Animal Science, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
Journal or Book Title
An Iowa grain processor attempted to alter the typical 12-h preharvest fasting period by giving broilers cornstarch derivative pellets and water for 6 h followed by 6 h of no feed or water. After slaughter, plant food inspectors determined that livers from the treatment group were lighter in color than normal, and consequently a significant number of chicken carcasses were condemned for human consumption. The study reported herein was conducted to determine the effects of fasting or 3 feeding programs applied before processing on liver color, liver lipids, and liver glycogen of broilers. Dietary treatment groups consisted of 1) full-fed control broilers, 2) fasted broilers, 3) maltodextrin-fed broilers, and 4) and chickens given maltodextrin and methionine. Full-fed chickens had lighter liver coloration than chickens without access to feed for 6 or 12 h immediately prior to slaughter (P < 0.05). Lightness values for livers from full-fed control chickens (L* = 54.41) were 38% higher than those for livers from fasted broilers (L* = 39.30). Lighter liver colors in full-fed broilers were associated with higher hepatic lipid concentrations (6.38%) and more total liver lipid (4.96 g/liver) than was found in broilers without feed for 12 h. In contrast, darker livers from fasted broilers had lower levels of lipid (4.42%) and less total lipid (2.68 g/liver) than the full-fed broilers. Feeding maltodextrin pellets resulted in liver colors that were lighter (P < 0.05) than those found in fasted chickens but darker (P < 0.05) than livers from full-fed broilers. If carbohydrate supplements are fed prior to slaughter, producers should notify processing plant officials so that inspectors do not interpret light livers as an abnormal physiological state.
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Poultry Science Association, Inc.
Trampel, D. W.; Sell, J. L.; Ahn, Dong U.; and Sebranek, Joseph G., "Preharvest feed withdrawal affects liver lipid and liver color in broiler chickens" (2005). Animal Science Publications. 896.