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young turkeys

sion, hardens the wax, which is later peeled in large pieces, pulling out the pinfeathers. The wax can be reused after reheating and filtering the feathers from the previous batch. When only minor problems of pinfeathers exist, singeing (the process of burning the small feathers) can be used. This is done by passing the carcass through a flame of a "clean" burning substance (eg, natural gas) that does not leave any off-odor or -flavor. The carcasses are then washed to remove all the soil left after the defeathering and singeing processes. Washing is usually followed by removing the oil gland. After this step, the carcasses are usually moved to another shackle line.

The evisceration process includes the opening of the body cavity and withdrawing the viscera. This process can be done manually by using a regular knife and a pair of scissors or automatically by using a circular saw and a scooplike arm to withdraw the viscera. In any case, special care should be taken not to pierce the viscera and contaminate the carcass. Such contamination can result, in some countries, in the condemnation of parts or the whole bird exposed to the spill. New automated equipment currently on the market allows viscera separation right after its withdrawal, which can improve the hygiene of the process. Once the viscera are exposed, the bird are inspected. The inspection is done at this point because certain diseases affect the intestine or liver. The inspection requirements differ among countries. In some countries it is required that each individual bird be inspected by a veterinarian; in other countries inspection is done on a whole flock basis and only a certain number of individual birds are inspected by a trained inspector. The viscera is removed after the inspection and giblets (liver, heart, and gizzard) are salvaged and washed in a separate line. This is followed by lung removal (manually or by a suction gun); head, crop, and windpipe removal; and a thorough washing of the carcass prior to chilling. The meat must then be chilled to minimize microbial growth. This step is mandatory in many countries, but where it is not, it is recommended that chilling take place as soon as possible. It is common to use long chillers with a counterflow of cold water or crushed ice to bring down the carcass temperature to about 4 to 5°C within 30 to 75 min. Air chillers are also used, but they might cause some surface dehydration if the relative humidity is not precisely controlled. In many countries, the amount of water pickup during the chilling process (when water is used) is regulated and is based on a certain percentage of the body weight. After chilling, the birds are usually packed or immediately deboned for further processing. Due to the relatively short time required for rigor mortis setup in poultry (as compared with red meat), no extra waiting time prior to chilling is required to prevent a phenomenon such as "cold shortening." Overall, the final meat quality is affected by different processing parameters (eg, stunning, chilling) as well as various growing and transporting parameters (1,5); all should be controlled for obtaining the best quality meat.

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