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WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration late last week approved a combination of six viruses, known as bacteriophages, or "bacteria eaters," to be sprayed on meat and poultry just prior to packaging, to battle strains of Listeria monocytogenes.
Listeria monocytogenes can cause an infection known listeriosis, which is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, very young childen, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. About 2,500 people fall ill with listeriosis annually in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of which 500 die.
According to the FDA, the spray-on viruses don't affect human cells.