Australian officials are seeking views on whether to allow a processing aid from a U.S. company to be used to reduce microorganisms in raw poultry.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has called for comment on the application made by Safe Foods, a company based in the United States, to permit the use of cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) for the antimicrobial treatment of raw poultry.

If permitted in Australia and New Zealand, it will provide the poultry meat industry with an additional option to reduce microorganisms. The United States and Canada allow its use but it has yet to be approved in Europe.

Conditions for use
Sandra Cuthbert, FSANZ interim CEO, said the agency had assessed the effectiveness and safety of the processing aid.

“Our assessment found that CPC is an effective antimicrobial agent for the treatment of raw, skin-on poultry, and there are no health and safety concerns associated with its use as a processing aid,” she said.

The diluted CPC preparation would be applied at the processing site by spraying it onto whole carcasses following evisceration, either before entry to the chiller or post chilling or dipping poultry pieces into the solution following evisceration and chilling of whole carcasses.

Permission is subject to a maximum permitted level of CPC in the poultry skin of 13.4 milligrams per kilogram, the concentration of CPC in the aqueous wash solution does not exceed 1 percent weight per volume, and that raw poultry meat is rinsed in potable water after treatment.

FSANZ’s decision on whether to approve the application will be sent to ministers responsible for food regulation who can ask for a review or agree to include the amendment in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Comments on the proposal are open until April 13.

Residue limit changes
FSANZ also called for comment on proposed changes to maximum residue limits (MRLs) for some agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

MRLs are the highest amount of an agricultural or veterinary chemical residue that is allowed to remain in or on a food sold in Australia. Limits are based on how much of a chemical is needed to control pests and/or diseases.

Cuthbert said the agency is considering requests to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to align 166 chemicals with limits set by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Authority, Codex Alimentarius Commission and other international food agencies.

Requests were also made by the Almond Board of California, American Peanut Council, BASF, North American Blueberry Council and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Our dietary assessment of the requested changes found no health and safety concerns in changing the MRLs for the designated chemicals. The proposed amendments will reduce trade barriers and support Australian food imports while keeping Australian consumers safe,” she said.

Comments must be submitted from those in Australia by April 27 and from those outside the country by May 18.

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