Poultry Meat From Avian Species

The United States and China are the world leaders in meat animal production. The United States is the world's largest producer of beef, veal, broilers, and turkeys and is the second-largest producer of table eggs and pork. China is the world's largest producer of table eggs, swine, lamb and mutton, and horses, the second-largest in broilers, and third in beef and veal. None of that existed when Columbus first came to America (with the exception of possible domestication of turkeys in Mexico). Wild animals and birds were in abundance, and hunting easily supplied all the meat needs of the local inhabitants, and in future years a substantial part of the settlers' needs.

In his second voyage in 1493, Columbus brought to the West Indies livestock, which included chickens. In 1519 Cortez brought cattle and sheep to Mexico and brought turkeys back with him to Spain. De Soto brought horses and hogs to Florida in 1539, and later in the century missionaries brought these livestock to the Pacific Coast of North America. In the seventeenth century European settlers brought livestock and poultry to the United States. At that time pork was the main traditional meat source, partly because it could be well preserved without refrigeration. Chickens were used mostly for eggs and cockfights and less for meat. In 1641 the first meat-packing plant to produce salt pork was opened in Springfield, Massachusetts, by William Pynchon. Chickens were raised in the majority of households in small numbers. A hen laid about 60 eggs per year, mainly in the spring. Chickens provided the household with meat and eggs, and the surplus was bartered or sold in open markets.

In 1998 there were almost 9 billion meat-producing farm animals commercially raised on U.S. farms (Table 1). Many other animals were grown as specialty items for food, sport, and pleasure, mostly in low volume. Surprisingly, about 98% of all farm animals are birds. However, by amount of meat produced (in tons) and by revenue (in dollars), beef is still king, not only in the United States but also worldwide. Yet more people eat lamb, mutton, and sheep than any other animal flesh. The change of consumer preferences in meat consumption started slowly in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century and accelerated rapidly toward its end. The doubling of the American population since World War II from 132.1 million in 1940 to 269 million in 1998 strongly fueled the demand for poultry, resulting in the explosive growth in poultry production, meat consumption, and the emergence of a highly efficient vertically integrated poultry industry. Dramatic changes in lifestyle further increased the demand for poultry as a low-fat, convenient food. The majority of fat in poultry is deposited under the skin. Therefore substan-

Table 1. Major Meat-Producing Farm Animals On U.S. Farms (1998)

Broilers and roasters"








Beef and dairy cattle






Sheep and lamb






Source: United States Department of Agriculture.

"Life span of a broiler is 6 weeks and of a roaster is 10 weeks.

"1996 USDA figures.

cMost horsemeat is exported.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture.

"Life span of a broiler is 6 weeks and of a roaster is 10 weeks.

"1996 USDA figures.

cMost horsemeat is exported.

21. N. Ramarathnam, L. J. Rubin, and L. L. Diosady, "Studies on Meat Flavor. 4. Fractionation, Characterization, and Quantitation of Volatiles from Uncured and Cured Beef and Chicken," J. Agric. Food Chem. 41, 939-945 (1993).

22. U. Gasser and W. Grosch, "Primary Odorants of Chicken Broth," Z. Lebensm Unters Forsch. 190, 3-8 (1990).

23. D. L. Taylor and D. K. Larick, "Investigation Into the Effect of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extraction on the Fatty Acid and Volatile Profiles of Cooked Chicken," J. Agric. Food Chem. 43, 2369-2374 (1995).

24. M. Rothe, E. Kirova, and G. Schischkoff, "Sensory Profile Studies on Broth Quality Problems," Die Nahrung 25, 543552 (1981).

25. J. H. MacNeil and P. S. Dimick, "Poultry Product Quality. 3. Organoleptic Evaluation of Cooked Chicken and Turkey Skin Fractions as Affected by Storage Time and Temperature," J. Food Sci. 35, 191-195 (1970).

26. D. L. Taylor and D. K. Larick, "Volatile Content and Sensory Attributes of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extracts of Cooked Chicken Fat," J. Food Sci. 60, 1197-1200,1204 (1995).

27. A. E. Wasserman, "Chemical Basis for Meat Flavor, A Review," J. Food Sci. 44, 6-11 (1979).

28. J. Schliemann et al., "Chicken Flavour—Formation, Composition and Production. I. Flavour Precursors," Die Nahrung 31, 47-56 (1987).

29. E. L. Pippen and E. P. Mecchi, "Hydrogen Sulfide, A Direct and Potentially Indirect Constituents to Cooked Chicken Aroma," J. Food Sci. 34, 443-446 (1969).

30. E. L. Pippen, E. P. Mecchi, and M. Nonaka, "Origin and Nature of Aroma in Fat of Cooked Poultry," J. Food Sci. 34,436440 (1969).

31. S. Fors, "Sensory Properties of Volatile Maillard Reaction Products and Related Compounds, A Literature Review," in G. R. Waller and M. S. Feather, eds., The Maillard Reactions in Foods and Nutrition, American Chemical Society Symposium Series 215, Washington, D.C., 1983, pp. 185-286.

32. C. S. Rao, E. J. Day, and T. C. Chen, "Effects of pH on the Flavor Volatiles of Poultry Meat During Cooking," Poultry Sci. 56, 1034-1035 (1977).

33. S. S. Chang, and R. J. Paterson, "Recent Developments in the Flavor of Meat," J. Food Sci. 42, 298-305 (1977).

Cathy Y. W. Ang NCTR/FDA Jefferson, Arkansas

Duane K. Larick

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina

See also Poultry: meat from avian species.

Fantastic Organic Food Facts

Fantastic Organic Food Facts

Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Be A Success At Utilizing Organic Foods. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Getting The Right Information About Eating Healthy With Organic Food.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment