‘Acid washes best tool for campylobacter control’

Food Standards Agency (FSA) targets for campylobacter reduction will be achieved through interventions in the processing plant, not on the farm, according to Professor Patrick Wall, of University College Dublin.


He said that, although interventions were needed at every stage of poultry production, it was processing where the bug would be best controlled – and added rules on acid washing should be relaxed.


“The countries that have succeeded in reducing campylobacter are countries that have introduced acid washes in the processing facility,” Prof Wall told the recent Northern Ireland Poultry Industry Conference.


Acid washing was not toxic, used natural substances, could be sold to the consumer and would stop people getting ill, he added.


“Even when we have campylobacter-free farms, when the birds get brought in for processing they’re cross contaminated – all the good work on the farm can be undone at the processors.”
Professor Patrick Wall, University College Dublin

“Even when we have campylobacter-free farms, when the birds get brought in for processing they’re cross contaminated – all the good work on the farm can be undone at the processors.”


“We’re not finding that there’s a solution, on farm. We’ve tried everything and it’s not working. It can be improved but we can’t eradicate it.


He added not using interventions – such as acid washing or flash freezing – was doing a “disservice” to the public. “This is about protecting the public’s health, rather than protecting trade and the market.”


Prof Wall felt it was unlikely industry would meet the FSA’s reduction targets without such an intervention: “We’ve set ourselves up to fail,” he added.


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