Farmland National Beef Packing Company, Kansas City, Mo., today announced it has licensed the commercial development rights for activated lactoferrin, a new food safety technology that protects consumers from harmful bacteria that may be found in meat.

The development rights were licensed from A.S. "Narain" Naidu, Ph.D., a medical microbiologist who directs the Center for Antimicrobial Research at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Dr. Naidu's invention involves an activated form of lactoferrin, a natural protein from cow's milk that is applied to meat surfaces during processing and packaging. Laboratory results indicate the activated form of lactoferrin is effective against more than 30 different kinds of harmful bacteria, including E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.

"We continue to be impressed with Dr. Naidu's findings, and we intend to fully explore the merits of bringing this technology to the meat industry," said John R. Miller, chief executive officer of Farmland National Beef. "Bringing the safest meat products to market has always been critically important to us, and this technology is the most appealing new development we've uncovered to date."

Miller said Farmland National Beef plans to conduct additional testing, assess how the technology can be used in beef processing plants, and pursue regulatory approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Assuming the continued testing produces positive results and the technology is granted the necessary regulatory approvals, Farmland National Beef plans to use activated lactoferrin in the production of its meat products and make the technology available to the entire meat industry.

Farmland National Beef provided financial support and testing equipment for Dr. Naidu's activated lactoferrin research during the past two years as part of a corporate food safety initiative.

The company also announced that Eric B. Hale will spearhead the lactoferrin commercial development effort for Farmland National Beef. Hale has more than 20 years of experience developing scientific and medical technologies, including serving as chief executive of several early stage public life science companies.

Farmland National Beef Packing Company, Kansas City, Mo., is the only major beef packing company that is fully owned by producers. Its owners are members of U.S. Premium Beef, Ltd., a producer-owned beef-marketing cooperative, and Farmland Industries, Inc., the largest farmer-owned cooperative in North America. Farmland National Beef is the fourth-largest beef packing company in the nation with operations in Liberal and Dodge City, Kan. The company processes and markets fresh beef, boxed beef and beef byproducts for domestic and international markets with annual sales of $2.0 billion.