Killing and bleeding are critical steps in poultry processing that must be carried out with care and precision to ensure humane slaughter and maintain meat quality and safety. Achieving uniform and accurate cuts for all birds is essential to ensure high product quality. However, processing at high speeds can pose challenges to both the cutting rate and accuracy.
A broiler typically has a blood volume equal to 6-7.5% of its live weight. During the bleeding process, the objective is to remove 45-50% of the total blood volume, which is approximately 3% of the live body weight. The primary purpose of removing blood quickly is to induce rapid brain death and prevent the bird from recovering from stunning during the bleed-out phase.
To ensure that no birds enter the scalding process alive, backup staff are required to manually handle birds that are missed or not correctly cut by the killing machine. However, at high speeds, it can be challenging to identify mis-cuts, and a poorly functioning killing machine can result in too many birds requiring manual backup.
By conducting a faster bleed-out, the risk of animal welfare issues can be minimized.
An improperly adjusted killing machine can result in costly product downgrades. Mis-cuts can result in reduced bleed- out, leading to red skin, or unintended product damage. In either scenario, the processor suffers significant economic losses. Therefore, it is crucial that the killing machine is equipped with adjustment features that facilitate precise product positioning regardless of flock size.
To consumers, uniform and healthy meat colour is crucial, and any deviation in colour could result in the rejection of the meat. Many parameters can affect meat color, and some of them are related to inadequate bleeding.
The pH level refers to the level of acidity or alkalinity in the meat, and it can affect the colour, texture and overall quality. Following death, the pH level of the breast muscle begins to decline due to the lactic acid formation, resulting in a colour change in the meat.
Poultry meat has a slightly acidic end pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Lower pH levels lead to paler meat color, while higher levels result in darker meat.
Hemoglobin is an oxygen-carrying protein in the blood that imparts a red color to meat. When blood is not correctly drained from capillaries, the hemoglobin in the remaining blood causes reddish meat color and a more pronounced flavor and aroma.
Poultry meat is a perishable food product that can spoil rapidly if not handled correctly. Several factors influence its shelf life, such as the way it is stored, the processing and transport conditions, and bleed-out, which also affects the final expiry date.
Blood contains nutrients that promote bacterial growth, leading to meat spoilage or foodborne illness. Furthermore, hemoglobin presence promotes oxidation reactions, which can result in meat spoilage. By removing the blood through bleed-out, bacterial growth is reduced, and oxidation reactions are minimized, extending the meat’s shelf life.
The presence of blood proteins in the scalding tank can lead to excessive foaming, which can interfere with the scalding process. The foam temperature is lower than that of the scalding water, promoting bacterial growth and cross-contamination. Additionally, the foam can create air pockets around the bird, resulting in uneven penetration of heat into the feather package, causing poor feather removal. Thus, adequate bleed-out is crucial to ensure an effective and hygienic scalding process.
In broilers, approximately 16% of the total blood volume is located in the organs, 15% in the carotid arteries, 5% in the capillaries, and the majority, 64%, in the jugular veins. An efficient frontal cut can sever both carotid arteries and jugular veins, automatically maximizing the bleed-out process.
The Killing Machine 2320 performs a precise frontal cut even at processing speeds of up to 15,000 birds per hour. Its design is optimized to maximize bleed- out and ensure quick brain death, regardless of flock size or line speed. Multiple adjustment features enable the processor to fine-tune product positioning and cutting, reducing the risk of expensive mis-cuts.
Contact your local BAADER office to receive expert advice.