Bisin would keep sandwiches on the shelves for much longer.
You don’t have time to make a packed lunch before work? Soon you could make it a year in advance. Scientists have discovered a natural preservative which could spell the end of rotting food.
They have pinpointed the substance which destroys the bacteria that make meat, fish, eggs and dairy products decompose.
The preservative, called bisin, could extend the food’s life for several years – and even work for opened bottles of wine and salad dressing.
The discovery is set to revolutionise the way we shop and reduce the 20 millions of food waste thrown out in the UK every year.
Bisin occurs naturally in some types of harmless bacteria. It prevents the growth of lethal bacteria including E-coli, salmonella and listeria.
The substance could extend the life of a variety of everyday foods which have strict use-by dates including seafood, cheese and canned goods.
In some cases these foods could last for years and may not even need to be kept in the fridge, the researchers at the University of Minnesota claim.
The scientists, who have patented the substance, are already in talks with food manufacturers. The first products containing bisin are expected to be on the market within three years.
Dr Dan O’Sullivan, an Irish microbiologist who works at the university, made the discovery by accident while examining a culture of bacteria found in the human intestine.
He said: ‘It seems to be much better than anything which has gone before. It doesn’t compromise nutrient quality – we are not adding a chemical, we are adding a natural ingredient.
‘It’s aimed at protecting foods from a broad range of bugs that cause disease.’
Bisin will not prevent fruit and vegetables rotting as they decompose in a different way.
Sandwiches, takeaways and ready meals have become a staple part of our diet, but mass production has increased the risks of food poisoning. There were 85,000 cases last year.
Salmonella was one of the biggest culprits, accounting for around one in eight of those.
Up to 500 people die from food poisoning in England and Wales every year.
Bisin is chemically related to nisin which is already used to keep processed cheese sterile and edible for decades so it does not require pharmaceutical testing.
Last month food and drink wholesaler Booker revealed it would start supplying sandwiches with a shelf-life of two weeks to convenience stores and corner shops.
The sandwich, the firm says, is designed to minimise wastage by retailers.
The secret to its long life is in the ingredients, including oatmeal bread, as well as a protective atmosphere inside the packaging.
It uses a process of gas flushing in which oxygen in the packaging is replaced by CO2 and nitrogen.
British households throw out £5billion worth of uneaten food a year, a study has revealed.
The average household bins a staggering ten per cent of their weekly shop, while one in five families wastes more than a quarter.
Just 71 per cent of shoppers say they think about waste while buying food and try not to take home too much, the poll by LG Electronics found.
But 15 per cent admit they make no effort to reduce their waste.
Via Daily Mail