Improving food safety of poultry parts

by Joel Crews
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 US Poultry
 

TUCKER, Ga. – Thanks in part to an endowment from Park Ridge, Illinois-based Koch Foods, poultry scientists working with the US Poultry & Egg Association Foundation (USPOULTRY Foundation), announced positive results of research conducted to improve the safety and shelf life of chicken parts and ground chicken. The research project goal was to assess the efficacy of various antimicrobials to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter and the microbials’ effect on shelf life and quality characteristics of parts and ground products in a post-chill decontamination tank.

The project, led by Sacit Bilgili, Ph.D., a poultry scientist at Auburn Univ. along with the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council’s Shelly McKee, Ph.D., was based on the premise that pathogen levels of ground chicken and chicken parts are often higher than microbiological loads on whole-bird carcasses. The objectives included evaluating the efficacy of pathogen reduction using peracetic acid (PAA), cetylpyridinium chlorine (CPC), acidified sodium chloride (ASC) and chlorine and determining the effects on quality and shelf life.  Researchers also sought to determine the most effective means of application for the antimicrobials that would be feasible in a processing environment, prior to packaging or grinding.

Using a pilot processing plant where an online decontamination tank was used to apply the antimicrobials, the results concluded that “PAA and CPC can be applied in a parts decontamination tank to control the recovery of Salmonella Typhimurium and C. jejuni on poultry parts going to market or ground chicken meat products.”

The research also concluded that shelf life was increased and that quality and appearance changes of products resulting from PAA use were minimal and would not likely be detectable by consumers.

“Therefore, treatment of chicken parts for packaging or before grinding with PAA or CPC not only improve food safety, but may maintain or enhance shelf life and quality,” the researchers concluded.

A complete report on this research is available on the association’s website at: www.uspoultry.org
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