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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Acetic Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide Application During Defeathering on the Microbiological Quality and Appearance of New York Dressed Broiler Carcasses

item Dickens, James
item Whittemore Jr, Alton

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 6, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: After chicken carcasses are scalded, they pass through a series of machines to remove the feathers. These machines have banks of rotating rubber fingers and water sprays to beat and wash the feathers off the carcass. The carcasses then pass through a spray washer to remove extraneous material that may pose condemnation or health problems. Prior research using GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe)chemicals in the washers has shown only minor reductions in microbial counts on the carcasses. The objective of this study was to apply GRAS chemicals in the spray of the picker to reduce microbial counts and reduce or eliminate cross contamination during the picking process. Acetic acid at a 1% or hydrogen peroxide at 0.5, 1, and 1.5% concentrations were added to the picker spray water in a pilot plant setting. The acetic acid significantly reduced total aerobic counts and had no detrimental effect on carcass appearance. The hydrogen peroxide, at all concentrations, had no microbial effect and altered the carcass appearance by bleaching and bloating the skin. The use of acetic aid during the picking process could result in a safer product reaching the consumer.

Technical Abstract: The microbiological quality and skin appearance of New York dressed broiler carcasses were determined in two separate experiments after a water control, acetic acid, or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) spray during defeathering. Broilers were picked up from a local processor and transported in coops to the pilot facility. In both experiments, commercial processing parameters were followed up to the defeathering step. After feather removal, the vents of all carcasses were blocked with a cotton plug to prevent contamination of the whole carcass rinse diluent with fecal material from the lower gut. The neck and feet were removed, and the carcasses were placed in individual plastic bags in preparation for a whole carcass rinse. Results showed a statistically significant reduction (p<.05) in the log10 total aerobic plate counts for carcasses treated with 1% acetic acid in comparison to the water control (log10 cfu counts = 3.93 and 4.53 respectively). No differences were observed in skin appearance due to the 1% acid treatment. The addition of .5%, 1%, or 1.5% H2O2 to spray waters had no effect on microbiological quality of the carcasses when compared to the water control (4.92, 5.01, 4.91, and 4.99 log10 counts respectively). The skin of carcasses treated with hydrogen peroxide, regardless of the concentration, was bleached and bloated. KEY WORDS: acetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, microbiological quality, defeathering, broilers

Last Modified: 4/19/2015
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