USDA has granted approval for the use of Lactoferrin™ as a carcass rinse during processing to further protect beef from harmful bacteria. The approval is for a patented formulation of activated lactoferrin.

“This approval expands the industry's opportunity to use this natural food safety technology,” says Verdis Norton, president of aLF Ventures, LLC. His organization was created by National Beef Packing Company, LLC, DMV International and Farmland Industries to guide widespread commercialization of activated lactoferrin in the fresh meat marketplace.

The carcass processing aid technology, which will be marketed as Activin by aLF Ventures, will be in use at National Beef plants beginning this month, says John R. Miller, CEO of National Beef.

The Activin system includes an electrostatic application of activated lactoferrin to beef carcasses, followed by a rinse step to detach any remaining pathogenic bacteria from the surface of the meat.

USDA granted the additional approval as a process aid because lactoferrin is naturally found in meat tissue, is regarded as safe, and residual amounts of activated lactoferrin remaining on the carcass after application and rinsing are virtually undetectable.

Research has been completed by a number of universities validating the efficacy of the technology. Among them, Colorado State University, under a research grant received from the National Cattleman's Beef Association, demonstrated that the combination of Activin, followed by a 2% lactic acid rinse, protected beef better than any of the current intervention systems in place within the industry.

Activated lactoferrin is derived from milk or dairy products and protects beef against E. coli 0157:H7 and more than 30 different types of pathogenic bacteria. It prevents pathogenic bacteria from attaching to meat surfaces and also can be used to inhibit the growth of bacteria.

The protein has been activated to work the same way on the meat surface that mammalian milk naturally works to protect infants from harmful bacteria.

aLF Ventures, LLC holds the worldwide exclusive rights to activated lactoferrin for use in food safety.