EC Decision will improve meat safety, says Purac

The European Commission received green light to authorize the use of lactic acid to reduce microbial surface contamination in beef carcasses. This approval follows the positive opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel earlier this year. The European Council's decision last week not to block the use of lactic acid as a decontaminant in beef slaughterhouses will improve hygiene and boost food safety for consumers, according to Purac. The European Commission will be able to approve the treatment within weeks in the absence of formal objection by the European parliament. Lactic acid is already widely used to reduce microbial surface contamination in the USA and was deemed safe by EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) last year.

"Currently, European law permits only the use of water for beef carcass decontamination, so this is an important step for the European beef industry," said Lonneke van Dijk, category manager meat at Purac. "Lactic acid and its derivatives have been used as natural antimicrobial agents in many parts of the food industry for years, so have a long history of safe use. Treating beef with a lactic acid wash has proven effective in reducing foodborne pathogens and will be a valuable additional aspect of HACCP practices in slaughterhouses, providing the European meat industry another effective solution to fight various food-borne pathogens. Purac's lactic acid portfolio has formed part of multiple hurdle food safety programmes in the meat industry for several decades."

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