Issue: March 2012
February 08, 2012
1 min read

Plasma technology reduced pathogens on raw poultry

Dirks BP. J Food Prot. 2012;75:22-28.

Issue: March 2012
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Treatment of raw poultry with nonthermal dielectric barrier discharge plasma reduced the presence of Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter jejuni, potentially making it safer and less likely to result in cross contamination of pathogens in the home, according to Jennifer J. Quinlan, PhD.

While the most recent foodborne outbreaks involved contaminated fresh produce, uncooked meat products remain the most common source of harmful bacteria in food.

For this reason, Quinlan, assistant professor at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of nonthermal dielectric barrier discharge plasma on S. enterica and C. jejuni injected onto the surface of boneless skinless chicken breasts and chicken thighs with skin on.

Jennifer J. Quinlan, PhD
Jennifer J. Quinlan, PhD

“Pathogens reduced on raw poultry made available to consumers would likely result in decreased infections of humans by Salmonella and Campylobacter — the two leading causes of foodborne illness,” Quinlan told Infectious Disease News. “However, in the absence of the availability of a technology to eliminate pathogens, consumers should treat raw poultry and everything it touches accordingly.”

Chicken samples were exposed to non-thermal air plasma at ambient pressure to determine the effect of plasma on pathogens and background microflora. Results indicated that plasma treatment eliminated 101 colony-forming units of both S. enterica and C. jejuni on chicken breasts and C. jejuni from chicken skin.

In addition, plasma exposure for 30 seconds reduced background microflora on breast and skin by an average of 0.85 and 0.21 log, respectively, according to the study. Further development of the plasma technology is needed to be applied widespread to food, according to Quinlan.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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