Wasabi’s Natural Antimicrobial Properties Could Mean Safer Food

    150 People Fall Ill Due to Sushi Sold in Harris Teeter Supermarkets
    150 People Fall Ill Due to Sushi Sold in Harris Teeter Supermarkets

    Wasabi’s natural antimicrobial properties

    Control of pathogens is essential to food safety. In efforts to battle potential outbreaks of harmful bacteria in food, researchers are studying Wasabi’s natural antimicrobial properties and other natural antimicrobial compounds present in plants.  Wasabi’s natural antimicrobial properties are well known, but their full potential remains the subject of aggressive research.

    According to a research article by Lu et al. (2016) called Antibacterial Activities of Wasabi against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus aureus, the study’s results reveal that “wasabi has strong antibacterial property and has high potential to effectively control E. coli O157:H7 and S. aureus in foods” (Lu 2016). Wasabi’s natural antimicrobial properties  could be the key to protecting food during the farm-to-table journey.

    Industry is now taking great interest in using natural antimicrobial agents to control pathogens in ready-to-eat foods, and this includes research into the Wasabi’s natural antimicrobial properties. Missing a step that kills most bacterial pathogens, ready-to-eat foods do not get reheated before eating. Therefore, it’s important to control pathogens in foods.

    Two of the major pathogens that cause foodborne outbreaks are Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC O157) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). According to the CDC, there were an estimated 216,000 infections from E. coli in 2016[1], and these infections from STEC O157 can have long-term consequences such as post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Food poisonings from Staphylococcus aureus are attributed with symptoms of sudden nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps that typically last no more than three days. The prevalence of infections from Staphylococcus aureus are harder to estimate because many cases go unreported.

    Improper handling, processing, and storage of ready-to-eat packages still causes foodborne illnesses. Control of STEC O157 and S. aureus are essential to ensuring food safety in ready-to-eat packag

    Food Safety Contributor and author Laila Carter
    Laila Carter is a contributing editor and studies food safety at Kansas State

    es like salad mixes, nut butters, and pre-packaged bags of leafy-greens.


    Always follow basic food safety principles. Avoid eating food that’s been poorly handled, cooked, or stored. For example, that gas station tuna salad in your car from yesterday’s lunch, go ahead and toss it.

    As yet, the research into Wasabi’s natural antimicrobial properties continues, along with other natural anti-microbial plant-based investigations.

    [1] https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html

    Lu, Zhongjing et al. “Antibacterial Activities of Wasabi against Escherichia coliO157:H7 and Staphylococcus aureus” Frontiers in microbiology vol. 7 1403. 21 Sep. 2016, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.01403

    For more information about food safety, food poisoning, or to speak to a food poisoning lawyer.


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