New Research Shows Cranberries Can be a Natural and Effective Tool for Food Safety

    TORONTO, Aug. 9 /CNW/ - There's a new weapon in the fight against food
borne illness - the cranberry. New research suggests cranberries not only
protect your body from bacteria but your food as well.
    According to Health Canada, an estimated 11 to 13 million Canadians
suffer from illnesses caused by food borne illness every year(1). Bacteria
grow rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees(F) and can double every 15 minutes at
room temperature and become four million bacteria in only eight hours.
    New research out of the University of Maine finds cranberries may offer a
unique line of defense against bacteria in beef patties, reducing the growth
of Salmonella, pathogenic E. coli and other types of food related bacteria.
    "While last year our research proved that cranberry's antimicrobial
effect offers a unique line of defense against food poisoning, this year we
also focused on taste and found that it wasn't sacrificed. This is great news
for those who are seeking natural alternatives to chemical additives in food.
We have learned cranberries are a nutritional powerhouse offering many health
benefits, that are a great tool for food safety," said Dr. Vivian Chi Hua Wu.
    Building on previous research, Dr. Wu - lead researcher at the University
of Maine has proved that cranberries not only protect against harmful bacteria
in hamburgers, but also that people don't notice a change in taste when
cranberry was added to the meat. In a study presented last year at the IFT,
researchers added cranberry concentrate to samples of raw ground beef tainted
with several types of bacteria that frequently cause food related illness.
After observing the ground beef over several days, scientists discovered that
the cranberry concentrate significantly reduced the growth of Salmonella, E.
coli and other dangerous bacteria in the beef. In a new study, Dr. Wu and her
colleagues reproduced these results with a strain of pathogenic E. coli and,
further, tested the effect of different amounts of cranberry on the taste of
burgers. Dr. Wu presented her findings at the Institute of Food Technologist
(IFT) Annual Meeting on July 31(2007).
    Cranberries are widely known for their unique "anti-adhesion" activity
that protects the body from certain harmful bacteria that cause urinary tract
infections (UTIs), stomach ulcers and gum disease. This anti-adhesion activity
is primarily due to a natural compound in the fruit called proanthocyanidins
(PACs). Cranberry's PACs contain a unique A-type structure, while most other
foods contain only the more-common B-type PACs. It is cranberry's A-type PACs
that are responsible for this anti-adhesion mechanism of action.
    Since cranberry PACs also function as antioxidants, they provide a dual
anti-adhesion and antioxidant health benefit. With more PACs and antioxidants
per gram than most fruit, cranberries ward off certain bacteria and bolster
the body's defenses against free radical damage that can contribute to many
chronic diseases including heart disease.

    About Ocean Spray
    Ocean Spray is an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 650
cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington,
British Columbia, and other parts of Canada as well as more than 100 Florida
grapefruit growers. The company was formed 75 years ago by three cranberry
growers from Massachusetts and New Jersey, and Florida grapefruit growers
joined the Cooperative in 1976.
    Ocean Spray is North America's leading producer of canned and bottled
juices and juice drinks, and has been the best-selling brand name in the
canned and bottled juice category since 1981.


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