Meat Products Barre VT

“Air chilled” refers to the method used to cool chickens just after slaughter to prevent bacterial growth. The standard method, used 99 percent of the time in the US, involves soaking the birds in vats of icy, chlorinated water for 20 to 65 minutes. Air-chilled chickens, in contrast, are hung on shackles that pass through cold chambers for several hours.

Pricechopper
(802) 479-9078
168 Ames Drive
Barre, VT
 
Waits River General Store
(802) 439-5360
149 VT Rte 25
East Orange, VT

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Cabot Creamery Annex
(802) 244-6334
2653 Waterbury-stowe Rd
Waterbury Ctr, VT

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Floyd's Store
(802) 728-5333
3 Main St
Randolph Ctr, VT

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Price Chopper
39 Munson Ave
Morristown, VT
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Hannaford Supermarket & Pharmacy
(802) 479-3326
456 South Barre Road
Barre, VT
Store Hours
Monday 7am - 11pm
Tuesday 7am - 11pm
Wednesday 7am - 11pm
Thursday 7am - 11pm
Friday 7am - 11pm
Saturday 7am - 11pm
Sunday 7am - 9pm
Pharmacy #
(802) 479-0432
Pharmacy Hours
Mon: 7am - 11pm 8:30am - 8:30pm
Tue: 7am - 11pm 8:30am - 8:30pm
Wed: 7am - 11pm 8:30am - 8:30pm
Thr: 7am - 11pm 8:30am - 8:30pm
Fri: 7am - 11pm 8:30am - 8:30pm
Sat: 7am - 11pm 9am - 7pm
Sun: 7am - 10pm 9am - 6pm

Robinson's Olde Village
(802) 439-6100
657 Village Rd
East Corinth, VT

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Mehuron's Supermarket
(802) 496-3700
5901 Main St
Waitsfield, VT

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Tewksbury's Corner Store
(802) 728-5620
2 Weston St
Randolph, VT

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Hannaford Supermarket & Pharmacy
(802) 775-8900
241 South Main Street
Rutland, VT
Store Hours
Monday 6am - Midnight 9am - 9pm
Tuesday 6am - Midnight 9am - 9pm
Wednesday 6am - Midnight 9am - 9pm
Thursday 6am - Midnight 9am - 9pm
Friday 6am - Midnight 9am - 9pm
Saturday 6am - 11pm
Sunday 6am - 11pm
Pharmacy #
(802) 775-5858
Pharmacy Hours
Mon:
Tue:
Wed:
Thr:
Fri:
Sat: 9am - 7pm
Sun: 9am - 6pm

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Food as Medicine—Air-Chilled Chicken

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By Kristin Bjornsen

Like 007, some people prefer their chicken chilled, not stirred. Indeed, they seem to be flocking to a new type of specialty poultry: air-chilled chickens, which producers say pack more flavor—and fewer pathogens—than conventionally treated chickens.

“Air chilled” refers to the method used to cool chickens just after slaughter to prevent bacterial growth. The standard method, used 99 percent of the time in the US, involves soaking the birds in vats of icy, chlorinated water for 20 to 65 minutes. Air-chilled chickens, in contrast, are hung on shackles that pass through cold chambers for several hours. Due, in part, to the longer cooling time, air-chilled chickens cost about twice as much as the standard variety costs.

Producers of air-chilled poultry, such as Maverick Ranch Natural Meats, Bell & Evans, and D’Artagnan, say their birds taste richer and more “chickeny” than their immersed counterparts, which absorb up to 12 percent of their body weight in water while in the cooling vats. To test the flavor, the Wall Street Journal conducted a blind taste-test comparing four air-chilled birds with two water-chilled. The two voted best tasting were air-chilled, but ironically, the lowest-ranking chicken was air-chilled as well.

Promoters also boast that air-chilled poultry harbors fewer pathogens than immersed ones. At first glance, a 2002 study at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln supports this. The study found significantly fewer cases of salmonella contamination in air-chilled chickens than in immersed ones—a 19 percent contamination rate versus 25 percent. (Although those numbers sound alarming, the USDA actually allows 20 percent of birds from a slaughterhouse to test positive.) The difference in contamination rates stems, theoretically, from the use of the same liquid for multiple birds. A caveat exists, however: Even though a greater number of water-chilled birds test positive, each bird carries fewer bacterial cells, probably because the water dilutes the number of colonies.

What does this mean for chicken eaters? Well, if 50 in 100 water-chilled birds have bacterial concentrations of five to 10 colonies as opposed to one in 100 air-chilled birds having 1,000 colonies, “you may have more of a chance of getting sick if you get that one ‘lucky’ bird,” says Marcos Sánchez, PhD, the study’s lead researcher. In other words, “The health risks are about the same between immersed and air-chilled.”

But there’s one more possible problem with immersion. The chlorinated water may select for more resistant bacteria, allowing “super bugs” to pass through to the supermarket. Controlling for pathogens ends in the kitchen—always wash your hands after handling raw chicken and cook it thoroughly.

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