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pioneer poultry faq


Here are the questions we most frequently get asked about our products, and our answers. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, use the question form at the bottom of this page and we will get back to you ASAP.

  • How do you smoke your chicken?
    • The chicken is injected with a brine solution. This contains the salts and nitrites necessary to cure the meat. The chicken is then vacuum-tumbled to further tenderise the meat. It is then placed into the smokehouse and undertakes the cooking process which includes the natural smoking process.
    • The natural smoking process involves the smoke generator lighting the wood chips to produce real natural smoke. In our case, we use specially imported beech wood chips. This smoke then fills the cabinet and permeates the meat to give it a Smokey colour and flavour.
    • As this is a natural process there will be some slight variation in the colour of each batch due to the humidity of the day amongst other things.
  • How do you cook smoked chicken?
    • All products at Pioneer Poultry are cooked in a computer-controlled oven to a core probe temperature of 70 degrees Celsius and held there for a minimum of 11 minutes. The Food Standards Code states for a product to be fully cooked it must reach 65 degrees for a minimum of 10 minutes. Every cook features 2 product core probes to ensure the internal temperature is accurately reached. Our Smokehouse is also connected to our computer server which acts as a data logger. We print out each day’s log as a record of the cooking temperature for each batch. Every morning these probes are calibrated for accuracy.
    • In accordance with NSW Food Authority, every fortnight random samples are also sent to the laboratory for independent verification of their microbiological status against well-published industry norms.
  • Is it usual for smoked chicken meat to be pink?
    • The Chicken we purchase for smoking is the same as the chicken you would purchase at your local supermarket – they have been dressed and fully bled during processing. We inject our chicken in this brine – which is a mixture of nitrites and salt to allow the curing process to occur.
    • Like pork, chicken is a white meat with a fairly bland taste. When smoked, chicken meat will turn a pinkish colour just like ham. This is a result of the haemoglobin in the meat reacting with the nitrites in the brine. This pinkness of the meat will generally be more pronounced in the leg meat and portions closer to the bone of the bird. Sometimes, people become concerned by the colour of the flesh and think that the chicken is undercooked. This is not the case; it is purely a result of the curing process.
  • What does “Modified Atmosphere Packed” (MAP) mean?
    • Modified Atmosphere Packed (MAP) is a style of packaging that uses a particular vacuum process. The product is placed on a tray and film, then loaded into a specialised machine. A vacuum is drawn within the machine’s chamber; this removes the oxygen from the tray. The machine then inserts a mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases. (This is simply regular air without any oxygen.) The tray is then heat-sealed, with the film fusing with the tray. This creates a sealed environment with very low oxygen (usually around 1%). In a low-oxygen environment like this, harmful bacteria cannot reproduce as quickly as they do in a regular atmosphere. Thus, the product has a longer shelf life.
    • MAP has been around for a long time. It is the preferred method of packing shelf-ready meat, fish and poultry all around the world.
  • What does “Thermoformed” mean?
    • “Thermoformed” indicates a specific type of vacuum packaging. Film is fed into a special thermoforming machine and heated. A pouch is then blown into the film at the appropriate depth. The product is placed in this pouch and then moved into the chamber, where a vacuum is created to reduce the amount of oxygen within the packaging. The top and bottom films are heat-sealed, creating a tightly-sealed pack containing a low-oxygen environment. In low oxygen, harmful bacteria cannot reproduce as quickly. That gives the product a longer shelf life.
  • Where can I buy your products?
    • Pioneer Poultry sells its products to retailers and distributors all around Australia. As many of our products are packed under the retailers’ brands, you may not even know you’re eating one of our products. For a comprehensive list of where to purchase our products, please contact us for more information or visit the “Where to Buy” page.
  • Do you grow and process your own chickens?
    • Pioneer Poultry is not a processor of chicken. We are a further processor that only manufactures value-added products. Poultry processing is a significant process that requires a more sizeable scale of operations.
  • Where do you purchase your poultry meat?
    • Pioneer Poultry purchases its fresh poultry from major industry suppliers, the same ones that supply most of the supermarkets, retailers and fast food outlets around Australia. All poultry meat suppliers to Pioneer Poultry must be HACCP and NSW Food Authority approved. Pioneer Poultry also conducts quality checks upon receipt of meats to ensure the products always meet our strict specifications.
  • Are chickens in Australia fed hormones or steroids?
    • Australian chickens are not fed or administered with hormones or steroids in any form. In fact, it is prohibited by law and has been for many, many years.
    • The increase in chicken sizes and faster growth patterns have been driven by improvements in breeding techniques. In addition to selective breeding, Australian chicken farmers and feed manufacturers have also enhanced nutrition by optimising the ingredients in chicken feed.
    • Australian chickens are not genetically modified – it is simply a process of selective breeding to improve the output from the bird.
  • Why are antibiotics given to chickens?
    • Antibiotics are only used when necessary, to prevent or treat a clinical disease. They are not growth hormones. Only approved antibiotics by relevant Australian governing bodies are allowed for use. Even so, their usage is strictly controlled. Moreover, there are enforced withholding periods (before harvesting or slaughtering) for all meats designated for human consumption in Australia. This is meant to limit or restrict any antibiotic residue in them.
  • Is imported raw poultry meat sold in Australia?
    • No – all raw poultry meat sold in Australia is grown in Australia.
    • It is prohibited under Australian law to import live birds or raw poultry meat. This is to protect the local industry from imported diseases.

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