Once evisceration is complete, birds are transported to the chilling area.
The average bird temperature of 36-38° is lowered to 4-6° to prevent bacterial growth that could cause contamination of the meat.
There are three methods of chilling:
– ice water chilling
– air chilling
– combined air/ice water
The first is carried out in so-called “chillers”. Here, birds are cleared from the line and introduced into one end of the chiller, and removed from the other end once chilling is complete.
Birds are moved through the chiller by a spiral conveyor. Usually, two chillers are placed adjacent to each other – the second of these is fed with blocks of ice to maintain the water temperature at 2-3°C.
In air chilling, birds are suspended on special hooks and passed through a chiller tunnel through which cold air is circulated. This chilling method is regarded as being the best, and is preferable to water chilling due to a lower risk of contamination and improved product preservation.