University Of Tasmania

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Application of chlorine dioxide and peroxyacetic acid during spray chilling as a potential antimicrobial intervention for beef carcasses

Enteric pathogens such as Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Salmonella spp. continue to be a major food safety concern for the beef industry. Currently, no single method is completely effective in controlling these pathogens during carcass processing. Previous research, however, suggested that STEC might become more susceptible to oxidative damage when exposed to carcass chilling (King et al., 2016). We aimed to test that hypothesis by evaluating the antimicrobial effects of an oxidant (chlorine dioxide, ClO2 or peroxyacetic acid, PAA) on beef meat during a simulated spray chilling process (sprayed for 4 s every 15 min for 36 cycles) and/or when applied (sprayed for 144 s) prior to spray chilling with water. In all experiments, the inactivating effects of oxidants were greatest on fat surfaces and much less effective on lean surfaces. ClO2 at 15 ppm, a non-lethal level for E. coli under optimal growth conditions, caused higher log reductions in E. coli numbers (approximately 3-log reduction) when applied during spray chilling than when applied immediately prior to ‘normal’ spray chilling (approximately 1-log reduction). This confirms the hypothesis that E. coli are more susceptible to oxidative stress during spray chilling. In subsequent studies, both ClO2 and PAA at lethal levels (at ≥20 and ≥ 200 ppm, respectively) applied during spray chilling resulted in pronounced inactivation of both E. coli and Salmonella enterica strains, achieving a ≥4-log reduction at the end of chilling. These results indicate that an oxidant-based application during spray chilling as an antimicrobial intervention could be effective to minimise the problems associated with enteric pathogen contamination on beef meat.


Meat and Livestock Australia


Publication title

Food Microbiology



Article number









Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Academic Press Ltd Elsevier Science Ltd

Place of publication

24-28 Oval Rd, London, England, Nw1 7Dx

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Food safety