Air Chilling – Cleaner, Safer, Tastier

At Voodoo Farm, we go above and beyond industry standards to ensure the highest quality product and eliminate environmentally hazardous byproducts.

The American industrial poultry standard is water chilling the chickens in the last step of the harvest process. They must be chilled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit within two hours after processing. Industrial slaughterhouses accomplish this in the most retrograde and simplistic method; each bird is eviscerated on a mechanized conveyor belt and then ejected into a trough of ice water and chlorine. Typically, only one out of every 25 birds is inspected, if a bird is not fully eviscerated and then passed into the chill tank, it contaminates not only the water bath, but also cross contaminates the other chickens in the trough in this “the fecal soup.”

An industrial inspector said, “We often see birds going down the line with intestines still attached, which are full of fecal contamination. If there is no fecal contamination on the bird’s skin, however, we can do nothing to stop that bird from going down that line. It is more than reasonable to assume that once the bird gets into the chill tank, that contamination will enter the water and contaminate all of the other carcasses in the chiller. That’s why it is sometimes called ‘fecal soup.’”

Not only does this create a hazard for the consumer, water chilling also destroys the meat and creates biologically hazardous waste water. If you purchase a chicken from the supermarket there usually will be a ball of ice inside the body cavity. The label on the chicken will state “up to 7% water weight.”

When meat is immersed in water prior to freezing, osmosis of the water occurs causing the cells of the meat to flood with water where they then swell and rupture due upon freezing. If you have ever had tasteless, gummy chicken it is because the meat was damaged or destroyed due to this cellular damage.

We at Voodoo farm completely reject the American industrial standard of water chilling. Instead we strive to adhere to the Poulet Rouge label of poultry farming that has strict rules on how the birds are cared for, the space they have and how they are processed. As a result we use the European method of chilling meat ~ Air Chilling. No water trough is used. A large forced air refrigerator is employed to chill our birds to 40 degrees without the use of water. Each bird is hand harvested and processed individually one at a time and is inspected twice. By using air chilling we ensure there is no cross contact between the birds and it ensures a superior meat. Though costs and labor are higher with these standards, we believe that treating bird well during its life and harvest is worth it for the bird, consumer and environment.