Processing Meat Chickens
Chickens are taken directly from the growing farms to the processing plant where they are unloaded from their transport crates or modules, slaughtered, plucked, cleaned, cooled and graded. They are then either packaged and frozen or chilled, or processed further into various products prior to packaging and sale to distributors.
Processing plants are very large, highly mechanised operations. Much of the improvement in industry’s efficiency over the past five decades is due to increasingly automated poultry plants.
For example, in 1962 a typical 6,000 bird per hour processing plant employed approximately 300 people from live-bird handling to distribution, whereas today the same plant would employ 100 people. Australia’s largest poultry processing establishment kills and processes 33 million birds per year, or 630,000 birds per week.
All significant poultry processing operations in Australia have a systematic preventative approaches to managing food safety risks, with approved and regularly audited Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) programs in place.