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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit » Research » Research Project #443081

Research Project: Sustainable Poultry Processing Research

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Project Number: 6040-42440-001-011-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2027

1. Develop treatment systems that safely upcycle waste materials and nutrients from poultry processing into products and services of value. 2. Determine the influence of controlled atmosphere stunning systems on the levels of foodborne contaminants, biochemical, meat quality, and sensory characteristics of raw and further processed products.

Multiple approaches will be used to extract valuable resources from poultry processing wastewater and wastewater solids which are currently discharged to sewer systems or land-applied. We will develop a treatment train that eliminates pathogens and removes antimicrobial processing aids from the waste stream, resulting in water suitable for crop irrigation. Strategies to mitigate odor and pathogens from processing solids will also be developed, transforming this material from a public nuisance into an asset. Finally, wetland treatment systems will be developed for ultimate treatment of residual nutrients and pollutants in processing wastewater downstream of crop irrigation. A multidisciplinary approach will be utilized to focus on specific aspects of controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) to enhance poultry processing food safety and sustainability. We will determine the impact of CAS on foodborne contaminants resulting from changes in transport module types/handling and physiological responses that occur due to stunning process. Meat quality, shelf life, and well-being of chickens stunned using the CAS system will be evaluated, then stunning parameters optimized to ensure a sustainable process. CAS stunned broilers will be evaluated for the changes in the pH, sarcomere shortening, calpain-cathepsin system as well as effects on texture, myosin degradation, water holding capacity and yield of fresh and further processed products (batter breaded and fried, baked etc.) during storage. Effects of CAS on the antioxidant ability as well as lipid oxidation (TBARS and fatty acid profile) will be analyzed. Mathematical equations will be built using the data to predict the effects of CAS parameters on meat quality. Evaluation and optimization will be conducted through analysis of meat quality and shelf life of both raw and cooked products using quantitative evaluation methods, descriptive trained sensory panels, naïve consumer panels, and electronic nose. Well-being will be optimized through evaluation of carcass damage (e.g. wing damage, bruising) and blood hormone stress indicators. Consumer perceptions of the impact of stunning methods on chicken welfare and willingness to pay for the welfare will be investigated using a conjoint analysis based on online surveys and/or in-person interviews.