The average weight loss during primary chilling in an abattoir typically varies from around 1.9-2.8% of the total weight of the carcasses being cooled. This represents a significant loss in possible profit for an abattoir operator but has traditionally been accepted as an unavoidable effect of the cooling process.
It doesn't need to be this way !
By maintaining a high humidity of between 90-95%RH in the chill down area, moisture is discouraged from leaving the carcass during cooling. This can reduce the carcasses' weight loss to around 1% and result in a dramatic improvement in the meat's final chilled weight.
Specialist abattoir humidifiers will release fine sprays of moisture into a chill store's atmosphere without any wetting on the carcasses. Reverse osmosis filtration and ultra violet sterilisation of the supply water ensures hygienic operation.
The high humidity has an additional benefit of improving thermal transfer, allowing the carcasses to reach their chilled temperature quicker. This reduces refrigeration energy consumption and inhibits microbial growth.
Example of the potential savings
For an abattoir cooling 300 beef carcasses in a 24 hour chill cycle, five days per week at an average cost of R38/kg and an average carcass weight of 250kg, the improvement in profits by reducing primary chilling weight loss from 2.5-1.2% are:
Week 1 improved profit - R185,250
Week 2 improved profit - R370,500
Week 3 improved profit - R555,750
Week 4 improved profit - R741,000
Week 5 improved profit - R926,250
Week 6 improved profit - R1,111,500
Week 7 improved profit - R1,296,750
Week 8 improved profit - R1,482,000
Week 9 improved profit - R1,667,250
Week 10 improved profit - R1,852,500