Featured Application: Introduction of lactic acid solution treatment of game meat carcasses as a relevant critical control point (CCP) in the HACCP plan of game handling establishment, according to EC regulations. Solutions of lactic acid 2% and aromatic vinegar were investigated for microbial load reduction on the surfaces of wild boar carcasses. The animals were hunted and processed according to production specifications to obtain the best hygiene for carcasses. The solutions were sprayed on carcass surfaces after skinning, and sites of 5 × 5 cm were sampled 2 h and 48 h post-treatment, with the carcasses under refrigeration conditions. The values of the microbial loads were lower for lactic-acid-treated sites, compared with control, after both 2 and 48 h. Nonetheless, the differences in the microbial loads were only higher than 1 Log/CFU 25 cm2 for the aerobic colony count. The aromatic vinegar resulted in lower values than in controls only after 48 h for the aerobic colony count, Staphylococcus count, and Lactobacillus count, with values always below 1 Log/CFU 25 cm2. The implementation of a lactic acid solution could represent a valuable strategy to reduce microbial growth on wild boar carcasses, thus becoming a relevant critical control point in this peculiar and niche meat production process.
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