Trends in microbial control techniques for poultry products
Fresh poultry meat and poultry products are highly perishable foods and high potential sources of human infection due to the presence of several foodborne pathogens. Focusing on the microbial control of poultry products, the food industry generally implements numerous preventive measures based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety management system certification together with technological steps, such as refrigeration coupled to modified atmosphere packaging that are able to control identified potential microbial hazards during food processing. However, in recent years, to meet the demand of consumers for minimally processed, high-quality, and additive-free foods, technologies are emerging associated with nonthermal microbial inactivation, such as high hydrostatic pressure, irradiation, and natural alternatives, such as biopreservation or the incorporation of natural preservatives in packaging materials. These technologies are discussed throughout this article, emphasizing their pros and cons regarding the control of poultry microbiota and their effects on poultry sensory properties. The discussion for each of the preservation techniques mentioned will be provided with as much detail as the data and studies provided in the literature for poultry meat and products allow. These new approaches, on their own, have proved to be effective against a wide range of microorganisms in poultry meat. However, since some of these emergent technologies still do not have full consumer's acceptability and, taking into consideration the hurdle technology concept for poultry processing, it is suggested that they will be used as combined treatments or, more frequently, in combination with modified atmosphere packaging.