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Quality and safety of broiler meat in various chilling systems

E. Demirok, G. Veluz, W.V. Stuyvenberg, M.P. Castañeda, A. Byrd, C.Z. Alvarado
Poultry science 2013 v.92 no.4 pp. 1117-1126
Campylobacter, Salmonella, air, bacterial contamination, breast meat, breasts, carcass yield, chicken carcasses, chicken meat, chilled meats, chlorine, color, cooking quality, cooling, drip loss, fillet quality, fillets, food contamination, meat quality, raw meat, sensory properties, shelf life, temperature, texture, water content
Chilling is a critical step in poultry processing to attain high-quality meat and to meet the USDA-Food Safety and Inspection Service temperature standards. This study was conducted to determine the effects of commercially available chilling systems on quality and safety of broiler meat. A total of 300 carcasses in 2 replications were randomly selected from a commercial processor and subjected to 3 systems: immersion chill (IC), air chill (AC), and combi in-line air chill (CIAC). Incidence of Salmonella and Campylobacter were determined on pre- and postchilled carcasses. Quality of the meat was evaluated by carcass yield, drip loss, cook loss, texture, moisture content, sensory qualities, and color (L*, a*, and b*) of boneless skinless breast fillets and skin-on drums. Shelf life of whole carcasses, breast fillets, and drums was also determined. The IC resulted in the most reduction of Salmonella (39.7%) and Campylobacter (43%) incidence due to the washing effect and presence of chlorine in the chilled water. There was no significant difference in shelf-life when comparing the chilling methods. The IC had the highest (P < 0.05) carcass yield (6.5%), followed by CIAC (+1.98.0%) and then AC (−1.10%). Drip loss, cook loss, and moisture content of breast fillets were not significantly different for all the chilling systems, but higher L* value was observed for breast fillets at 24 h postmortem treated with IC and CIAC. However, IC exhibited the lightest color and AC was darkest in the drum samples. Shear force of breast meat was significantly more tender for AC and CIAC. There were no differences in the sensory qualities of breast fillets and drums among the 3 chilling systems.