The Food and Drug Administration issued a release saying it considers that using lactoferrin to fight Escherichia coli O157:H7 is safe. This antimicrobial protein, found in cow's milk and beef (in neutrophils), can be applied to beef carcasses at the slaughterhouse.
The FDA has concluded that lactoferrin is "generally recognized as safe" for the general population as well as for individuals who are allergic to milk. The FDA considers a substance used in food as GRAS if data lead experts to conclude the ingredient is safe for its proposed use. Research shows that the amount of added lactoferrin that remains on beef after spraying is comparable with the amount of lactoferrin that is naturally present in beef.
A company in Salt Lake City, aLF Ventures LLC, owns a patent on the product and voluntarily submitted data to the FDA for its consideration. The USDA will be responsible for addressing labeling issues with lactoferrin-treated beef.