Humidifying the chill down process will prevent weight loss from the carcasses and maximize profitability. Weight loss during this process can be reduced from 3-0.5%.
When a freshly slaughtered carcass at 36-37ᵒC is initially chilled to its storage temperature of 2-3ᵒC, it will lose weight through moisture loss to the atmosphere. Depending on the chilling process, this can be up to 3% of its overall weight. The highest losses will occur in the early stages when the temperature difference between the carcass and its surrounding chill store atmosphere is at its greatest.
By raising the humidity of the air around the carcasses to between 90-95%RH moisture loss from the meat is inhibited and weight losses can be reduced to less than 1%,
This will have an immediate impact on the profitability of an abattoir operation, as it can stop around 4kg of product evaporating from a typical side of beef during the chill down process.
As well as improving profits through reduced weight loss a higher humidity in a chill store will improve the thermal conductivity of the air. This results in the carcass reaching its storage temperature more rapidly thereby reducing the chiller duty cycle, which in turn reduces refrigeration energy costs and also inhibits microbial growth on the meat.