EFSA publish their opinion on using Lactic Acid for cleaning beef carcases

The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) panel on Biological Hazards has recently published its scientific opinion on the evaluation of the safety of using lactic acid based material  for the decontamination of beef carcasses, cuts and trimmings.

The current acceptable processes of cleaning carcasses in abattoirs has been with the use of water or a vacuum.

However the EC Regulation No 853/2004 allows the use of decontamination as a supplement to good hygiene practice. But at this time no treatments are authorized by the EU with the exception of potable water.

Recent outbreaks of e-coli O157  and other pathogens have emphasized the need for additional interventions throughout the food chain.

The EFSA concluded that treatments for decontamination of beef surfaces consisting of using 2-5% lactic acid either through spraying or fogging are safe. Tests suggest that using lactic acid to decontaminate beef surfaces result in a significant reductions in microbial loads  compared to water treated or untreated carcasses.

This process then could be good news to the beef industry not just in reducing pathogenic bacterial but also reducing spoilage bacterial such as clostridia estertheticum which has caused big issues in the vacuumed beef sector.

Source: The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)

About ABurne

Andy Burne has worked in Technical Management for many years in the food industry. Now he is a certified BRC auditor and provides consultancy to the Food Industry.