Have you ever wondered how the Group is able to deliver on Our Promise of Quality and get the Best Dressed Chicken to you in consistently excellent state? This close up look at our processing operations should help you understand:
Transporting ‘live’’ birds to the Plant
Chickens are transported to the Processing Plant in metal cages, placed on flat bed trucks. On arrival at the plant, each truck is weighed and then waits in the fan shed for processing. After the chickens are unloaded at the cage dump, the metal cages are replaced on the truck, which is reweighed in order to obtain the ‘live’’ weight of the chickens. Forklifts lift the metal cages in which the chickens are transported and place them on a conveyor system that moves them to the cage dump. The cages are tilted and the doors opened to allow the controlled decent of the chickens. The forklift removes the empty cages and replaces them on the truck, while a conveyor from the cage dump area takes the chickens to the ‘live’’ hang room where they are hung on a Kill Line.
The Automated Processing Process
The kill line is an overhead conveyor from which shackles are suspended. A red lighting system in this area assists with keeping the birds as stress-free as possible. `Live’’ chickens are hung by their feet in the shackles and dead ones are removed, counted and conveyed to the Rendering Plant.
The `live’’ chickens are conveyed via the Kill Line to a Stunner, which consists of a cabinet with a saline solution and a controlled current, which feeds from parallel electrodes. An electrical current is passed through the heads of the chickens that touches the electrodes in the solution – resulting in the chickens becoming unconscious as they move towards the mechanical killer. This apparatus severs the jugular vein and carotid artery; bleeding time is allowed prior to scalding and the blood collected is pumped to the Rendering Plant.
After bleeding, the chickens’’ carcasses are scalded by immersion in hot water. This process loosens the feathers and allows plucking. The feathers are removed, immediately after scalding, by a series of on-line plucking machines. The machines consist of banks of counter-rotating stainless steel discs with rubber fingers mounted on them. Continuous water sprays flush out feathers and reduce” drying out”. A flame-producing singer is responsible for removing the fine hairs remaining on carcasses.
The severed heads of the chickens are removed by catching them between two guide bars, which slope downwards in the direction in which the birds are traveling. The carcasses are counted electronically, followed by the severing of the feet from the body by a mechanical hock cutter.
The carcasses are then deposited on a re-hang conveyor, after which they are hung on two evisceration lines. The severed chicken feet remain on the shackles and are removed in the chicken foot department, where they are then stripped, chilled, inspected, packaged and then placed in Cold Storage. The empty kill line returns to the live hang area where another batch of chickens is hung … and the process begins again.
The Further-Cleaning Process … in the Evisceration Department.
Chicken carcasses, hung on evisceration lines, are taken to the evisceration department. The lines take the carcasses to the vent opening and cutting machines, where a vacuum-aided probe enters the vent and cleans the terminal end of the intestine. Thereafter, a rotating blade cuts out the vent and extracts it uniformly. The eviscerator pulls out the entire package of intestines, giblets and lungs and positions it over the back of the carcass for government inspection.
The Public Health Inspector performs on “line” inspection of carcasses; those that are deemed unfit for consumption are rejected and – along with windpipes, crop, intestines and other inedible parts – are conveyed, via drains, to the Rendering Plant.
Removed livers, hearts, gizzards and necks are dropped in troughs and pumped to the giblet department, where they are chilled and packaged.
After viscera removal and a final inspection of carcasses, the carcasses are washed thoroughly by an inside/outside carcass washer. This action removes any debris left on carcasses by the evisceration process. Carcasses are then unloaded into a pre-chiller to commence the chilling process.
Final Preparation for the Retail/Wholesale Market
The chilling process reduces the temperature of the carcasses and thereby minimizes bacterial growth. After exiting the chillers, the carcasses are graded based on several factors – including conformation, fleshing and fat covering, as well as missing parts. After grading, they are hung on a weighing system where they are weighed and then distributed to second processing departments, where they are packaged in whole form or as cut-up parts or de-boned meat. These products may be packaged in individual bags, tray wrapped in polyethylene or in bulk without individual wrapping. Together, the second processing departments generate products for wholesalers, retailers, hotel and tourism industry and quick service restaurants.
In keeping with consumer demand for products with easier and faster preparation time, the Plant also produces marinated products. The market forms of these products include whole birds, cut-up parts and de-boned meat, which are seasoned to different tastes.
Quality – At Every Stage
At the Processing Plant, quality is controlled at every stage of every process. The Quality Control Department monitors each process and tests products to ensure that specifications and safety requirements are met consistently. We take special care to ensure that the quality of our products is never compromised. In this way we deliver on Our Promise of Quality !
ISO 14001 Certified
The Best Dressed Chicken Processing Plant is proud to be the first poultry processing operation in the Caribbean region to gain the ISO 14001-Environmental Management System Standard (EMS) certification, in January 2007. With the emphasis in world trade on issues related to the protection of the environment and sustainable use of resources with this certification we are now poised to benefit from enhanced access to opportunities in the global market.
We are convinced that an environmental management system is a powerful management tool which will help us to address the long term impacts of our products, services and processes on the environment and by so doing; we will continue to improve our performance. Our objectives are to conserve energy and water, improve the management of our solid waste with emphasis on reducing, recycling or reusing where possible.
Our commitment to sound environmental management has resulted in improved internal efficiencies, better conservation of resources such as energy, potable and waste water, as well as achieving a more environmentally-friendly operation.