Ester Fernandez, processed food sector specialist in charge of the initiative at Sealed Air Diversey, told FoodProductionDaily.com it aimed to offer manufacturers tailored treatments for their products.
The project would enable them to significantly reduce contamination of carcasses by pathogens such as Salmonella and E.coli without any discolouration of the meat, she said.
“We are trying to develop a complete package where we can apply lactic acid. The intention is to provide the chemical and the solution and a way to control and monitor its application.”
Discussed at length
EU regulation 101/2013 finally approved lactic acid’s use on bovine carcasses on February 4, after this had been discussed at length for several years.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulations will require precise application of the substance to meat products. Consequently, the Sealed Air Diversey project is designed to help processors adhere to the rules by enabling them to monitor temperature and concentration using Diversey X-Controller technology.
According to EU law, for example, lactic acid may only be applied to products at 2-5% concentration in solution and at a maximum temperature of 55 degrees Celsius. Sealed Air Diversey was creating specific forms of dosing equipment, said Fernandez.
Spray or mist
“Application needs to be done either by spray or mist,” she added, explaining that Sealed Air Diversey was working on Diversey DiverContact automated mechanisms for this. “In the US some applications are allowed by soaking, but this is not allowed in Europe,” she said.
Jon DeRoeck, fresh red meat market manager at Sealed Air, said the latest Cryovac packaging technology from Sealed Air could further add to product shelf life. “The advantages this brings to beef processors, retailers and consumers are significant, opening up export markets, reducing food wastage and ultimately enhancing food safety.”
Sealed Air Diversey expects the project to deliver commercial applications soon after the regulation approving the use of lactic acid takes effect, which will happen on March 4, 28 days after its enactment.
Trials of the firm’s applications cannot occur until after that time, because they would be illegal, said Fernandez.
Training all relevant personnel
Sealed Air Diversey was training all relevant personnel in the use of lactic acid, drawing on the knowledge of regions where its application to meat carcasses is permitted.
Lactic acid has been used to combat pathogens in meat in the US for some time. But some experts feared if the practice was adopted in the EU, it would be overly-relied upon, leading to lax hygiene standards.
It is believed that the use of lactic acid on meat products would be able to extend their shelf life from three to four days to up to 10 days.