Genencor launches enzyme technology for meat processors

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bovine spongiform encephalopathy

Genencor International is to launch its Prionzyme as a sanetising
device for meat processors - equipment that will help ensure
optimum hygiene and also prevent the spread of Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy in slaughter houses.

The company says that ultimately the technology substantially eliminate causative agents of such disease from all surfaces that might come in to contact with animals during the slaughtering process.

The company says that a European Notified Body has assessed and certified what it claims is the first enzyme technology designed specifically as a prion disinfectant for such purposes.

Prions, the causative agents of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and its human form, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), have been a concern in countries like the United Kingdom in recent years due to a lack of technology to reduce the risk from the protein-based particles on medical instruments.

Developed jointly with the United Kingdom's Health Protection Agency (HPA) and independently certified for use by a European Community Notified Body, Prionzyme carries the CE mark (Conformité Européenne).

Initially the product is being launched to disinfect medical instruments utilised in invasive surgeries, such as procedures related to the central nervous system, eyes and tonsils, where prions have been shown to accumulate in the body. This launch will then be followed by a Prionzyme line of products targeted for for sanitizing equipment for the meat processing industry.

The company says that the enzyme-based technology will replace traditional harsh and caustic chemical disinfectant methods, which in turn will also reduce worker safety and environmental issues.

"Using the tools of biotechnology to address important issues facing the world today, Genencor has commercialised the first enzyme technology to target this unconventional, infectious agent,"​ said Thomas Pekich, president of Genencor.

"Our partnership with the HPA combined with the protease technology expertise we've built over the past two decades has been key to addressing this difficult problem,"​ he added.

Grenecor vice president John Gell says the technology will improve worker safety because it means that workers will no longer be exposed to harsh chemichals and will also relieve "concern about disposal of caustic chemicals and providing material compatibility where proteases have been used in conjunction with stainless steel and other components for decades,"

The development of the technology falls in line with concerted efforts in Europe to avoid future outbreaks of animal-related disease, particularly those that can also affect humans.

At the end of 2004, the EU agreed a €98m budget that aims to tackle diseases such as BSE and vCJD. The safety project is currently working on methods that will improve meat safety for the whole of the European Union.

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