§ 381.66Temperatures and chilling and freezing procedures.
(a)General. Temperatures and procedures that are necessary for chilling and freezing ready-to-cook poultry, including all edible portions thereof, must be in accordance with operating procedures that ensure the prompt removal of the animal heat, preserve the condition and wholesomeness of the poultry, and assure that the products are not adulterated.
(b)General chilling requirements, except for ratites.
(1) All poultry that is slaughtered and eviscerated in the official establishment shall be chilled immediately after processing so that the internal temperature is reduced to 40 °F. or less, as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section unless such poultry is to be frozen or cooked immediately at the official establishment. Eviscerated poultry to be shipped from the establishment in packaged form shall be maintained at 40 °F. or less, except that during further processing and packaging operations, the internal temperature may rise to a maximum of 55 °F.: Provided, That immediately after packaging, the poultry is placed under refrigeration at a temperature that will promptly lower the internal temperature of the product to 40 °F. or less, or the poultry is placed in a freezer. Poultry which is to be held at the plant in packaged form in excess of 24 hours shall be held in a room at a temperature of 36 °F. or less.
(2) Major portions of poultry carcasses, as defined in § 381.170(b)(22), and poultry carcasses shall be chilled to 40 °F. or lower within the following specified times:
Weight of carcass
Under 4 pounds
4 to 8 pounds
Over 8 pounds
(c)Ice and water chilling.
(1) Only ice produced from potable water may be used for ice and water chilling, except that water and ice used for chilling may be reused in accordance with § 416.2(g). The ice must be handled and stored in a sanitary manner.
(i) Poultry chilling equipment must be operated in a manner consistent with meeting the applicable pathogen reduction performance standards for raw poultry products as set forth in § 381.94 and the provisions of the establishment's HACCP plan.
(ii) Major portions of poultry carcasses, as defined in § 381.170(b)(22), may be chilled in water and ice.
(3) Previously chilled poultry carcasses and major portions must be maintained constantly at 40 °F or below until removed from the vats or tanks for immediate packaging. Such products may be removed from the vats or tanks prior to being cooled to 40 °F or below, for freezing or cooling in the official establishment. Such products must not be packed until after they have been chilled to 40 °F or below, except when the packaging will be followed immediately by freezing at the official establishment.
(4) Giblets must be chilled to 40 °F or below within 2 hours from the time they are removed from the inedible viscera, except that when they are cooled with the carcass, the requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this section must apply. Any of the acceptable methods of chilling the poultry carcass may be followed in cooling giblets.
(d)Water absorption and retention.
(1) Poultry washing, chilling, and draining practices and procedures must be such as will minimize water absorption and retention at time of packaging.
(2) The establishment must provide scales, weights, identification devices, and other supplies necessary to conduct water tests.
(e)Air chilling. In air chilling ready-to-cook poultry, the internal temperature of the carcasses shall be reduced to 40 °F. or less within 16 hours.
(1) Ready-to-cook poultry which is to be or is labeled with descriptive terms such as “fresh frozen,” “quick frozen” or “frozen fresh” or any other term implying a rapid change from a fresh state to a frozen state shall be placed into a freezer within 48 hours after initial chilling in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section. During this period, if such poultry is not immediately placed into a freezer after chilling and packaging, it shall be held at 36 °F. or lower.
(2) Ready-to-cook poultry shall be frozen in a manner so as to bring the internal temperature of the birds at the center of the package to 0 °F. or below within 72 hours from the time of entering the freezer. Such procedures shall not apply to raw poultry product described in § 381.129(b)(6)(i) of this subchapter.
(3) Upon written request, and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Administrator, in specific cases, ready-to-cook poultry which is to be frozen immediately may be moved from the official establishment prior to freezing: Provided, That the plant and freezer are so located and such necessary arrangements are made that the Inspection Service will have access to the freezing room and adequate opportunity to determine compliance with the time and temperature requirements specified in paragraph (f)(2) of this section.
(4) Warm packaged ready-to-cook poultry which is to be chilled by immediate entry into a freezer within the official establishment shall within 2 hours from time of slaughter be placed in a plate freezer or a freezer with a functioning circulating air system where a temperature of −10 °F. or lower is maintained.
(5) Frozen poultry shall be held under conditions which will maintain the product in a solidly frozen state with temperature maintained as constant as possible under good commercial practice.
[37 FR 9706, May 16, 1972, as amended at 39 FR 4568, 4569, Feb. 5, 1974; 40 FR 42338, Sept. 12, 1975; 49 FR 9411, Mar. 13, 1984; 60 FR 44412, Aug. 25, 1995; 63 FR 48960, Sept. 11, 1998; 66 FR 1771, Jan. 9, 2001; 66 FR 19714, Apr. 17, 2001; 66 FR 22905, May 7, 2001]
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