Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of the organic acids lactic and acetic acids to reduce microbiological surface contamination on pork carcasses and pork cuts
Studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of lactic and acetic acids to reduce microbiological surface contamination on pork carcasses pre‐chill and pork meat cuts post‐chill were assessed. Lactic acid treatments consisted of 2–5% solutions at temperatures of up to 80°C applied to carcasses by spraying or up to 55°C applied on cuts by spraying or dipping. Acetic acid treatments consisted of 2–4% solutions at temperatures of up to 40°C applied on carcasses by spraying or on cuts by spraying or dipping. The maximum treatment duration was 30 s. The Panel concluded that:  the treatments are of no safety concern, provided that the substances comply with the European Union specifications for food additives;  spraying of pork carcasses pre‐chill with lactic acid was efficacious compared to untreated control, but based on the available data, the Panel could not conclude whether lactic acid was more efficacious than water treatment when spraying of pork carcasses pre‐chill or pork meat cuts post‐chill. The Panel concluded that dipping of pork meat cuts post‐chill in lactic acid was more efficacious than water treatment. However, it could not conclude on the efficacy of acetic acid treatment of pork carcasses pre‐chill and/or pork meat cuts post‐chill;  the potential selection and emergence of bacteria with reduced susceptibility to biocides and/or resistance to therapeutic antimicrobials linked to the use of the substances is unlikely as long as Good Hygienic Practices are implemented; and  the release of both organic acids is not of concern for the environment, assuming that wastewaters released by the slaughterhouses are treated, if necessary, to counter the potentially low pH caused by lactic or acetic acid, in compliance with local rules.