With more than 200 active poultry slaughterhouses in Iran and the growing market need for high quality products as well as the development of export markets, we decided to briefly present some factors in slaughter process at different stages which affect the quality of chicken meat.
1. Chicken handling and hooking
In order to maintain the appearance, the thigh of the chicken should be held with three index, middle and sixty fingers, taking it out of the basket and hang at a 90-degree angle to the hook. To facilitate this process, it is recommended to use good quality conveyor belts and separate the unloading and hooking sections.
2. Shock process control
Each chicken should wait for the shock for maximum of 30 seconds (to calm the bird) then enters a shocker with a standard design.
“Scalder” and “Chiller” are considered the most important stages for chicken meat quality. To show the importance of this stage, we should mention the difference in the storage time of warm chicken in Iran and Europe (3 days in Iran and 6 days in Europe) and its various methods:
1. Hard scald method: Chickens are placed in the scalder at 57 °C for 2 to 3 minutes then enter the defeathering. This method destroys the protective layer of the skin and the chicken rots more quickly. (A common method in Iran slaughterhouses)
2. Soft scald method: It is one the best methods and is done at temperature between 51°C and 55°C for 2 minutes. The protective layer of the skin remains and rotting time of the carcass is maximized. Chicken gets out from the scald with yellow skin. For this method you must use high quality scalder and defeathering equipment.
It’s recommended to use the Alberk’s two-pieces scalders to eliminate unpleasant odor and increase the quality of chicken.
Clearly this stage plays an important role in the chicken appearance. If low quality machines are used, many physical injuries, including injuries to the carcass, fractures in wings and thighs will occur.
Evisceration using automatic machines includes:
A) Water chillers are common in developing countries.
B) Air chillers are common in Canada and Europe.
C) Combined system (water and air) that are very common in Asian countries, USA, Iran and Brazil with various designs. Due to the ability to control and change speed, product quality fit for the final market and the profitability of the slaughterhouse, we believe is the most suitable system to run in Iran.
In this article, we briefly reviewed the factors affecting the quality of chicken carcass during the slaughter process, in future articles we will discuss the important factors before slaughter.