London’s Solution Sciences Ltd. is not going to be stopped by the “ick” factor. It’s plans on making the bacterium M. aurum a “novel” food ingredient in Europe. The application is currently before the Food Safety Authority (FSA) in the United Kingdom. “The applicant gutbacteria_406x250wants to market M aurum as a concentrate of heat-killed M aurum in water, with the intention that it be added to various foods including milk, diary products, soft drinks, breads and food supplements,” says FSA. Say what? M aurum is an environmental mycobacterium that the FSA says live harmlessly in the environment, but also in the gut of humans and animals. It a normal part of “gut microflora.” its often found in untreated drinking water. Its far less prevalent in treated or bottled water. So-called novel food applications are required for any food or food ingredient that did not have a significant history of consumption in the EU before May 15, 1997. Before a novel food or ingredient is approved, it must go through rigorous food safety testing. The Mycobacterium Aurum application is up for public comment until April 11. In its application, Solution Sciences is suggesting that people are eating “too hygienically” at an “increasing distance from our natural ‘green’ environment.’” The company says the evidence of the impact of biome-depletion on health is “impressive and growing.” “We do not intend to attempt to populate, or repopulate, the micro biome with commensal organisms but, instead, to make up for the presumed deficiency of exposure to an important group of pseudocommensals; namely, the mycobacteria,” it says. In other words, people are living too sterile lives and M aurum might offer a way to “restore natural exposure.” Solution Sciences has filed a 27-page application.