EFSA’s role and activities EFSA provides scientific advice to EU risk managers on issues concerning decontamination treatments. The Commission has asked EFSA to provide scientific opinions on the safety and effectiveness of a number of substances, particularly those intended for use on poultry carcasses. The European Commission and EU Member States must decide whether or not to authorise the use of such practices in the EU.
EFSA has examined several substances used elsewhere in the world to decontaminate poultry carcasses, as requested by the European Commission. This work has focused on four substances - chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate and peroxyacids. An AFC Panel opinion in 2005 concluded that these substances would not pose a safety concern within the proposed conditions of use. However, EFSA’s BIOHAZ Panel was asked to examine information on the efficacy of peroxyacids - the only type of substance whose efficacy has been assessed – and the BIOHAZ Panel opinion was unable to conclude on whether this substance effectively killed or reduced pathogenic bacteria on poultry carcasses, due to inadequate data.
A BIOHAZ Panel opinion in 2008 examined the possible development of antimicrobial resistance linked to the same four substances used to decontaminate poultry carcasses. EFSA’s BIOHAZ Panel concluded that no data exists to show that the use of these substances will lead to increased bacterial tolerance to these substances or increased resistance to other antimicrobial agents. However, some evidence indicates bacterial tolerance to other antimicrobial substances or biocides that were not the subject of this opinion.