Fact Sheet: A Major Advancement in Meat Safety
Rinse & Chill® Inhibits bacterial growth, including E. coli and Salmonella
Assuring that meat is as safe and wholesome as possible is an international public health priority and the most important benefit of a Rinse & Chill® system. Rinse & Chill® helps to enhance and protect the safety of meat in several important ways.
The first way is enhanced blood removal. Blood is an ideal medium for bacteria to grow in and spread. Typically, 40% to 60% of the animal’s blood remains in the animal/carcass after a conventional bleed; University of Wisconsin researchers showed Rinse & Chill® removed 40% more blood. In vitro studies have also shown that by removing metal cations, such as the form of iron found in blood, certain pathogenic bacteria do not survive. This is especially true for coliform bacteria, E. coli and Salmonella. Additionally, the solution used is mildly antimicrobial.
Faster chilling is an obvious benefit in reducing bacterial growth. The data show 8-12°F/3-5°C benefit in carcass chilling at 18-24 hrs in cull cows, and similar in sheep. Optimizing pH decline also has a positive impact on meat safety, as higher, sub-optimal ultimate pH tends to favor bacterial growth. Bacteria can double their populations every twenty minutes. Certain flagellated microorganisms also “attach” themselves to the meat surfaces in as little as one minute, making them difficult to remove later on. Rinse & Chill is believed to interfere with bacterial attachment on the carcass surface, and the data from our clients consistently show lower counts.
By dropping pH and temperature sooner and more rapidly, while removing additional blood from the carcass—immediately—as the first step in the slaughtering process, carcasses and by-products have been shown to be microbiologically cleaner and freer of blood. They also have a lower presence of bacteria, shelf life is improved (sometimes by several weeks in vacuum packaging,) and the ultimate meat products are visually cleaner and more appealing to the consumer.
Facilitated carcass dressing: one of the most common ways that meat becomes contaminated with microbiological pathogens, is when the hide is removed. The effort of removing the hide can displace visible and invisible contaminants that end up on the sticky carcass surface. With Rinse & Chill, hide removal is easier and fewer contaminants are dispersed. Another useful outcome of Rinse & Chill is that the carcass surface is less tacky or sticky; it is more slippery to the touch. It is a surface that is less likely to catch and hold contaminants, likely also facilitating the removal of invisible contaminants at final carcass wash. In sum, by facilitating carcass dressing procedures, initial contamination is reduced, which is a data set regularly repeated in our clients’ establishments. So interfering with initial contamination, as well as growth, at the earliest moment possible during processing, turns out to matter a great deal in improving meat safety.
We can, therefore, characterize Rinse & Chill as enhancing carcass and meat hygiene, while producing meat products that are microbiologically cleaner and less conducive environments for bacterial growth.