Chives May Fight Food Poisoning
But a Sprinkle of the Herb Isn't Enough, Study Shows
March 28, 2006 -- Salmonella, a common bacterial cause of food poisoning,
may have met its match in chives, a common herb.
Scientists in Greensboro, N.C., bought chives at a local store. Back at
their lab, the researchers pulverized and purified the chives into an
In lab tests, the chive extract showed "strong antibacterial
activity" against 38 strains of salmonella, write the researchers. They
included Salam Ibrahim, PhD, of the food science and nutrition department at
North Carolina A&T State University.
Ibrahim's team has studied the bacteria-fighting abilities of various
plants. "Chives appear to be especially potent," the researchers write.
Their study was presented in Atlanta at the American Chemical Society's
National Meeting & Exposition.
Lesson for Cooks?
If you add some chives to your next meal, don't count on it to kill
The researchers tested the extract on salmonella in a lab, not on unsafe
foods such as undercooked meat, runny eggs, or past-their-prime leftovers. The
golden rules of food safety -- like washing your hands, cooking and storing
food properly, and throwing out questionable items -- still apply.
Copying Ibrahim's technique also requires lots of chives. How many? The
study doesn't say.
"The amount a consumer would need to use to counteract foodborne
pathogens would be very high -- probably much more than most consumers would
find to be appetizing," write Ibrahim and colleagues. "Nevertheless, it
certainly can't hurt for consumers to expand their use of chives in
One day, chives might be used to cut down on chemical preservatives in
processed foods, the researchers note. They plan to pair chives with other
bacteria-fighting ingredients in future studies.