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1. the body of an animal killed for meat. The head, the legs below the knees and hocks, the tail, the skin and most of the viscera are removed. The kidneys are left in and in most instances the body is split down the middle through the sternum and the vertebral bodies. Pig carcasses are dehaired (see below). Bird carcasses are not split; the feathers are removed after scalding but the skin is not removed and no viscera are left in place. In New York dressed poultry the viscera are left in.
2. the body of any dead animal.
meat inspection is carried out on the live animal and on viscera but the principal activity is during the carcass stage. If specific abnormalities are found which indicate that the carcass, or part of it, is unfit for human consumption it is condemned. It may be used for other purposes, e.g. after special processing inclusion in animal feeds.
bacterial contamination of the carcass is a serious cause of deterioration of meat during storage. It is contributed to by having the animal come onto the abattoir floor with the hair and hide badly contaminated, by careless handling of the hide and the viscera, especially the alimentary tract, contamination of the water in scalding tanks for birds and pigs, and by lack of personal hygiene on the part of abattoir workers.
pig carcasses are not skinned. They are scalded and the bristles and superficial layers of skin scraped off. The scalding vat can be a source of serious contamination.
identification of the species, sex and age of a carcass is an important function of meat hygiene because of the need to guarantee the authenticity of the description of meat at the retail point. Much of this can be done on gross examination but final determination may require laboratory tests, especially in cases where fraudulent substitution is suspected.
is necessary in an abattoir for condemned carcasses. Complete incineration is necessary in cases of highly infectious disease. Heat treatment sufficient to sterilize the tissues is carried out on less dangerous materials, leading to the preparation of animal feeds or agricultural fertilizer.
At practice premises the problem is a serious one if local government provisions do not include incineration of animal material. On site incineration may be prohibited by local legislation and the need to avoid unpleasant smells. Burial is satisfactory but tedious.
removal of the hide, appendages and viscera.
carcass electrical stimulation
a method of tenderizing meat by the application of electrical stimulation so as to cause muscle contraction, lowering of pH and faster autolysis.
congestion of the vessels so that the surfaces of tissues have a redder appearance, and individual vessels are more readily seen.
scale used in assessing carcass traits.
rigor mortis. The muscles are hard, the joints fixed, muscle tissue loses its translucence. Proper setting is an indication of satisfactory preparation for storage of the meat without deterioration.
criteria used in assessing quality of a carcass. Important in determining price, suitability of breeding program, value of sire. Includes length, weight, proportion of fat and lean, distribution of fat, relative size of valuable cuts.
proportion of the animal's liveweight salvaged at carcass point. Called also dressed weight, killing out percentage.