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Public acceptance of throat lozenges loaded with bacteria

In 2002 and 2003, research conducted by Lincoln University's Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (AERU) with focus groups found out what New Zealanders think about using throat lozenges that contain bacteria to treat sore throats and bad breath.

There are many infections caused by bacteria living in the throat, including halitosis, rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. Other bacteria live in your mouth quite happily and help prevent you getting these infections. They work by producing a protein that kills the harmful bacteria.

The helpful bacteria have been incorporated into a throat lozenge that is available on the market. The throat lozenges are made by a company called BLIS Technologies.

What do New Zealanders think?

The study found that people tend to find this application of biotechnology acceptable. The focus groups had a total of 117 people.

People thought that this was an acceptable use of biotechnology as long as it had been tested thoroughly, had no side effects and was clearly labelled. In this way, they had a choice as a consumer whether or not to buy the product.

People assumed that, because this product was on the market, it had been through clinical testing. As it is sold as a dietary supplement and not a medicine, it has not faced the rigorous examination that they had expected.

Useful links

The AERU report Public Understandings of Biotechnology in New Zealand: Factors Affecting Acceptability Rankings of five Selected Biotechnologies (#266) can be downloaded from the AERU publications list on the Lincoln University website, here.

Find out more about BLIS on their website.

 

    Published 16 November 2007