During poultry slaughter and processing, microbial cross-contamination between individual chickens is possible, as well as from one slaughter animal to the next without direct contact. One option for reducing the risk of cross-contamination is to decrease the number of microorganisms on contact surfaces by using disinfectants. The aim is to decontaminate the surfaces coming into direct contact with the carcasses. In the present study, the effectiveness of different disinfectants was investigated in laboratory settings, simulating the conditions in the slaughterhouses and in a chicken slaughterhouse. For this, an artificial residue substance (consisting of yeast extract, albumin, and agar) was developed, tested, and included in the assays. Two disinfectants were tested under laboratory conditions: lactic acid (5 and 6.67%) and peracetic acid (0.33 and 0.5%). At the slaughterhouse, peracetic acid (0.021%) was used. In the laboratory tests, it was found that the peracetic acid solution had the highest disinfection potential with respect to an Escherichia coli strain (reduction >4 log CFU mL−1) at 0.5% without an artificial residue substance. The tested lactic acid solutions also showed the highest disinfection potential against a Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain, without an artificial residue substance. When applying the artificial residue substance, the reduction potential of lactic acid and peracetic acid was decreased to less than 1.4 log CFU mL−1. Application of peracetic acid in the slaughterhouse reduced the number of total aerobic bacteria by more than 4 log CFU mL−1 and the number of Enterobacteriaceae by more than 3 log CFU mL−1, depending on the place of sampling.

  • Peracetic acid and lactic acid decreases E. coli and P. aeruginosa numbers in vitro.

  • Sanitation in place reduces the number of bacteria in a chicken slaughterhouse.

  • The number of total aerobic bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae was significantly reduced.

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