Water hardness plays a role in removing bacteria from chicken skin.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Broilers (Poultry) (Research)
Scientists (Research)
Pub Date: 02/01/2010
Publication: Name: Agricultural Research Publisher: U.S. Government Printing Office Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Agricultural industry; Biotechnology industry; Business Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 U.S. Government Printing Office ISSN: 0002-161X
Issue: Date: Feb, 2010 Source Volume: 58 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Product: Product Code: 0251000 Chickens, Broilers; 8520110 Scientists NAICS Code: 11232 Broilers and Other Meat Type Chicken Production; 54171 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences SIC Code: 2015 Poultry slaughtering and processing
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 242015832
Full Text: Water used in commercial poultry-processing facilities can play a major role in the quality of the meat produced. Researchers have found that soft water is more effective than hard water in removing bacteria from broiler chicken skin. Hard water has higher concentrations of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium, and water is softened by removing these minerals.

Scientists compared how well very hard, moderately hard, and soft water rinsed away different bacteria--including Campylobacter, Staphylococcus, and Pseudomonas--from the skin of broiler chicken carcasses. They found that soft water removed up to 37 percent more bacteria than the other two water types. The effectiveness of sanitization procedures to remove microorganisms from carcasses during processing is affected by several water-quality variables, including pH, ammonia concentration, microbial contamination levels, and hardness.

These findings suggest that poultry processors might want to more closely monitor water hardness and its impact on carcass processing. Arthur Hinton and Ronald Holser, USDA-ARS Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, Athens GA 30605; (706) 546-3621 [Hinton], (706) 546-3361 [Holser], arthur. hinton@ars.usda.gov, ronald.holser@ars. usda.gov.
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