• Open Access

Scientific Opinion on the evaluation of the safety and efficacy of peroxyacetic acid solutions for reduction of pathogens on poultry carcasses and meat


  • EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ)

  • Panel members: Olivier Andreoletti, Dorte Lau Baggesen, Declan Bolton, Patrick Butaye, Paul Cook, Robert Davies, Pablo S. Fernandez Escamez, John Griffin, Tine Hald, Arie Havelaar, Kostas Koutsoumanis, Roland Lindqvist, James McLauchlin, Truls Nesbakken, Miguel Prieto Maradona, Antonia Ricci, Giuseppe Ru, Moez Sanaa, Marion Simmons, John Sofos and John Threlfall
  • Correspondence: biohaz@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: The BIOHAZ Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on safety and efficacy of peroxyacetic acid for reduction of pathogens on poultry: Dorte Lau Baggesen, Arie Havelaar, John Threlfall, Birgit Noerrung, the CEF experts Patrick Van Beelen and Leon Brimer and the members of the Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF): Ulla Beckman Sundh, Mona-Lise Binderup, Claudia Bolognesi, Leon Brimer, Laurence Castle, Alessandro Di Domenico, Karl-Heinz Engel, Roland Franz, Nathalie Gontard, Rainer Gürtler, Trine Husøy, Klaus-Dieter Jany, Martine Kolf-Clauw, Wim Mennes, Maria Rosaria Milana, Iona Pratt (deceased), Kettil Svensson, Maria de Fatima Tavares Poças, Fidel Toldra and Detlef Wölfle for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion; and the EFSA staff: Alessandro Broglia, Maria Luisa Escudero Hernandez, George Kass, Mariano Lopez Romano, Winy Messens and Liese Van Gompel for the support provided to this scientific opinion.
  • Adoption date: 6 March 2014
  • Published date: 26 March 2014
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2013-00601
  • On request from: European Commission


Studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of solutions, containing peroxyacetic acid (PAA) as the active ingredient, in mixtures with acetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and 1-hydroxyethylidene-1, 1-diphosphonic acid (HEDP) and possibly octanoic acid and peroxyoctanoic acid, for reduction of pathogens on poultry carcasses and meat were assessed. Treatments at ambient temperature consisted of dipping in short term baths, in chiller baths or spraying. On the basis of the previous EFSA exposure scenarios including short term baths that were not evaluated previously, no toxicity concerns were identified with regard to residues of peroxyacids, to HEDP and to possible reaction products of hydrogen peroxide and peroxyacids with lipids and proteins of the poultry carcasses. A relevant reduction of PAA treatment on E. coli and coliforms was demonstrated by dipping warm carcasses, but few data were available for pathogens (Salmonella and Campylobacter). Spraying appeared to be less effective than dipping in reducing indicator organisms than dipping. When dipping chilled carcasses, reduction of indicator organisms and pathogens was evident, although only in low or medium strength of evidence studies. In chiller bath application, there was a relevant impact on E. coli, but less effect on coliforms, and little data was available on reduction of pathogens. The emergence of acquired reduced susceptibility to biocides and/or resistance to therapeutic antimicrobials following the use of PAA was considered unlikely. There were no concerns for environmental risk of peroxyacids, acetic acid and octanoic acid. On the basis of a conservative preliminary guideline for surface water quality, the emission of HEDP from a poultry plant into the environment could not be considered safe a priori. It was recommended that HACCP plans should include monitoring of the concentration of HEDP and of the decontaminating substance in the working solution and post-marketing surveillance for resistance in both pathogenic and commensal bacteria.