A New Way for Chicken To Come Clean
Former Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) agricultural engineer Andra Dickens and microbiologist Arthur
Hinton, Jr., tested a new chemical solution that reduces enteric pathogen
counts in poultry.
The scientists, from the Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center
in Athens, Georgia, tested the chemical, known as Safe2O
Poultry Wash, for its inventor, Mionix Corp., a biotechnology company
based in California. Dickens recently retired from the lab.
When used as a prechill application, Safe2O reduced numbers
of Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, and Listeria.
Used as a postchill treatment, it increased the shelf life of wings
by 3 days.
Safe2O is a low-pH, calcium sulfate-based solution composed
of Generally Recognized As Safe chemicals. It has been approved by both
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA's Food Safety and
Inspection Service (FSIS) for use as a prechill treatment for broilers.
FDA has also approved it as a postchill treatment, and FSIS is currently
reviewing it for that use. Tests have revealed that Safe2O
is more effective as a postchill treatment.
Dickens and Hinton have also tested the solution for a Texas-based
poultry producer, Pilgrim's Pride. Safe2O was sprayed both
prechill, with an inside/outside washer, and postchill. Not only were
pathogens reduced, especially Salmonella, Campylobacter,
and Listeria, but the number of spoilage microorganisms was also
decreased. Shelf life of wings was extended to 9 days when the meat
was sprayed postchill.
Since the chemical could be used prechill with an inside/outside washer,
processors would not have to retool any of their current machinery or
Safe2O can be used with less water than
another common pathogen reducer, trisodium phosphate (TSP), and poses
fewer environmental concerns.
"Some processing plants spray carcasses with an 8- to 12-percent
TSP solution to remove fecal material and associated microorganisms
before chilling," says Dickens. "The higher pH produced by
TSP requires the chiller water to be treated with acid to bring the
water back to a pH level at which bactericidal activity of the chlorine
in the water can be effective. But then the phosphates from the overflow
water must be removed before entering the sewer system in most municipalities.
"Safe2O could be a viable alternative to TSP without
the problems associated with phosphate disposal and reacidification
of the chiller water."By Sharon
Durham, Agricultural Research Service Information Staff.
Arthur Hinton, Jr., is in the USDA-ARS Poultry Processing and Meat Quality Research Unit, Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, 950 College Station Rd., Athens, GA 32604; phone (706) 546-3621, fax (706) 546-3633.
"A New Way for Chicken To Come Clean" was published in the October 2004 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.