Evisceration is essentially a disassembly of the carcass to separate the inedible portions from the edible portions of the carcass in a sanitary manner. This begins with the removal of the oil sac from the tail and venting (cutting) between the tail and around the cloaca
(commonly called the vent) to open into the abdominal cavity. The opening cut is then expanded to the posterior of the sternum (keel) and the viscera are pulled outside of the abdominal cavity, but are not detached prior to inspection.
Inspection is conducted by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. The exterior, interior body cavity, and viscera of each bird are individually examined by an inspector to ensure safety and wholesomeness for human consumption. Carcasses are either passed as wholesome, trimmed or cleaned prior to passing inspection, or are condemned as unsuitable for consumption. In 1996, the inspection of poultry was enhanced by passage of what is commonly referred to as the Mega-Reg, which requires the application of Hazard Analyses, Critical Control Point (HACCP), and zero tolerance for fecal contamination to reduce the presence of human pathogens. The inspection process is currently being modernized to a more science-based system.
Following inspection, the viscera are removed. The edible viscera (giblets), including the heart, liver, and gizzard, are separated, cleaned, and chilled in a separate operation. In addition to the viscera, the lungs and trachea are also removed. The neck is removed and sent to be handled with the giblets. The carcasses are thoroughly washed inside and outside, and then checked to be sure that all inedible parts have been satisfactorily removed and there is no visible fecal contamination left on the carcass.
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