Decontamination War on Meat Pathogens

02.04.14

Written by: Selective Micro Technologies 

food-spoilageFood spoilage is caused by bacteria, namely pathogens such as e-coli and salmonella as well as varieties of bacillus and clostridium. While food remains part of the equation for these pathogens to populate, so too do temperature, time, and relative moisture levels.

The identification of particular sources of such food spoilage and/or source contamination is complicated; it may occur during many or all of several processing phases: slaughter, transport, processing, or storage. Therefore, it is imperative to consider proper sanitization techniques, especially during storage and processing.

For example, the FDA has approved use of chlorine dioxide on red meat reads, which are identified according to section 21 CFR 173.325(c). However, this criteria does not readily identify between impure versus pure chlorine dioxide solutions. Pure chlorine dioxide, when used as an antimicrobial agent in food processing facilities, not only presents a more sophisticated (i.e. greater level of material compatibility) towards surface disinfection, but is also more benign as a carcass spray for meat and poultry sanitization.

Researchers have discovered that stabilized chlorine dioxide formulas identify an amount of “available” chlorine dioxide, where unless there is a perfect, controlled conversion, the amount of chlorine dioxide in solution for use is very little. Instead, there exists excessive amounts of corrosive chlorite.

Below are some additional points to consider for declaring the war on pathogens in food processing facilities:

  1. Pure chlorine dioxide is a superior sanitizer and disinfectant of choice in food processing facilities, namely for its ability to not corrode materials and avoid leaving behind harmful residuals, even when used on foodstuffs for sanitization.
  2. Unintentional, however unavoidable, residues may ensue when using impure chlorine dioxide solutions for sanitization practice.
  3. Most meat, poultry, and food spoilage is easily characterized by both odor detection and slime presence; in bio-slime matrices, colony forming units can multiply exponentially in only hours. Therefore, proper sanitization is necessary in both food processing areas and on foodstuffs