As a topic of global importance, World Food Safety day aims to bring awareness to and stress the importance of actions towards preventing, detecting, and managing food-borne risks—ensuring food safety. The celebration embraces the theme: 'Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow.’ Since food safety requests action from everyone, including governments, agriculture and food producers, businesses, consumers and many more, Vitafoods Insights is picking up the cause in the nutraceutical industry.
Innovation is key for the evolution of food safety practices, and, according to a recent review published in Biointerface Research in Applied Chemistry (DOI: https://doi.org/10.33263/BRIAC116.1452914544), postbiotics show a promising application in food safety practices. Standards such as good agricultural production practices (GAP), good hygiene practices (GHP), good production management systems (GMP), and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) already exist to improve food safety. However, food safety remains a big concern, and risk factors can include physical, chemical, and biological factors, with bacteria playing a key role in food spoilage and pathogenicity.
As pathogens compromise food safety, controlling these microbes is one of the key methods to achieve food safety. Probiotics have been used to both inhibit virulent microbes and promote longer shelf life of products; however, using probiotics for food safety purposes can potentially cause detrimental effects. The review suggests that postbiotics could be a better candidate to promote food safety. “Postbiotics have positive properties such as definitive chemical structure, safety profile, and longer shelf life, in addition to possessing immune-modulatory, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-obesity, anti-hypertensive, cholesterol-lowering, and antiproliferative properties," researchers noted. Further, postbiotics are non-toxic, easy to transport, less expensive to store, and have shelf-lives up to five years—attractive for commercial purposes.
The antimicrobial properties of postbiotics are from their organic acids, bacteriocins, peptides, fatty acids, and hydrogen peroxide compounds. Vitamins produced by probiotics mother strains are also beneficial to inhibiting pathogenic ones, especially vitamin C. Postbiotics can be used for food biopreservation and to maintain and destroy the biofilm formation of bacteria in foods. For brand owners and manufacturers looking to work with postbiotics, the review details a microencapsulation technique can protect postbiotics from internal and external factors, ensuring optimal efficacy. Researchers concluded: “Due to their unique features (safe profile and stability in the manufacturing and storage conditions), postbiotics can be used as a promising tool to prevent the growth of potential food-borne pathogens and promote host health status.” Such applications of postbiotics in ensuring food safety may also enhance consumers’ health through functional foods, functional ingredients, and nutraceuticals.