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EO Water, Lactic Acid Promising for Campy Control on Broiler Carcasses

17 May 2013

BELGIUM - Both electrolysed oxidising (EO) water and lactic acid showed promise for the control of Campylobacter in broiler carcasses during processing, according to new research.

Campylobacter is the most commonly reported gastrointestinal bacterial pathogen in humans in many developed countries, according to Geertrui Rasschaert of the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) in Melle, Belgium and co-authors there and at Ghent University.

During slaughter of broiler flocks, it is difficult to avoid contamination of broiler carcasses. Their study, reported in Poultry Science, aimed to quantify Campylobacter contamination on broiler carcasses at five points in the slaughter processing during the slaughter of a Campylobacter-colonised flock by real-time PCR and conventional enumeration. In addition, the decontamination effect of neutral EO water and 1.5 per cent lactic acid (pH2.0) were evaluated.

During processing, Campylobacter counts on the carcasses declined toward the end of the processing line. The log counts on the carcasses as determined by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), decreased from 9.37 after scalding to 8.08 after the last cooling step. Enumeration of the campylobacters on plates revealed the same trend, although the counts per carcass were generally three logs lower.

After scalding, a mean of 6.86 log colony-forming units (CFU) per carcass were counted, which decreased to 4.83 log cfu/carcass after the last cooling step.

Submerging carcasses after scalding in EO water gave a significant reduction of 1.31 log cfu per carcass by enumeration on plates and a not significant reduction of 0.53 log cfu per carcass by qPCR.

Treatment of the carcasses after the inside-outside bird washer led to reductions from 0.09 to 0.91 log cfu per carcass, which was not statistically significant.

After submerging the carcasses in a 1.5 per cent lactic acid solution, significant reductions of 1.62 and 1.24 log cfu per carcass were observed by qPCR and enumeration, respectively.

Spraying the carcasses with lactic acid led to non-significant reductions of 0.68 log cfu per carcass determined by qPCR and 0.26 log cfu/carcass by enumeration.

Both EO water and lactic acid seem promising for implementation in poultry processing plants, concluded Rasschaert and co-authors.


Rasschaert G., V. Piessens, P. Scheldeman, S. Leleu, A. Stals, L. Herman, M. Heyndrickx and W. Messens. 2013. Efficacy of electrolyzed oxidizing water and lactic acid on the reduction of Campylobacter on naturally contaminated broiler carcasses during processing. Poult. Sci. 92(4):1077-1084. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02771

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