FreshFx In Scalder Reduces Pathogens In Evisceration

Armen Hareyan's picture
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SteriFx recently confirmed that poultry processing plants using FreshFx to acidify the scalder water have demonstrated a reduction in pathogen load.

"We know that adding FreshFx to the scalder can result in pathogen reduction, but we wanted to determine whether or not it would carry through the processing line," said John R. Dankert, Ph.D., CEO of SteriFx. "We sampled birds pre-scald as well as after the New York Rinse (NYR), which had a chlorinated water rinse, and noted pathogen reduction for the samples across the scalder and NYR cabinet.

"When FreshFx was added to the scald water, aerobic plate counts were reduced an additional two logs post-NYR, and an additional one log of kill for coliforms," added Dankert. "So, the enhanced reduction of pathogen load achieved by the FreshFx-treated scalder carried through the pickers and into evisceration. This should increase the effectiveness of any pathogen interventions later on."

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This reinforces an October 2007 Watt Poultry USA article that identified FreshFx as "helping to solve the yield/pathogen reduction dilemma." Citing recent studies in large-scale processing plants, University of Georgia Associate Professor of Poultry Science Scott Russell, Ph.D., stated that "adding an acidic disinfectant chemical (such as FreshFx) during scalding ... benefits the system, allowing scalder temperatures to be lowered without the concern that Salmonella will begin to grow."

FreshFx is USDA-approved for use anywhere along the processing line: pre-evisceration in the scalder, over picking rails and in the NYR; throughout evisceration and for on-line reprocessing (OLR) as rinses or dips; and for pH control in the chillers, as well as post-chill. Since its approval as a processing aid in January 2003, FreshFx has been used to treat over 2.5 billion birds.

"FreshFx can maintain antimicrobial activity even in the presence of the accumulated organic load found in scalder water and other immersion systems," said Dankert. "This contrasts sharply with alternatives that would 'gas-off' at high temperatures or be inhibited by the organic load, reducing effectiveness."

Plants report increased picking efficiency and less pin-feathers, even at the lower temperatures. The low pH of FreshFx acts as a "picking aid," probably by disrupting connections between the feather and the follicle. The ability to use lower temperatures for scalding reduces energy costs and decreases the amount of fats and oils that are released from the birds. This enhances antimicrobial effectiveness throughout the plant and could result in increased yield.

"For plants with high incoming Salmonella loads, there is no single silver bullet for Salmonella," said Dankert. "A multi-point step reduction is usually required, and our customers see significant reductions using this strategy. In addition, the ability to reuse FreshFx many times makes multiple interventions cost-effective, while reducing water use."

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