Poultry meat represents an important part of the U.S. economy and diet. However, it remains one of the food categories responsible for the most outbreak-associated foodborne illness cases. Therefore, the food safety and public health communities continue to examine appropriate antimicrobial interventions to reduce product contamination and the risk of foodborne disease. Ozone treatment has become an attractive microbial decontamination option for food products including poultry because of its antimicrobial properties and minimal effects on quality. The objective of this review is to summarize the current scientific literature on the application of ozone in chicken carcasses and parts. Fourteen primary research studies met the inclusion criteria. Ozone treatment achieved microbial population reductions of 0.2 to 0.94 log CFU/mL of rinsate, 0.08 to 1.28 log CFU/cm2, and 0.0 to 5.3 log CFU/g for specific target microbial populations. Among the factors that influenced treatment efficacy were ozone concentration, exposure time, and the microbial population of interest. Studies indicate that ozone treatment can be optimized to extend the shelf life of poultry products without a significant effect on physicochemical and sensory qualities, which makes it a potential suitable hurdle to improve food safety. Further research is required to better understand the effect of ozone on poultry-borne pathogens like Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. and to validate its application and scale-up in industrial settings. This review identifies important knowledge gaps that may guide future studies about this novel decontamination technology.

  • Ozone treatment achieved microbial population reductions.

  • Gaseous ozone was most commonly used on poultry parts.

  • Carcasses were treated exclusively with aqueous ozone or ozonated water.

  • Ozone treatment can extend poultry product shelf life without significant quality effects.

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