For hygienic reasons, the process from unloading through picking must be performed in a separate area of the plant

Table 1 Summary of poultry processing operations



Processing steps


Poultry house

Transportation from farm to processing plant Processing plant Live handling and immobilization

Feed withdrawal Water withdrawal Catching

Holding sheds Unloading Shackling

Slaughter Stunning

Killing (neck cut)




Head removal


Hock removal and transfer to evisceration line Evisceration Removal of preen gland (base of tail)

Venting and opening cut Drawing of viscera INSPECTION (mandatory, USDA) Removal of viscera

Giblet salvage (heart, liver, and gizzard) Removal of crop, trachea, and lungs Remove neck (to go with giblets) Bird washer

Check station (look for processing errors) Carcasses transferred to chiller Chilling Chill to below 40°F

Removed from chiller and hung on shackles Packing and Sizing shipping Grading (optional)

Bulk packing

Shipping or transfer for internal further processing

Further processing (packaging, cutting up, deboning, marinating, cooking, etc.) Distribution (direct distribution to outlets, warehousing, frozen storage, brokers, export) Marketing (grocery stores, restaurants and institutional outlets, further processing, export)

from evisceration. Following picking, the carcasses are rinsed and then removed from the shackles by cutting the feet free at the hock joint. The carcasses are transferred to the evisceration area of the plant and rehung by the hock joint on the evisceration line.

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