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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Young, Louis
item Smith, Douglas

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/16/2003
Publication Date: 1/20/2004
Citation: Young, L.L., Smith, D.P. 2004. Moisture retention by water-and air-chilled chicken broilers during processing and cutup operations. Poultry Science. 83:119-122.

Interpretive Summary: In order to ensure product safety, U. S. poultry processors chill carcasses in cold water immediately after slaughter. Any water absorbed and retained in the final product must be stated on the product label, but the amount absorbed and retained is affected by many processing variables. This study evaluated how much water is absorbed during normal processing and how much is retained after cut up and storage. This information will be invaluable to companies in dealing with labeling regulations and to government action agencies in assessing compliance by the poultry companies.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of storage and cutting on moisture retention by air- and water-chilled broiler chickens. Sixty-four broilers were slaughtered, chilled by either cold air or immersion in water, stored over night, cut into fore- and hind-quarters, and then stored an additional 24 h. Air chilling conditions were temperature 4 C with air velocity of 2.2 m3 per min. Water chilling conditions were temperature of 1 C with mechanical agitation. Moisture absorption and retention were observed as weight changes throughout the process. Air-chilled carcasses lost an average of 0.68% of their post-slaughter weight in storage prior to cutting, but lost no more during cutting or post-cutting storage. The water-chilled carcasses absorbed 11.7% moisture in chilling, but retained 6.98% through pre-cutting storage, 6.00 % through cutting and 3.90% through post-cutting storage. These data offer baseline values for use in complying with new USDA processing standards.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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