Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 24, 2013
Publication Date: May 1, 2013
Citation: Zhuang, H., Bowker, B.C., Buhr, R.J., Bourassa, D.V., Kiepper, B.H. 2013. Effects of broiler carcass scalding and chilling methods on quality of early-deboned breast fillets. Poultry Science. 92(5):1393-1399. Interpretive Summary: Chicken carcass scalding and chilling are two essential steps in modern commercial poultry processing. Scalding temperature as well as time is critical for removal of feathers, control of bacteria growth on carcass surface, and retention of skin and breast meat color. Chilling is used to reduce microbial growth on processed poultry meat products and improper chilling can damage breast meat functionality and quality. In the present study, we investigated effects of chicken carcass scalding and chilling methods on quality of broiler breast meat. Our results showed no quality differences for chicken breast meat between the carcasses scalded in 52.8C water for 3 min and these scalded in 60C water for 1.5 min. However, meat surface color, purge loss, cook yield, and texture of chicken breast were significantly different between air-chilled breast meat and water-chilled breast meat. Breast meat from air-chilled carcasses lost less water during storage and cooking and more tender after cooking than that from water-chilled carcasses. The effects of chilling method on the quality of chicken breast meat were not different from two scalding temperatures. These results demonstrate that scalding temperature or method does not affect quality of chicken breast meat. However, chilling method can result in quality differences in finished chicken breast meat products. Poultry processors can select carcass chilling method to alter chicken breast meat quality.
Technical Abstract: The impact of scalding and chilling methods on quality of broiler breast fillets (pectoralis major) was evaluated. In four replications, 6 to 7 wk old male and female broilers were slaughtered and scalded either at 60ºC for 1.5 min (hard scalding) or 52.8ºC for 3 min (soft scalding). Following evisceration, the carcasses were either air-chilled (0.5ºC, 120 min) or immersion-chilled in water and ice (79 L/carcass, 0.5ºC, 40 min, air agitated). Breast fillets were removed from the carcass within 4 h postmortem. Quality criteria including fillet color (both dorsal and ventral sides), pH, total moisture content, water-holding capacity (drip loss and cook yield), and Warner-Bratzler shear force were determined. Significant interaction between replication and scalding was found for pH and cook yield and between replication and chilling for pH when the data were grouped based on gender/body weight (Replication 3 females with lighter body weight) and analyzed. No significant differences (p>0.05) between the two scalding methods were observed for any of the quality criteria except for pH and cook yield from Replication 3. However, immersion chilling resulted in higher (p<0.05) ventral L* value (by 2.9), higher pH (by 0.16), higher drip loss (by 0.5%), higher shear force (by 15.8 N), lower cook yield (by 1.8%), and higher dorsal (by 0.6) and lower ventral b* values (by 1.0) compared with air chilling. There were no interactions (p>0.05) between chilling and scalding methods on any of the measurements. These results indicate that the effects of scalding and chilling methods on quality of broiler breast meat can be influenced by carcass characteristics such as body weight and/or gender. Effects of chilling method on fillet quality were independent of scalding method used in our experiments. Chilling method has a greater impact on breast fillet quality than scalding method.