1. A previous study has shown that emulsions of monocaprin in citrate lactate buffer at pH 4·1–4·3 are highly active in killing Campylobacter in water, where they reduce viable bacterial counts by more than 6 log10 colony forming units (cfu) in 1 min at a concentration of 1·25 mM (0·03%).
2. The present study was carried out to evaluate whether monocaprin emulsions could be used to kill Campylobacter on raw poultry.
3. It was shown that immersion of naturally contaminated chicken legs in 20 mM (0·5%) monocaprin emulsion at pH 4·1 for 1 min at 20°C reduced the number of Campylobacter by 2·0 to 2·7 log10 cfu. Pre-chill dipping of whole carcases into 20 mM monocaprin emulsion in the slaughterhouse also caused a significant reduction in Campylobacter contamination.
4. Immersion in monocaprin emulsions at pH 4·1 was also assessed as a means to reduce the number of psychrotrophic spoilage bacteria. There were lower psychrotrophic bacteria counts on treated chicken parts than on untreated controls after storage at 3°C for up to 14 d.
5. Immersion in emulsions of monocaprin, which is a natural lipid classified as GRAS, may be a feasible method to reduce the number of Campylobacter and spoilage bacteria on raw poultry. This method could reduce the risk of human exposure to Campylobacter, and at the same time increase the shelf-life of poultry products.