Discovery against food-borne illnesses

I read about a promising new discovery yesterday that could change the way we think about food-borne illnesses (click here if you want to read the article). Most of us are familiar with probiotics. We buy yogurts that contain them and we often pay more for it because of them. They are essentially bacteria that are good for our digestive system. This new discovery is a tweak in probiotics that renders many of the pathogens that can make us sick like E. coli, ineffective in harming us.

Although it is in the early stages of development, the entrepreneur behind it thinks it will not be many years before it comes to market. Once it does come to market however, it will likely first go to the livestock industry. As the article mentions, this path requires less regulation and will hopefully reduce the amounts of antibiotics that livestock use today.

It is unclear if the effect this new product will have on humans will be life changing or more similar to that of current probiotics. If it is life changing, then its success in the market will be a no brainer. However, if it is more like current probiotics where the effect is not clear and probably just as much psychological as physical, I still think it will be a big hit. Current probiotics are successful because they promote making us healthier. This new probiotic will be marketed as a shield against illness or a way to reduce sick days. To me this sounds even more powerful than slightly improving one’s health.

If or when this product comes to market, I expect that all of us will be buying it.