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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #404840

Research Project: Assessment of Quality Attributes of Poultry Products, Grain, Seed, Nuts, and Feed

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Title: Impact of delayed carcass processing on broiler breast meat quality

item Bowker, Brian
item Zhuang, Hong
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item KIEPPER, BRIAN - University Of Georgia
item DALEY, WAYNE - Georgia Tech
item SAMOYLOV, ALEXANDER - Georgia Tech

Submitted to: International Congress of Meat Science and Technology Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2023
Publication Date: 8/20/2023
Citation: Bowker, B.C., Zhuang, H., Buhr, R.J., Kiepper, B., Daley, W., Samoylov, A. 2023. Impact of delayed carcass processing on broiler breast meat quality. International Congress of Meat Science and Technology Proceedings. 450.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Slaughtering broilers on the farm would eliminate the animal welfare concerns associated with transporting live birds. However, this would likely cause a time delay between the stunning-bleeding steps and the scalding-picking-evisceration steps of slaughter processing. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of delayed broiler carcass processing on breast meat quality. Broilers were electrically stunned, bled, and then subjected to a 0 (control), 2, 4, or 6 h delay before proceeding through the remaining processing steps. After carcass defeathering, breast fillets were removed from the carcasses, chilled on ice, and stored overnight at 4°C. Meat quality measurements were assessed approximately 24 h postmortem. Visual assessment of raw fillets indicated that delayed carcass processing resulted in a greater proportion of fillets with reddish discoloration on the skin-side surface on the cranial end. This observation was supported by increased a* values in raw fillets. After cooking, no differences in meat color were observed on the skin-side of fillets. No treatment differences in meat pH were observed. With regards to water-holding capacity, delayed processing had minimal effects. Drip loss after 4 and 7 days was similar between treatments. Thaw loss was not influenced by delayed processing. Cook loss in fresh samples was similar between 0, 2, and 4 h treatments but was greater in 6 h samples. In fresh samples, cooked shear measurements indicated that delayed processing can result in more tender meat. This is likely due to the muscle remaining on the bone during rigor mortis development with delayed carcass processing. Marination uptake was greater in 6 h samples compared to controls. In marinated samples, differences in meat color and cook loss were not observed. In marinated samples, shear measurements were similar between controls (0 h) and delayed processing samples. Overall, data from this study suggest that potential delays in carcass processing inherent with on-farm slaughter would likely not be detrimental to meat quality.