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Utah State University is seeking companies interested in commercializing or licensing for use a technology that controls harmful Listeria monocytogenes, yielding much needed methods of preserving and protecting ready-to-eat (RTE) meats and other foods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 2,500 persons become seriously ill with listeriosis, the disease caused by L. monocytogenes, each year in the United States. Of these, 500 die, rendering it an important public health problem. Researchers at in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Utah State University have developed a new method to inhibit growth and proliferation of L. monocytogenes using levulinate without altering food taste, which can protect food safety and quality, as well as extend shelf life and stability.
Features and Benefits
  • Ready-to-eat (RTE) meats, processed meat, prepared meat products, and meat carcasses
    • Cured meat products
    • Non-cured or uncured meat
  • Dairy foods (cottage cheese, etc.)
  • Deli foods, fruits, and vegetables
  • Pre-treatment of food packaging
  • Kit with applicator and instructions
  • Combined with other ingredients, can extend shelf life and stability
  • Anti-listerial additives meet USDA requirements for lowest testing frequency, reducing manufacturers’ compliance costs
  • Anti-listerial status, reducing manufacturer risk and liability from outbreaks
  • GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status recognized by FDA, increasing likelihood of USDA acceptance
  • Approved flavor adjunct, preserving flavor
  • Can be combined and rotated with other additives, reducing microbial resistance
The invention of levulinate as an effective antimicrobial against Listeria monocytogenes represents a significant leap in food safety. Levulinate, which is currently used as a nutritional supplement in foods, has been shown to have antimicrobial activity against the broad spectrum of L. monocytogenes strains and serovars that are known to be potential health problems when present in meat and other foods. Levulinate may also enhance food taste, unlike current acetates, which leave a vinegar taste. 
Development Stage
Laboratory tests have been completed, and utility patent application has been filed. Levulinate still needs to be approved by FSIS.
US Patent Pending
Berry Treat
Senior Commercialization Associate
Life Sciences
(435) 797-4569
Reference: W06042