페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

FRESHLY KILLED CHICKENS.

99

growth should be employed. Birds prepared in this way for the market are extremely tender and palatable and bring the highest prices where their merits are recognized.

Artificial Feeding.—Where chickens of greater age are prepared for the market they are subjected, during the last two or three weeks previous to sale, to a forcing process in order to produce more fat and make their flesh more-palatable. To this end the chickens are fed from time to time mechanically by passing a tube into the craw and forcing the food therein. Fowls prepared in this way bring high prices in the market and the largest profits to the growers. It is a method, however, which is not used in the raising of the ordinary poultry found on the market.

Preparing Chickens for the Market.—Chickens are sold in four different conditions in the markets of this country. First, they are offered alive. A great many purchasers prefer to get their poultry in this way because they can then be certain that it has not been long killed and kept in cold storage or preserved by means of chemicals. It is a very common custom for consumers to have their own chicken coups and buy a number of birds at a time and fatten them particularly for their own use. Under the present system of law this method is highly to be commended as a certain way of knowing the age of the poultry consumed. With proper municipal and state regulations of the markets it would not be necessary for the consumer to go to this trouble since when rigid inspection and certification are established, the age of the chicken offered on the market can be easily ascertained. Until such time comes, however, on the part of the consumer, the desirability of securing chickens alive cannot be denied.

Freshly Killed Chickens.—Chickens which have been killed within twentyfour or forty-eight hours and properly kept may be regarded as freshly killed. There is a very wide-spread opinion, and probably founded on reliable experiments, that fowls are better if they are kept some time after slaughter, provided they are kept in a proper way. In the winter time it is customary, especially in Europe, to hang the fowl for a week or ten days exposed to the ordinary temperature, before consumption. This, of course, is a practice which could not be indulged in in warm weather. Fowls, however, can be hung in cold storage even in the summer time and with the same advantage which accrues by hanging them in ordinary temperature in the winter time. Just how long fowls should be kept after slaughter in this way in order to secure a maximum degree of palatability has not been scientifically determined. There is evidently a limit beyond which the keeping of slaughtered fowls should not be indulged in. If a low and even temperature could be secured it may be certain that the hanging of the fowl for a week or ten days is not too long. The temperature, however, should not be much above the freezing point.

Freshly killed chickens are offered in two forms, namely, drawn and un

drawn. The proper method of keeping a slaughtered chicken has been the subject of very lively discussions. There are many who are advocates of the exposure of the chicken in the undrawn state asserting that in this condition it is less exposed to infection and keeps better during the necessary time elapsing between slaughter and consumption. This argument is advanced chiefly by dealers. On the other hand the consumer, as a rule, is in favor of having the chicken drawn before it is exposed for sale, that is, as soon as it is slaughtered. There is perhaps much to be said on both sides of this question. If, however, chickens are to be secured by the consumer within forty-eight hours after slaughter there can be no very great danger of infection by having them undrawn. The subject is one of sufficient importance to warrant an extended scientific investigation and upon this investigation the municipal and state regulations for the sale of poultry can be based. It is not wise in such cases to be swayed solely by prejudice or sentiment but rather by the facts which can be ascertained by unbiased scientific investigation. Because a chicken weighs more undrawn is probably one of the reasons why dealers prefer them in this state. It may be said, too, that the intestinal organs are so impenetrable to the diffusion of their contents as not to create any danger of contamination by remaining in the undrawn state. On the contrary, the keeping of chickens with the intestinal contents undisturbed does not appeal to the imagination of the consumer any more than the freezing of the carcass of a beef or hog with the viscera remaining would appeal to the consumer. If the carcass of a chicken can be better kept undrawn it is evident that the carcass of a steer or hog can also be better kept if subjected to the proper temperature. Upon the whole it appears that the safer way would be to have the poultry drawn at the time of slaughter and delivered to the consumer at an early date thereafter. In this way all danger of infection on the cut surfaces becomes avoided. At any rate the consumer should be allowed the choice in the matter which, at the present time, is not the case in many parts of this country where only undrawn poultry is exposed for sale.

Poultry in Cold Storage.-Whenever a fowl is kept for a longer period than the week or ten days above referred to for the purpose of improving its flavor and palatability it is necessary that it be placed in cold storage. This method of keeping poultry or other foods is wholly unobjectionable unless carried to excess. Poultry is a food product which under the present scientific methods of production can be furnished in a fresh state all the year. The necessity for cold storage, therefore, is not so apparent in this case as in that of fruit and other perishable foods. It appears then that cold storage only should be extended to that limit necessary to secure its delivery to the consumer. There can scarcely be any excuse for the placing of poultry in cold storage at certain. seasons of the year when they are slightly less in price by reason of the abundant production than at other seasons. The methods of producing poultry are such

POULTRY IN COLD STORAGE.

IOI

at the present time that this excess in supply can easily be avoided on the part of the producer and thus maintain an even price and an even supply the year round. The producer as well as the consumer is benefited by such a condition. The necessity, often, for cold storage in the limited sense above referred to is acknowledged by all and a reasonable degree of time in cold storage cannot be regarded as in any way measurably harmful with reference to the character of the product. It is probable that as long as four or six months may be regarded as a justifiable limit for securing a proper market for poultry in cold storage though the exact length of time in which it may be left in cold storage will be determined only by careful scientific investigation. There seems to be no necessity whatever for carrying fowls for a longer period and especially, as has been known, for a year or even two years. The deterioration, even if the temperature is far below the freezing point, is very marked during these long periods of time and actual danger may accrue to the consumer in the possible development of poisonous degradation products in the flesh. Municipal, state, and national regulations should be of a character to inform the consumer of the exact length of time which the poultry he proposes to purchase has been in cold storage. This is the least which the consumer has the right to know and is a right which the producer and packer should concede without discussion. The unwillingness which has been manifested on the part of dealers in poultry to make public the length of time which it has been in cold storage is of itself a suspicious condition. The argument is constantly heard that the length of time poultry has been in cold storage does not impair its palatability or wholesomeness. If this be true then a statement of the length of time cannot in any way injure the market. But to this reply is made to the effect that if the consumer is told the fowl has been in cold storage a certain length of time he will not purchase it. To this the evident answer is, why should you deceive the consumer by selling him an article which if he knew its character he would not buy? It is evident that such deception is nothing more nor less than obtaining money under false pretenses. The remedy for the evil of cold storage is the label which will indicate the length of time which has elapsed since the slaughter of the fowl.

There is, perhaps, no greater blessing which has been conferred upon mankind during the last quarter of a century than the development of cold storage methods of preserving food. The continued prosperity and benefits of this business depend upon a thorough study of the conditions attendant thereon and the elimination of any evil which may be incident thereto. When this is accomplished the absolute confidence which the consumer will have in cold storage will be such that the magnitude of the business will be immensely increased. Thus the interests of the consumer and the dealer are one and they should work together to promote their common good.

Composition of the White Meat of a Chicken.-The meat of a chicken, carefully prepared in the laboratory of the Bureau of Chemistry, was analyzed by

separation into the white and dark portions. The composition of the two meats is as follows:

White meat,.

Dark meat,.

WATER.
Percent.

61.38
59.48

WATER IN FAT-
FREE SUBSTANCE.
Percent.

75.08
78.44

FAT.
Percent.

Water,....

Water in fat-free substance,.

Fat,.....

Protein,...

Meat bases,.

Glycogen,.

Total ash,...

Of which sodium chlorid,.

18.25

24.16

PROTEIN.

Percent.

17.06

15.94

The above data show that there is a notable difference in the composition of the white and the dark meat. The white meat has much less fat and a correspondingly larger quantity of protein. The quantity of water in the two classes of meat is not very different although there is a slightly less quantity in the dark meat. The dark meat has a much larger proportion of meat bases but as these bases are often considered of little value and sometimes degenerate into poisonous constituents it is seen from this point of view that the white meat is to be preferred to the dark meat.

Preserved Chicken.-Practically the only methods of preserving chickens are the canning processes which have already been described and cold storage. Chickens may be canned in the same way as has been described for beef and in that way may be kept for a certain length of time without notable deterioration, The pickling if chicken is not very extensively practiced nor is it cured in the ordinary sense of the word, that is, by the addition of salt, sugar, vinegar, spices, and wood smoke. Chicken may also be put up in the form of potted chicken, which has already been described. Practically the only methods which are in vogue and which can be commended for preserving chicken are sterilizing or canning and cold storage. These methods, when not unduly prolonged, are open to no reasonable objection. The preserving of chickens with spices and condiments may also, perhaps, be considered as desirable provided no harmful chemical preservatives are employed. The temptation, however, to employ such preservatives is so great as not to be always resisted.

Adulteration of Potted Chicken and Turkey.-Perhaps there is no other form of potted meat, with the possible exception of pâté de foie gras, where such an opulent field for sophistication is found as in the case of potted chicken and turkey. The average composition of ten samples of alleged potted chicken and turkey, found upon the market, is shown in the following table:

[blocks in formation]

MEAT BASES. Percent.

[ocr errors]

.37

1.03

[ocr errors]

All but one of the ten samples contained starch but not in very considerable quantities, the largest amount being 4.13 percent.

None of the samples contained saltpeter. This is an interesting point because of the claim of the packers that saltpeter is used solely for preservation

103

purposes. When a meat is expected to be of a white color no saltpeter is found while, on the contrary, where the meat is of a red character it is frequently found. Tin was present in four samples, doubtless due to some contamination with the solder or by corrosion of the tin can itself. Where tin is present due to the corrosion of the can itself it is always in greater abundance in the old than in the newly canned sample. It is quite certain that the contents of these packages were not made up of chicken and turkey exclusively. The characteristic odor and taste of smoked meats which are found in these packages would indicate that they are used to give flavor and aroma to the mixture. The addition of flavoring materials of this kind, or "force" meats as they are sometimes called, is not objectionable from any sanitary or dietetic point of view. It is, however, an offense against an ethical principle which must be closely followed in a case of this kind if the doors of fraud and adulteration are not to be left wide open. This principle is that no false idea by inference, omission or otherwise, should be conveyed to the consumer by the label. Some form of expression for potted meat should be used in which the label gives the principal or dominant meat in the mixture, accompanied by the statement that it is a mixture with other meats also named, spiced and flavored. Under the present condition of affairs a manufacturer who really wishes to put into potted form chicken and turkey with only spices and condiments has to undergo an unfair competition with another manufacturer who uses the same label and reduces the quantity of expensive meat to a minimum or may possibly leave it out altogether. Under the new food law this unfair competition will be prevented.

Adulteration of Chicken.-The flesh of chicken is not subjected to any very extensive adulterations. It has been claimed that preservatives are applied externally to fresh fowls but the evidence on this point is not very conclusive. There is, perhaps, little doubt that other methods have been practiced but probably without any very great vogue. The use of chemical preservatives in potted chicken is also reprehensible. In general it may be said that there is no very extensive adulteration of chicken meat. The principal objection to the commerce in preserved chicken meat is the use of old chickens, the unlimited cold storage, the failure to draw at time of slaughter, and exposure in the market in an unsanitary condition and for an indefinite time. Cheaper meats are sometimes substituted for the genuine article in potted chicken. Turkey and pork are said to be used in chicken salad.

Capons. The castration of the male bird produces the capon, the flesh of which is very highly valued as being superior to that of the male or female chicken. Capons are much more extensively used in Europe than in the United States but are gradually coming into favor in this country. It is difficult to describe the difference between the taste of the flesh of the capon and the rooster and hen. A greater degree of tenderness and a more delicate taste characterize the flesh of the capon. In France, especially, the production of

CAPONS.

« 이전계속 »