Bacteriophages for healthier food

A discussion on bacteriophages technology at the European Parliament
calendar icon 8 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

A scientific conference organised by Polish MEP Adam Jarubas (EPP) and Greek MEP Emmanouil Fragkos (ECR) together with the PhageEU coalition, which brings together stakeholders representing phages in industry and science, was held at the European Parliament in Brussels on February 7, 2023. Speakers and participants emphasised the need to speed up work on the approval of phages technology at the EU level.

Speaking in the panel discussion were representatives of the European Commission: L. Vivas-Alegre, (Head of Sector Research and Innovation Coordination, Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development) and A. Perez (Team Leader, AMR, Directorate General for Health and Food Safety), D. Goszczynski (Director General of the National Poultry Council - Chamber of Commerce), prof. J. Dastych (CEO of Proteon Pharmaceuticals) and Prof. D. Gally (Personal Chair of Microbial Genetics, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh).

"We aim to minimise the use of antibiotics in agricultural production without increasing the costs or reducing its productivity. Phages are an effective novel tool that substantially reduce the need for antibiotic use and can even help reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the environment. Using them as feed additives does not result in developing drug resistance in bacteria," explains prof. Jaroslaw Dastych, founder of Proteon Pharmaceuticals.

Proteon Pharmaceuticals is a Polish biotechnology company based in Lodz, Poland. It employs 150 people. PFR Life Science, a dedicated entity of the Polish Development Fund, is among its shareholders. The company developed and patented innovative bacteriophage-based products to protect the health of livestock from pathogenic bacteria.

Bacteriophages are viruses that, as feed additives, prevent the development of bacterial diseases. The company is awaiting decision from the European Commission on the approval of phage technology. EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, who visited Proteon Pharmaceuticals' laboratory in May 2022, also highlighted the importance of phages:

"Bacteriophage products contribute to protecting the health of livestock, including countering the problem of antibiotic resistance and positively influencing animal welfare. Less chemistry, more nature in agriculture." – tweeted J. Wojciechowski.

During the debate, speakers emphasised the need to speed up work on the approval of phages technology at the EU level and phages inclusion on the list of feed additives. MEP A. Jarubas pointed out that authorisation of phage technology for use in agriculture, animal husbandry, processing and health has been adopted in other countries (including India, Brazil and the US), but in the past has been overlooked in Europe. . "These countries are now significant competitors for European Union agriculture," he said.

Proteon Pharmaceuticals

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