Treating beef carcasses with lactic acid (or milk acid) has been used for a while in the US beef industry as a way of reducing the incidence of pathogenic organisms and the number of bacteria.
Researchers from Colorado State University decided to test the effect of lactic acid treatment on cuts of meat just before sale instead of the whole carcass, as it generally takes 23 days to go from carcass to consumption.
They tested a range of percentages of lactic acid and found that 2% lactic acid treatment lowered the bacterial cell count but did not significantly alter the colour or pH of the cuts of meat compared to untreated controls.
As of the 25th February, the ban on the use of lactic acid as a decomtaminant in the EU beef processing industry is lifted. Its use is already permitted in the US.
The research paper is available from the University’s website: