Lactic acid reduces microbial load on poultry
Reducing the microbial load on poultry could increase shelf life and may be an indication of increased food safety. Although not currently legal in the EU, the use of lactic acid has been proposed for this purpose, and member-funded research has shown that it does indeed have potential. We identified the most beneficial conditions for using lactic acid (a 4% solution at pH3.7) and applied these to chicken broiler carcasses.The microbial reductions achieved depended on the storage time after application of the acid. There was a highly significant reduction up to 9 days, but not subsequently. The largest difference between the counts on control and treated birds occurred after 6 days, when the microbial reduction was 2.1 log cfu/g.
The treatment caused a slight paling of the chicken skin and slight greying of the leaf fat but this was considered to be commercially acceptable by poultry processors. Carcasses were treated with a high level of solution, but a reduced level and a better application method could be developed without adversely affecting the microbial reduction.The trials were repeated with turkey carcasses and similar results were found, both in microbial reduction and in the lack of significant deleterious effects on carcass appearance.
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