping to ensure the safety of the world’s food supply,” she said.
Dr. Timothy O’Brien, the Director of UAMS BioVentures, a biotechnology business accelerator, home to 15 start-up companies at UAMS where Safe Foods originated, believes the impact of this antimicrobial technology (Cecure) and the Safe Foods team can have a very positive impact on the future of biotechnology in Arkansas. Safe Foods is the exclusive worldwide licensee of UAMS’ use and composition patents for the application of CPC as an anti-microbial spray for foods. UAMS will receive income from the sale of Cecure™.
Extensive laboratory research, including commercial trials, conducted by Safe Foods’ research and development team has proven the technology discovered at UAMS to be effective in dramatically reducing food-borne pathogens, without affecting the color, odor, texture or taste of foods. Safe Foods expects to be aggressively seeking regulatory approval for the use of Cecure in other countries around the world as well as for other areas of the food processing industry.
The need for new food safety technology is apparent from news reports of food-borne illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are 76 million food-borne infections, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,200 deaths in the United States each year. Food recalls have dominated news headlines over the last several years.