The effects of stunning methods on product qualities in force-fed ducks and geese. 1. Carcass downgrading and meat quality.

TitleThe effects of stunning methods on product qualities in force-fed ducks and geese. 1. Carcass downgrading and meat quality.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFernandez, X, Lahirigoyen, E, Auvergne, A, Molette, C, Bouillier-Oudot, M
Date Published2010 Jan

This study investigated the effects of various stunning methods on the quality of carcass and meat in ducks and geese force-fed for the production of French 'foie gras'. The ducks (n = 30 per group) were stunned with one of the following techniques: electrical stunning in a water bath (50 Hz AC, 130 mA, 4 s), head-only electrical stunning (50 Hz AC, 600 mA, 4 s), mechanical stunning (captive bolt) and controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS: phase 1, CO2 (40%)-O2 (30%)-N2 (30%), for 2 min followed by phase 2, CO2 > 85% in air, for 2 min). The same methods (except head-only stunning which was not applied) were used in geese (n = 40 per group). During the first 5 min after slaughter, the stunning techniques that did not kill the animals were associated with a high incidence of head movements (mechanical and electrical head-only stunning), convulsions and convulsive wing flapping (mechanical stunning), in both species. Consequently, the rate of post-mortem pH fall in breast muscle was enhanced and the meat was paler when measured at 24 h or 6 days post mortem (L*, a*, b* coordinates). In ducks, the animals stunned in the water bath showed the lowest bleeding efficiency, compared to the three other procedures. In geese, the mechanical stunning allowed the highest recovery of blood compared to the CAS and the water-bath methods. Meat texture assessed instrumentally and fluid losses during storage and processing were not affected by the stunning method in any species. Sensory analysis showed a higher score for bloody appearance of raw meat in ducks stunned with the methods that kill before neck cutting (water-bath and CAS). This effect was, however, not linked to the rate of bleeding. The sensory properties of cooked meat were not affected by the stunning method. In both ducks and geese, CAS was associated with the lowest rate of fractures of humeral bone but CAS-stunned geese showed the most engorged wing veins. Overall, these results show the positive effect of CAS on the appearance defects of carcass and meat of ducks and geese, and, on the contrary, they confirm the detrimental effects of water-bath stunning on these criteria. However, the incidences on meat sensory qualities were scarce.

Alternate JournalAnimal
PubMed ID22443627