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The Use of Chlorine in the Meat, Poultry & Egg Industries

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Food & Beverage

chicks_eggsChlorine solutions are used in many facets of meat and poultry processing. It is used for worker hand, foot, shoe and boot sanitizing, equipment sanitizing and meat and poultry disinfection.

Birds in poultry slaughtering facilities are cooled in chillers to which chlorine is added, to reduce microbial content, especially Salmonella. It is also effective against fungi and algae.

To gain background knowledge on the general properties and usage of chlorine, it is recommended that you read this article before continuing:

Egg Industry:

Chlorine, combined with anionic detergents, effectively removes protein residues, and to a lesser extent, carbohydrate residues from egg shell surfaces. The chemical also reduces bacteria levels on egg shells. Due to the high pH and organic load of egg wash water, chlorine serves more as a cleaning compound than a sanitizer in these solutions (McKee, 2000).

Applications in the Poultry Industry:

  • Drinking water for birds – 2 to 4 ppm
  • Pre-scald bird brushes
  • Equipment rinses
  • Workers wash their hands with chlorinated water – 50 ppm free chlorine solution
  • Inside / outside bird washes
  • Carcass washes
  • Disinfectant during chilling

Applications in the Meat Industry:

  • Carcasses are hung and sprayed with chlorinated water
  • Equipment rinses
  • Workers wash their hands with chlorinated water – 50 ppm free chlorine solution
  • Conveyor belts

USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) Regulations for Chlorine (calcium hypochlorite)*

Application Free (Available) Chlorine in mg/l
Red meat carcasses down to a quarter of a carcass water spray containing 50 ppm
Whole or eviscerated poultry carcasses water spray containing 50 ppm
In water used in meat processing < 5 ppm
In water used in poultry processing (except for product formulation) < 50 ppm
Poultry chiller water < 50 ppm (measured in the incoming potable water)
Poultry chiller red water (i.e., poultry chiller water re-circulated, usually through heat exchangers, and reused back in the chiller) < 5 ppm (measured at influent to chiller)
Reprocessing contaminated poultry carcasses 20 ppm Note: Agency guidance has allowed the use of up to 50 ppm calculated as free available chlorine
On giblets (e.g., livers, hearts, gizzards, and necks) and salvage parts Not to exceed 50 ppm in the influent to a container for chilling.
Beef primals 20 ppm
*Condensed from FSIS Directive 7120.1, Revision 15, 4/30/13

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Historical comments (2)

  • Flexible fire protection closures


    I do trust all of the concepts you have introduced in your post.
    They are very convincing and can certainly work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for beginners.
    Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time?
    Thanks for the post.

    • Janice M


      Thank you for the suggestion, we will certainly try.

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