Poultry meat preparation and religions

Poultry slaughtering, the religiously correct way or how birds should be slaughtered according to certain religions.

Contrary to other animals like pigs or cows, there is no religion in the world that does not allow the consumption of poultry. Some, however, prescribe very precisely the conditions and the way in which the animals should be slaughtered.

The two best know being:

  1. Hallal (or “Muslim”) slaughtering.

Hereby the animals may not be stunned before killing (as is the case in a “normal” procedure).

One of the main reasons is to get the best possible bleeding of the animal, which has a positive effect on the ”shelf life” (time that the product can be kept before consumption).
However, the killing should be in such a way that the animal suffers the least possible, so the incision of the arteries should be done with an always sharp knife and the cut should be complete.
Furthermore the person who applies the actual cut should say a prayer for each individual animal (actually dedicate it to Allah) and the action of killing should take place into the direction of the town of Mecca. Fully automated slaughtering is still to controversial for most muslims. You can read more on that subject here.

  1. Kosher (or “Jewish”) slaughtering:

The Central Laws of Kashrus (Kosher Foods & Kosher Kitchen) are actually of Biblical origin and in the case of poultry they state that "most fowl are permissible, including duck, goose, chicken, turkey and others", so long as there is kosher supervision.

Like in hallal slaughtering, kosher slaughtering also forbids stunning and a rabbi should do the actual killing. The process of cutting the trachea and esophagus of the bird is known as shechita.
Additionally to the requirements in the Halal slaughtering process, the animals should be put in a funnel after the artery cut is made in order to prevent that blood may come on the wings when they are flapping. After this operation they are hung to the processing line.

Another difference with the procedure practiced in a “normal” slaughtering plant is that scalding (passing the birds through hot water after they have been killed and bled, which is normally done to prepare the epidermis (upper skin) so that the feathers come off more easily) is prohibited and should be done with cold water. This makes the de-feathering much more difficult to do and often results in much more labor for finishing of the plucking.

At the end of the operation (after have been plucked and eviscerated – intestines and giblets removed-) the product passes through a chilling tank with water to which salt is added in order to get an optimal removal of the possible remaining blood rests.

story contributed by a nameless reader from the poultry processing business.

More interesting links:

| Poultry page | Latest news about Bird flu | Poultry in the news | food safety | manual slaughtering | top of this page | poultry recipes | Health and poultry | Choosing the red or the white meat |

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