The Chemical That Makes Food Fresh For Forever

Discovered by accident, the naturally-occurring bisin preservative could be injected into our foodstuffs as soon as it gets the thumb's up from regulators. And then, there'd be no need to throw food out, as shelf-life is prolonged by years.

It sounds like scary stuff—and the exact opposite of the organic revolution that's swept through supermarkets and grocery stores. Now patented, Bisin was discovered by microbiologists at the University of Minnesota, and is apparently safe to consume. Unlike that week-old pot of yoghurt that's been going blue in the corner of your fridge. But if bisin really does have a place in our future—in our stomachs!—then there's no fear of eating food which has expired its shelf life, as it reportedly kills bacteria and prevents E.coli, salmonella and listeria from growing.

This could be good news for pregnant women and newborns, as listeria, while rare, is particularly deadly with around 500 people dying each year in the US alone. Found in dairy and meat products, it's also one of the reasons pregnant women are told to avoid eating soft cheese.

There are obvious reasons why this preservative sounds so attractive. We'd have to buy less food, thus saving money, and the risk of contracting illnesses would be lessened. But why does it leave me feeling so cold? Nothing beats fresh food, and I doubt anyone would be able to get over the mental block of drinking milk that's been in the fridge for three months. But as it's expected to be used commercially by food makers within the next three years, we've got plenty of time to work up a taste for synthetic food, I suppose. [The Telegraph]

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