The chilling of carcasses. Conference Paper uri icon


  • Biochemical processes and structural changes that occur in muscle during the first 24h postmortem play a great role in the ultimate quality and palatability of meat and are influenced by the chilling processes that carcasses are subjected to after slaughter. For beef and lamb, employing chilling parameters that minimize cold shortening is of greatest importance and can be best addressed by ensuring that muscle temperatures are not below 10C before pH reaches 6.2. For pork, because of the impact of high muscle temperatures and low pH on the development of pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) pork, a more rapid chilling process is needed to reduce PSE with the recommended internal muscle temperature of 10C at 12h and 2-4C at 24h. Spray chilling, a system whereby chilled water is applied to carcasses during the early part of postmortem cooling, is used to control carcass shrinkage and to improve chilling rates through evaporative cooling. Delayed chilling can be used to reduce or prevent the negative effects of cold shortening; however, production constraints in high-volume facilities and food safety concerns make this method less useful in commercial settings. Electrical stimulation and alternative carcass suspension programs offer processors the opportunity to negate most or all of the effects of cold shortening while still using traditional chilling systems. Rapid or blast chilling can be an effective method to reduce the incidence of PSE in pork but extreme chilling systems may cause quality problems because of the differential between the cold temperatures on the outside of the carcass compared to the warm muscle temperatures within the carcass (i.e., muscles that are darker in color externally and lighter in color internally).

published proceedings

  • Meat Sci

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Savell, J. W., Mueller, S. L., & Baird, B. E.

citation count

  • 197

complete list of authors

  • Savell, JW||Mueller, SL||Baird, BE

publication date

  • July 2005