WATT PoultryUSA - October 2015 - 16

16 ❙ WATT POULTRY USA

■ POULTRY PROCESSING

Comparing broiler processing
chilling techniques
Air and water chilling have distinct advantages and disadvantages;
combination systems could offer the best of both approaches.
BY DAVID BEAVERS

» Chilling broilers during processing reduces spoilage,
increases shelf life, and enhances yield and quality.
Batch methods were used traditionally, with the product
placed in refrigerated rooms or large ice tanks and held
until carcass temperature was reduced.
As demand for poultry grew, processing capacity
needed to increase, and the time required to chill dressed
chickens in batch containers created a bottleneck. 
The poultry industry began to develop a continuous in-line process to address this in the 1950s. Today,
while some very small companies still use batch chilling, most operations use inline chillers. 

Variety of approach
Capacity has increased, but the technology has been
influenced by regional consumer preference and diverse
regulatory requirements, leading to very different chilling methods being developed.
Most operations use variations of three chilling processes. The most commonly used is continuous water
immersion chilling; second are air chill system variations; third, which is increasingly being adopted, is a
combination of water and air chill technology.
Regardless of method, temperatures must be
brought quickly below 4C (40F). The ideal situation is
to reach 4C at the end of the continuous chilling step,
and before secondary processing and packing. Colder
product will have much less cutting loss, floor shrink
and cooler shrink, thus increasing final yields.

» Water chilling remains the most widely used and offers
a higher yield.

Water chilling poultry
Continuous water chilling systems are used most.
They will always provide more yield than other systems, and they are the most efficient when combined
with good agitation, adequate refrigeration and dwell
time.  Advantages of water chill include:
» Initial cost is much lower compared to air chill
» Refrigeration and electricity costs are much lower
» Floor footprint is up to eight times smaller
» It requires a much shorter dwell time
» Yield advantage. Water chilling prevents dehydration
and, when combined with proper scalding and picking, allows for increases in retainable moisture. The
new Rocker chiller technology can even increase the
yield of boneless skinless breast meat.
» Microbial reduction through the washing action of
the prechiller. Where permitted, the water chiller is
also an excellent place for chemical intervention.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ October 2015


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