The Safety of the Laxoperidase System for the Dairy Sector

By Jompie Burger Dairy Standard Agency on 16 August 2023

It is well documented that the Lactoperoxidase system (LPS) is used in many parts of the world to protect raw milk destined for processing and dairy products, particularly in remote areas where farmers are not near the market.

The use is mainly intended to boost the natural LP in raw milk, suppressing microbiological growth to be used as a processing aid to extend the shelf life of a variety of dairy products, specifically fresh cheese including mozzarella and cottage cheeses, frozen dairy desserts, fermented milk, flavored milk drinks, and yogurt.

The Lactoperoxidase system is a natural defense system against microbial contamination.

The LPS has been reviewed by several international organizations, including WHO, because of its use for the treatment of raw milk and other dairy products. It is important to note that all of the components of the LPS system occur naturally in human and animal liquid secretions, and therefore present no new exposures to the human body. The system provides antimicrobial activity against a wide spectrum of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms, in the interest of product longevity/shelf life and public safety.

The LPS is also considered approved by the FDA as a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) substance meaning its general recognition of safety is based on the views of experts qualified to evaluate the safety of the substance.

The basis for LPS considered to be safe can be found in the following information:

The LPS has been approved as a processing aid to extend the shelf life of dairy products by various international regulatory and scientific advisory bodies including Codex, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA), and others.

In a well-written and concise document, the Codex document Codex Code of Practice, Guidelines for the Preservation of Raw Milk by Use of the Lactoperoxidase System, CAC/GL 13-1991 sets forth the Codex-approved specifications and practices for use of the LPS for the stabilization of milk (Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products, 2012). Codex notes that refrigeration remains the method of choice for safe milk transport. The Codex-approved LPS utilizes the lactoperoxidase already present in milk and the system is initiated by sodium percarbonate (rather than glucose and glucose oxidase) to generate the hydrogen peroxide necessary to convert thiocyanate to hypothiocyanite.

In Sweden, the National Food Administration has evaluated the efficiency of the LPS and existing toxicological data and has decided to allow the use of LP-activation in milk where raw milk cannot be properly cooled (The National Food Administration, 1980) (Sweden, 1980; Swedish Waterhouse, 2012). The LPS was approved by the National Expert Committee on Food Additives in the People’s Republic of China as “an acceptable preservative used for milk preservation.” In France, the Ministry of the Economy of Finance and Industry permitted the LPS to the brine “destined for the production of smoked salmon” in April 1998. In 2003, the AFSSA (French Food Safety Agency) authorized the use of the OSCN- ions (an oxidation product of the SCN- ) without the presence of the LPS, as a processing aid for the treatment of fresh-cut, ready-to-eat salads (Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA), 2012). In 2002, the Finnish Ministry approved the system for similar uses. In Australia and New Zealand (2002), the FSANZ approved the use of the LPS containing 40 mg/liter of SCN- in the agro-food industry as a processing aid functioning as an antibacterial agent for meat and meat products.

In 1990, JECFA concluded that the LPS was acceptable for use in milk preservation and does not present a toxicological hazard (FAO/WHO, 2005; JECFA, 1990; JECFA, 2005). In 2005, an FAO/WHO technical meeting concluded that the LPS is “a safe method of preventing milk losses due to microbial spoilage when used according to the Codex guidelines either alone or in combination with other approved procedures.” These uses demonstrate the safe use of LPS in dairy products.

Read more on The benefits of the use of the Lactoperoxidase System (LPS) in the Dairy Industry

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