Reduction of resistant germs along the food chain

Food does not need to be sterile, it is naturally affected by a multitude of germs. However, additionally to useful bacteria, which bring out the characteristics and flavour of the product, there are also unwanted bacteria such as spoiling germs and pathogens. [1]  For consumers, resistant bacteria are particularly dangerous, which can be passed on to the user by contact with the meat of infected, slaughtered animals, but also through food, such as raw vegetables and salad. [2] To avoid this, and to interrupt the chain of infection early on, there are stringent requirements for the hygienic environmental conditions of all storage and processing areas of food chains. In particular, this concerns:

  • Food processing rooms and slaughter houses [2]
  • Refrigerated vehicles
  • Cold stores

Antibacterial, high-tech materials equipped with silver nanoparticles can make an important contribution to avoiding unwanted germs in the food industry. An example of this are carbon or glass fibre reinforced plastics, which are used as very stable and at the same time very light construction materials, and, equipped with a special nano-silver surface, permanently kill germs in a few hours. Places of application for these antimicrobially active light construction materials are in food transport, or as a hygienic wall panel in food processing. [3]

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  1. Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit, Website:, aufgerufen am 22.03.2016
  2. Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, DART 2020 - Antibiotika-Resistenzen bekämpfen zum Wohl von Mensch und Tier, 2015
  3. Lamilux Unternehmensflyer: Lamilux AntiBac,aufgerufen am 22.03.2016
  4. Europäische Behörde für Lebensmittelsicherheit (EFSA) und Europäisches Zentrum für die Prävention und Kontrolle von Krankheiten (ECDC) The European Union summary report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in 2014, EFSA Journal, 2016:14(2):4380
  5. Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz (BMELV)  Strategien der Lebensmittelsicherheit, 2013
Germs in the food industry

The most common bacteria EU-wide, which show resistance to antibiotics and are found in the food industry, are Salmonellae, Campylobacter species and Escherichia coli (E.Coli). [4] Campylobacter spp. is the most frequent cause of diarrhoea in humans, besides Salmonellae. [1]  E.Coli can, particularly in its special form EHEC, in humans, cause mild to severe bloody diarrhoea. [1] Severe progression of the illness is observed primarily in small children, old people and immunosuppressed patients.

EHEC illness surge in 2011

The EHEC outbreak in 2011 was the largest Escherichia coli bacteria outbreak ever seen in Germany. 53 people died, and 3,842 people were taken ill, some seriously. Sprouts which are highly likely to have been grown from contaminated fenugreek seeds were identified as the cause. [5]