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Evaluation of Electrolytically-Generated Hypochlorous Acid (‘Electrolyzed Water’) for Sanitation of Meat and Meat-Contact Surfaces

Veasey, Shawnna, Muriana, Peter M.
Foods 2016 v.5 no.2
Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, antimicrobial properties, beef carcasses, blades, chlorine, electrolyzed water, food contact surfaces, food industry, hot dogs, processed meat, protein content, raw meat, reducing agents, sanitation, sanitizers, slicing
‘Electrolyzed water’ generators are readily available in the food industry as a renewable source of hypochlorous acid that eliminates the need for workers to handle hazardous hypochlorite concentrates. We applied electrolyzed water (EW) directly to multi-strain cocktails of Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella sp. at 250 ppm free available chlorine (FAC) and achieved greater than 6-log reductions in 2 min. Lower EW values were examined as antimicrobial interventions for fresh meat (beef carcasses), processed meats (frankfurters), and food contact surfaces (slicing blades). Little or no reduction relative to controls was observed when generic E. coli-inoculated beef carcasses or L. monocytogenes-inoculated frankfurters were showered with EW. Spray application of EW (25 and 250-ppm FAC) onto L. monocytogenes-inoculated slicing blades showed that greater reductions were obtained with ‘clean’ (3.6 and 5.7-log reduction) vs. ‘dirty’ (0.6 and 3.3-log reduction) slicing blades, respectively. Trials with L. monocytogenes-inoculated protein-EW solutions demonstrated that protein content as low as 0.1% is capable of eliminating FAC, reducing antimicrobial activity against L. monocytogenes. EW appears better positioned as a surface sanitizer with minimal organic material that can otherwise act as an effective reducing agent to the oxidizing solution rendering it ineffective.