Food safety and shelf-life are both important microbial concerns in relation to broiler meat production. Focus is mainly placed on the absence or control of potentially pathogenic microbes such as Salmonella and Campylobacter but, from commercial point of view, other spoilage bacteria also play a role. Regarding food safety, the primary target should be the production of pathogen-free live animals, thereby allowing slaughter plants to keep the processing line free of those micro-organisms. Pathogen-free feed is fundamental in obtaining such conditions, as is the Good Hygienic Practice in farming, including grand parent stock (GPS), parent stock (PS) and hatcheries. Interventions in the slaughter plant cannot always completely remove pathogens. However there are some measures of control available, including separation of flocks, carcass decontamination and implementing a balanced and operational HACCP system. Shelf-life is closely linked to food safety during processing. The developments towards in-line processing, including chilling, portioning and deboning, allows optimal control. It minimizes processing time and product to product contact, and thus increases shelf-life and limits cross contamination. Refrigeration conditions are very important and an interruption of the refrigeration chain can accelerate microbial growth. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) may contribute in controlling the undesired growth of spoilage organisms, and can play a role in food safety as well. The consumer needs to be educated in how to deal with food of animal origin that cannot be produced in an entirely sterile environment, in order to ensure shelf-life and correct preparation and use.
- broiler carcasses
- modified atmosphere