Cleaning and Disinfecting in Organic Poultry Production

Organic Agriculture April 29, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

NOTE: Before applying ANY product, be sure to 1) read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and 2) make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier. For more information see Can I Use this Product for Disease Management on my Organic Farm?

Introduction

A good organic poultry health program begins with a plan for cleaning and disinfecting the equipment and facilities used.

  • Cleaning refers to the removal of organic material from objects.
  • Disinfecting refers to the destruction of microorganisms on objects.
  • Sanitizing refers to the simultaneous cleaning and disinfecting of objects.

The first step is cleaning—removing all the organic material. Most disinfectants are ineffective if they can't get through the organic material to attack the microorganisms, and they will be inactivated in the presence of organic material. Many disinfectants require a certain concentration and contact time in order to be effective. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

A variety of substances can be used as cleansers, disinfectants and sanitizers for organic poultry production, but it is important to verify with your certifying agent before using any specific product. The products below typically act rapidly to destroy bacteria but break down quickly so that they do not leave an active residue behind.

Acetic acid (Vinegar)

In the U.S., vinegar is 5% acetic acid. Higher concentrations are more effective, but need to be purchased through chemical suppliers and not in the grocery store or pharmacy. A solution of 1% acetic acid can be used to decontaminate the surface of freshly laid eggs.

Status: Allowed
Class: Livestock Feed Ingredients, Livestock Health Care, Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Origin: Nonsynthetic Agricultural
Description: Nonsynthetic forms of acetic acid may be used topically and as disinfectants. For use as a disinfectant and sanitizer. Organic sources required for internal use.
NOP Rule: 205.105 & 205.238(c)(1)

Alcohols

Alcohols work by denaturing bacterial proteins but they do not work in the absence of water. It is for this reason that a 70% isopropyl alcohol is more effective than a 99% pure product. Alcohols are effective against a wide range of microorganisms including vegetative bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They do not, however, work against spores. Although they have been shown to inhibit sporulation and spore germination, this effect is reversible. The lack of sporicidal activity makes alcohols ineffective sanitizers, so they are mainly used for cleaning hard surfaces or skin.

Ethanol

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Livestock Health Care, Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Origin: Synthetic
Description: May be used as a disinfectant and sanitizer only. In medical treatments, may be used only as a topical disinfectant.
NOP Rule: 205.603(a)(1)(i) As disinfectants, sanitizer, and medical treatments as applicable. For use as disinfectant and sanitizer.

Isopropanol

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Livestock Health Care, Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Origin: Synthetic Nonagricultural
Description: May only be used as a disinfectant.
NOP Rule: 205.603(a)(1)(ii) Isopropanol. For use as disinfectant only.

Chlorine materials

Chlorine products are effective, cheap and widely available, making them the most common disinfectant. Sodium hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach, is used most frequently. Pure bleach typically must be diluted before being used. Calcium hypochlorite is typically used as a swimming pool additive.

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Origin: Synthetic
Description: May be used for disinfecting livestock facilities and equipment. Residual chlorine levels in the water in direct contact with food products shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, currently 4 mg/L (4 ppm) expressed as chlorine. Includes calcium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide and sodium hypochlorite.
NOP Rule: 205.603(a)(7) As disinfectants, sanitizer, and medical treatments as applicable… Chlorine materials—disinfecting and sanitizing facilities and equipment. Residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act. See also: (i) Calcium hypochlorite. (ii) Chlorine dioxide. (iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

For more information on the use of chlorine products, refer to the NOP guidance document The use of chlorine materials in organic production and handling.

Calcium hypochlorite

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Processing Sanitizers and Cleaners
Origin: Synthetic Nonagricultural
Description: May only be used as a disinfectant and sanitizer for food contact surfaces provided it is not used in or on organic food or other organic processed products. Residual chlorine levels in water shall not exceed the Maximum Residual Disinfectant Limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, currently 4 mg/L (4 ppm) expressed as chlorine.
NOP Rule: 205.605(b)

Chlorine dioxide

Examples of commercial products include CDG Solution 3000® and Oxine®, both of which are OMRI listed.

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Origin: Synthetic
Description: May be used for disinfecting livestock facilities and equipment. Residual chlorine levels in the water in direct contact with food products shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, currently 0.8 mg/L (0.8 ppm) expressed as chlorine dioxide.
NOP Rule: 205.603(a)(5)

Sodium hypochlorite (bleach)

Examples of commercial products include Oxcide® (OMRI listed) and Keeper® (meets USDA organic regulations - check with certifying agent before using).

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Processing Sanitizers and Cleaners
Origin: Synthetic Nonagricultural
Description: May only be used as a disinfectant and sanitizer for food contact surfaces. Residual chlorine levels in water shall not exceed the Maximum Residual Disinfectant Limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, currently 4 mg/L (4 ppm) expressed as chlorine.
NOP Rule: 205.605(b)

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used in the drinking water. It is considered environmentally friendly because it rapidly breaks down into water and oxygen. Hydrogen peroxide is effective against viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and bacterial spores. Higher concentrations and longer contact times are required to kill spores. Examples of commercial products are PLC™ Poultry Drinking Water System Line Cleaner (OMRI listed) and OxyBlast (meets USDA organic regulations - check with certifying agent before using).

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Origin: Synthetic
Description: Also known as hydrogen dioxide.
NOP Rule: As disinfectants, sanitizers, and medical treatments as applicable.

Iodine

An example of a commercial iodine disinfectant is BioSentry® (check with certifying agent before using).

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Livestock External Parasiticides and Pesticides, Livestock Feed Ingredients, Livestock Health Care, Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Origin: Synthetic
Description: Restricted as a feed supplement and for use as a sanitizer and topical disinfectant. Nutrient sources include calcium iodate, calcium idobehenate, cuprous iodide, 3,5-diiodosalicylic acid, potassium iodate, potassium iodide, sodium iodate, sodium iodide, thymol iodide. Sanitizers and topical disinfectant sources include potassium iodide and elemental iodine in phosphoric acid solution.
NOP Rule: 205.603(a)(10), 205.603(b)(2) & 205.603(d)(2) As disinfectants, sanitizers, and medical treatments as applicable. As topical treatment, external parasiticide, or local anesthetic as applicable. As feed additives… Trace minerals, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.

Peroxyacetic/peracetic acid

Peroxyacetic acid kills spores, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It works by denaturing proteins, including enzymes, and makes cell walls leaky. Peroxyacetic acid also decomposes into safe byproducts (acetic acid and oxygen) and can remain active in the presence of organic matter contamination. Examples of commercial products include SaniDate® 5.0 and Oxivir.

Classification: Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Category: Peroxyacetic/Peracetic Acid (CAS #79-21-0)
Restriction: May only be used for disinfecting facility, processing equipment, seed and asexually propagated planting material.

Phosphoric acid

Phosphoric acid is corrosive and may damage equipment. It must be handled with care.

Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids
Origin: Synthetic
Description: For use only as an equipment cleaner. Direct contact with organic livestock or land is prohibited.
NOP Rule: 205.603(a)(14) Phosphoric acid—allowed as an equipment cleaner, Provided, That, no direct contact with organically managed livestock or land occurs.

References and Citations

  • Agricultural Marketing Service—National Organic Program [Online]. United States Department of Agriculture. Available at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/ (verified 07 April 2013).
  • National Organic Program. 2011. NOP 5026. Guidance: The use of chlorine materials in organic production and handling [Online]. United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Marketing Service. Available at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5090760 (verified 07 April 2013).

 

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.