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Poult Sci. 2006 Oct;85(10):1802-6.

Broiler carcass bacterial counts after immersion chilling using either a low or high volume of water.

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USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Russell Research Center, Athens, GA 30604-5677, USA.


A study was conducted to investigate the bacteriological impact of using different volumes of water during immersion chilling of broiler carcasses. Market-aged broilers were processed, and carcasses were cut into left and right halves along the keel bone immediately after the final bird wash. One half of each carcass pair was individually chilled at 4 degrees C in a separate bag containing either 2.1 L/kg (low) or 16.8 L/kg (high) of distilled water. Carcass halves were submersed in a secondary chill tank containing approximately 150 L of an ice-water mix (0.6 degrees C). After chilling for 45 min, carcass halves were rinsed with 100 mL of sterile water for 1 min. Rinses and chill water were analyzed for total aerobic bacteria (APC), Escherichia coli, Enterobacteriaceae, and Campylobacter. After chilling with a low volume of water, counts were 3.7, 2.5, 2.6, and 2.1 log(10) cfu/mL of rinse for APC, E. coli, Enterobacteriaceae, and Campylobacter, respectively. When a high volume of chill water was used, counts were 3.2, 1.7, 1.6, and 1.8 log(10) cfu/mL of rinse for APC, E. coli, Enterobacteriaceae, and Campylobacter, respectively. There was no difference in bacterial counts per milliliter of chill water among treatments. These results show that using additional water during immersion chilling of inoculated broilers will remove more bacteria from the carcass surfaces, but numbers of bacteria per milliliter in the chiller water will remain constant. The bacteriological impact of using more water during commercial immersion chilling may not be enough to offset economic costs.

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