The chicken in human civilization

The chicken and its role in human civilization

Image Source: The chicken, descended from the dinosaurs, is probably a distant relative of the T Rex. Originally known as the Red jungle bird, it minded its own business in the jungles of South East Asia and might have stayed there were it not for a peculiar genetic trait, as males, using their natural leg spurs, fight to the death in the mating season.     Humans found this exciting and have betted on the outcome of gamecock fights for over 5000 years. Although the sport is illegal in most countries, Sabong is still an obsession in the Philippines where the World Slasher Cup draws thousands to watch and bet on cock fights. The roosters in this contest are mostly imports from the US and are cosseted by their owners like gladiators, Filipino men are said to treat their roosters better than their wives, although they seldom last more than a couple of sessions in the Sabungan or cockpit.         For millennia, chickens were moved throughout the known world for contests and gained a glorious reputation along the way. Seen as symbols of courage, they had cities named after them and featured in Socrates’s last words,” Crito we owe a cock to Asclepius, don’t forget to pay the debt.” Cocks then became symbols of the Christian church for their valor, although they were also mentioned in Peter’s denial after Jesus’s arrest. Pope Nicholas in the 900’s decreed that the image of a cock should be placed at the top of church steeples where they remain as weather cocks.   Francis Bacon, an introducer of the scientific method, caught pneumonia in 1626 while stuffing a dead chicken with snow in an effort to prove that cold preserves flesh and died three days later. He is still known in some quarters as the patron saint of chickens. Ironically refrigeration played a significant role in the chicken’s ascent to world supremacy. Kept by farmers’ wives, chicken eggs and birds were a source of “pin money” until Wilma Steele of Delaware upped the ante in the 1920’s. Initially raising 500 birds for the table, this soon grew as their dependency on vitamin D, discovered in the 1920’s, was satisfied by the addition of cod liver oil to their feed and allowed chickens to be kept throughout the winter indoors.   The depression in the 1930’s encouraged animal feed companies like Perdue and Tyson to develop their business by supplying chicks and feed directly to farmers who paid once the chickens were sold. But it was in the 1950’s that a combination of specially bred chickens, Cornish Cross or Cornish Rock , commercial refrigeration, special feeds and a rising popularity for chicken, encouraged by Colonel Harland Sander’s Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, that the consumption of chicken really took off.   In South Africa, the commercial chicken or broiler industry was started in 1960 by Stanley Methven, a bit of a game cock himself, who raised chickens on his father’s farm in Hammarsdale for sale in Durban. By 1963 he had opened an abattoir and in 1970 the MD of Kentucky Fried Chicken found himself in South Africa on Safari with his family. Impressed by what he saw, he made contact with Stanley and the rest is history in that by the time of his untimely death in 1986 Stanley Methven was one of South Africa’s wealthiest people. Chicken is now the world’s most popular source of animal protein and chickens outnumber humans by a factor of 10 to one, although they don’t have quite the same lifespan! They are raised from chicks to approximately 2 kg birds in about 35 days and convert meal to flesh in a ratio of just under 2 to 1. For an increasingly urbanized world they are a perfect food source and will remain so which is why we see so much frozen chicken in our cold stores. Chicken suppliers around South Africa store their frozen chicken products on STORAX mobile racking – Store more pallets in less space! Contact us to find out how: [gravityform id=”10″ title=”true” description=”true”] Read more: Project Management of the Vision Meats New Cold Store Read more: The ideal solution for Euro Catering Read more: Stellenpak’s experience with Storax Mobiles

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cold store floor rising

Why is your cold store floor rising?

Above Image: Heater mat being covered by a thin concrete layer at a newly built freezer store in the UK. In a newly commissioned Danish freezer some years ago, a Storax mobile refused to move. After some initial panic, it was found that the obstacle was a ridge in the concrete floor. As the floor had been checked for level after initial curing, the newly formed ridge was surprising. The floor had a glycol heater mat beneath the underfloor insulation and every circuit had a flow meter outside the building so that movement of the glycol mixture heated by the refrigeration system condensers could be easily checked. A bumblebee had become lodged in a flow meter obstructing the flow of glycol and allowing ice to form in the subfloor and creating the problematic ridge through “frost heave”. The bee was removed, the ice melted and the ridge disappeared without cracking the concrete floor.   In Australia, 200mm pipes are laid under freezer floors and air pumped through them to stop ice from forming in the subfloor. At one freezer the pipe did not have sufficient fall, condensation puddled and froze obstructing the pipe eventually causing the cold store floor to rise. At one local store, similar air vents were blocked to prevent rat ingress. That floor rose by 900mms……..     In South Africa, while some recent stores have installed glycol systems, most rely on electrical heater mats which normally consist of three circuits of wire a little like a hot blanket on a bed. The wires lie in a sand bed which may or may not be held together with a weak cement mix. The circuits end in a control box which turns them on only if the temperature beneath the cold store floor dips beneath 4 degrees C.   4 degrees C is interesting as water with impurities can freeze at higher temperatures than zero. Some chill stores have found this out to their cost, as heater mats were considered unnecessary. As the business changed temperatures were dropped to minus 0.5 degrees C and the rooms kept running year round instead of being switched off in the summer months. After several stores experienced frost heave, heater mats and underfloor insulation have now become part of the building design.   While it may sound obvious, check that the heater mats are on when the chamber is commissioned. We have seen at least three stores where the floor rose through frost heave because the heater mats had not been turned on. In one instance the floor subsided. In the others the movement had already cut the wires.   I have visited one store where the heat mat cables had been cut by accident and attempts were made to drill right under the floor in the insulation to replace the wires. I don’t know if the plan worked.   What I have found somewhat surprising is the number of times when management don’t immediately know where the heater mat control panel is situated and how it works.  Only last week we had to help a customer who found that his heater mat control panel needed fixing. This was only identified after the floor began to rise. It is critical that heater mats get checked regularly and that management understands their purpose. In freezer stores, especially those with mobile racking systems, keeping the floor level is so essential that annual floor level checks are recommended.   Need a storage solution for your new facility? Contact us: [gravityform id=”10″ title=”true” description=”true”]   Read more: How to choose the right storage system Read more: What’s so different about cold store floors? Read more: The Strange History of Insulated Cold Store Panels  

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Listeriosis outbreak In South Africa

“Listeriosis outbreak In South Africa”

Picture Source: The Supermarket & Retailer March 2018 In 1998 the Sara Lee Corporation’s Bill Mar frankfurter factory in Zeeland Michigan was found to have dispatched product infected with Listeriosis. There were 14 confirmed deaths and 4 miscarriages in 22 states. Because of the flu like symptoms and time lapse between eating the infected product and obvious sickness, it was not easy to confirm the Bill Mar factory as the primary source. As in the South African outbreak, the infection appears to have occurred after processing in the packing department where a malfunctioning refrigeration evaporator was identified as the culprit. It just shows how careful everyone must be with the processing and distribution of ready to eat processed foods and how independent health checks of food processing plants on a regular basis are critical to the maintenance of the necessary standards to prevent a recurrence. We print a recent article on the South African outbreak which originally appeared in the Supermarket and Retailer magazine. Read it here: “Listeriosis Outbreak in South Africa” [gravityform id=”5″ title=”true” description=”true”] Read more: Why is your cold store floor rising? Read more: How to choose the right storage system Read more: Cold Stores for Africa  

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