EC lactic acid approval will improve food safety: Purac

Purac, a global leader in food preservation, has welcomed the European Commission's approval this week of the use of lactic acid as a decontaminant for beef carcasses, half carcasses and quarters. Already widely used to reduce microbial surface contamination in the USA for some time, the use of lactic acid for this purpose in beef will be permitted in Europe from 25 February. The decision will boost food safety for consumers, according to the company.

"This week's regulation is great news for the European beef industry," said Lonneke van Dijk, category manager meat at Purac. "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, including E-coli andSalmonella. This, in turn, will ensure higher food safety standards and prolong shelf life." The company stressed that the use of lactic acid is an additional tool in the food safety armoury, not a substitute for hygienic practice.

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. Purac's portfolio has formed part of multiple hurdle food safety programmes in the meat industry for several decades, and the company now holds sector expertise and technical insight to help slaughterhouses and processors maximise the safety, shelf life and appeal of their products.

The use of lactic acid for surface decontamination in beef slaughterhouses wasdeemed safe by EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) in 2011.

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