A note on sterilization for poultry products

This week, the Guardian’s Food & Drink columnist published a commentary on recent advice from the FDA that washing chicken increases the risk of microbial contamination, with water droplets potentially splashing over clothes, surfaces and hands.

Tim Dowling posted a witty repartee entitled “A lazy person’s guide to food hygiene”, focusing ironically on other methods to prepare meals safely.


Unfortunately, despite the joking tone of the column in question, the very first article discussed is that of “sterilizing” chicken in a dishwasher:

Washing raw chicken


Your dishwasher will sterilise most things. In fact, if you really have a urge to wash a chicken breast before cooking, you can skip a step by cooking it in the dishwasher. Just wrap it in foil first and be sure to run a whole cycle.


Within the Holmach office, this advice prompted not a round of sniggers, but rather recalled an outbreak of botulism in France in 2011 that landed 8 people in hospital. The product in question was an olive tapenade that had been under-processed by an unregistered company who used:

“[a] material [that] is unsuitable for sterilization, [which] was done with a washing machine type [machine]”.


In other news the end of May saw another recall of poultry due to underprocessing:

On 29/05/2014, Salmonella enteritidis (presence /25g) was detected in poultry meat processed in Poland, with raw material from Slovakia. The product was distributed to Poland, Slovakia. RASFF reference No.: 2014.0747.


Under-processing poultry (or indeed any product) is not a funny prospect, in terms of health risks, recall costs and negative publicity. Processing chicken in a dishwasher does not sterilize the product and risks E Coli or Botulinum contamination, as sterilization for this product would require a cook of above 120 degrees Celsius.

To be certain that you can demonstrate your product to be safe, Lagarde autoclaves have developed the Samantha control system. Providing full traceability with FDA formatted reports available from each and every cycle, the temperature and pressure is also uploaded almost simultaneously to the screen for the operator’s reference.


For further information on Lagarde autoclaves or to talk about processing solutions, contact Holmach on info@holmach.co.uk or call 01780 749097.


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