Organic Broiler Carcass and Meat Quality

Background and Methodology
An increasing number of consumers demanding health and natural foods have favored organic livestock farming. Organic livestock farming, which is reputed to be environmentally friendly and sustains animals in good health, resulting in high quality products has a defined standard with a greater attention to animal welfare and at least 80 percent of feed grown without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. The higher guarantee of the absence of residue is certain, but the effect of organic farming on qualitative characteristics of the products is unknown. This study sought to contribute to the knowledge of qualitative traits of broiler carcass and meat produced organically. Two hundred and fifty Ross male chickens were assigned to housing in an indoor (conventional) and housing in an indoor pen with access to grass paddock (organic). At 56 and 81 days of age, 20 chickens per group were slaughtered to evaluate carcass traits and the characteristics of breast and drumstick muscles. 

The organic chickens had carcasses with higher breast and drumstick percentages of lower levels of abdominal fat. The muscles had lower pHu and water-holding capacity, but cooking loss, lightness value, shear value, iron, polyunsaturated fatty acids of n-3 series and TBA-RS were higher. Organic production system seems to be a good alternative method, due to good quality carcass and meat. A negative aspect was the higher level of TBA-RS in the muscles, probably due to greater physical activity.

Castellini, C., Mugnai, C. & Dal Bosco, A. (2002). Effect of organic production system on broiler carcass and meat quality. Meat Science 60: 219-225.