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Methods and technologies for handling mortality losses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2007

J.P. Blake
Affiliation:
Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University, AL 36849USA, e-mail: jblake@acesag.auburn.edu
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Abstract

Poultry carcasses resulting from death by natural occurrences at high levels of production represents a tremendous amount of organic matter that requires environmentally and biologically safe disposal or utilization. Methods for disposal of poultry carcasses include burial, incineration, composting, and rendering. Burial pits used for carcass disposal pose concerns that include the decline in ground water quality where pits are located and residue remaining in pits after years of use. Burial is no longer permitted in some poultry producing areas of the United States except in he case of catastrophic loss. Incineration is a biologically safe method of disposal; however, it tends to be slow and expensive even when highly efficient incinerators are used. Burial and incineration impose environmental concerns that are becoming less acceptable. Research has been conducted during the past decade in support of composting for carcass disposal. When poultry carcass composting is properly conducted, disease-causing microorganisms do not survive the process and the composted material can be used as a soil amendment. Composting is environmentally sound, relatively inexpensive, and has gained widespread acceptance. Rendering carcasses into a protein by-product meal is an alternative in the United States, but is not permitted in the European Union. Poultry carcasses can be removed from the farm, but the spread of pathogenic microorganisms during routine pickup and transportation to a rendering facility may present a substantial threat. Refrigeration, principally freezing, has potential for short-term storage prior to rendering, but costs of operation and transportation need careful consideration. Lactic acid fermentation of poultry carcasses prior to transportation stabilizes carcass deterioration and minimizes pathogen threat. Fermentation allows for longterm on-farm storage of poultry carcasses, reduced transportation costs and results in a usable feed ingredient. When coupled with rendering, fermentation is an excellent alternative for storing and transporting pathogen-free poultry carcasses. All methods that allow for the environmentally safe and bio-secure disposal of poultry carcasses should be considered. No single method will completely solve the problem.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2004

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References

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