Initial investigation of ice slurry as an alternate chiller medium in poultry processing
Rowe, Ebony Nicole
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Over the last decade, food processing has become one of the greatest energy converting stages of the food production supply chain. The interdependency of food, water, and energy leads to a need for more water efficient and energy effective ways to produce food. These studies focus on poultry chilling, primarily comparing the potential options of media that could be used during the poultry chilling sub-process. The conventional poultry chilling approach typically involves the immersion of chicken within chilled water in order to quickly decrease the chicken temperature, thus hindering the growth of bacteria. This research is an initial investigation of ice slurry as an energy and water efficient, pathogen reducing, and financially feasible chiller medium in poultry processing. The financial feasibility and electrical energy demand of using ice slurry were explored in a techno-economic model in HOMER Energy, which is a micro-grid design and optimization software. The thermal cooling capacity of ice slurry and fluidity of the solution allows for generation and storage to occur during low electricity cost hours and an application during high electricity cost hours, thus creating savings in electricity costs associated with poultry chilling. During the poultry chilling experimentation, chickens were spiked with Salmonella as temperature probes measured their core body temperature throughout their immersion within the different media. Greater pathogen reductions, faster cooling times, and less water consumption compared to chilled water promotes ice slurry as an alternate medium in the poultry processing industry.