Antibiotics as Food Preservatives

Reese H. Vaughn, Ph.D.; George F. Stewart, Ph.D.
JAMA. 1960;174(10):1308-1310. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63030100001016.
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In 1943, Tarr and associates1 began to explore the use of various antibiotics for the preservation of fish. They found two tetracyclines, chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline, especially effective. In 1945, Curran and Evans2 reported that penicillin had a sporicidal effect on a number of bacteria, including Bacillus stearothermophilus, one of the causes of "flat-sour" spoilage in canned vegetables. Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration3 approved the use of chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline on eviscerated poultry. Canadian authorities4 sanctioned the use of these antibiotics on both poultry and fish. Since these decisions, many firms have been considering commercial application for antibiotics in the handling and distribution of their products.

Antibiotics as Acceptable Food Preservatives  Antibiotics are not yet universally accepted as preservatives. An acceptable food preservative should not create a hazard to public health or conceal inferiority in a product. It should significantly increase retention of quality


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