Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, has announced that positive results from trials of a new cryogenic technology could enable the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK to meet its 2015 Campylobacter reduction targets.

The technology, Rapid Surface Chilling™, has been developed by Linde’s UK subsidiary, BOC, and Bernard Matthews Ltd, the UK’s leading turkey farmer and supplier.

Campylobacter bacterium is found on the surface of almost all raw chicken and is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK with an estimated 500,000 cases leading to 80,000 primary care consultations and, in 2012, 85 deaths. The cost to the UK economy is estimated to be in the region of £900m (€1.1bn) representing over half of the total cost of food-related illness.

The technology, Rapid Surface Chilling™, which involves swift chilling of the surface of the poultry using a cryogenic vapour, has been developed by BOC and Bernard Matthews in collaboration with the FSA and Campden BRI, the UK’s largest food and beverage R&D organisation.

The FSA’s 2015 target is to reduce the numbers of birds carrying the highest levels of contamination from 27% of the total population slaughtered in the UK - more than 800 million a year - to 10%. Results from initial batch trials indicate that Rapid Surface Chilling™ is an effective intervention that could enable the FSA to meet its targets.

Nathan Palmer, Business Director, Bulk and Cylinder Gases, BOC, said, “We are confident that our new Rapid Surface Chilling™ technology represents a significant step forwards towards meaningful reductions in Campylobacter infection and could enable the FSA’s contamination reduction targets to be met.”

An industrial scale trial using the patent-pending process and technology has already started at a leading poultry processor and member of the Campylobacter Joint Working Group with very positive initial results. During the next few weeks the trial will statistically validate the solution, ensure current poultry meat marketing regulations are adhered to and gain FSA and EU approval and support.

Jeremy Hall, Technical Director of Bernard Matthews Ltd, commented, “This is a key milestone in the development of a solution to an enormous and serious health concern in the broiler industry. These latest results are good news for the UK consumer and endorse the considerable efforts we are putting in to help reduce Campylobacter at the poultry processing stage.”

New cryogenic technology significantly reduces Campylobacter in poultry