I attend a lot of conferences, hoping to learn more and to find information to share with readers. Unsurprisingly, some events prove to me more fruitful than others.

Earlier this year, I was in Turkey and lucky enough to meet Shai Barbut, faculty member of the Food Science Department of the University of Guelph, Canada, who told me about his free textbook for the poultry and red meat processing industry, so I’m sharing the details here.

The Science of Poultry and Meat Processing, free to download, covers various areas related to the meat processing industry, and includes topics such as automation, primary and further processing, protein gelation, use of non-meat ingredients, product evaluation, microbiology, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and byproducts.

Barbut explained that the aim of the book is to provide students and industry personnel alike with a comprehensive view of the modern poultry meat industry. An emphasis has been placed on basic concepts, but it also covers recent advances, such as automation and food safety.

Extensive processing knowledge

The download brings together over 30 years of Barbut’s university experiences, and all chapters have been peer reviewed. And this is no small pamphlet – at in excess of 760 pages, there’s too much for me to detail here.

To mention just a few topics, across the various chapters on which information is provided, include muscle physiology, live bird handling, primary processing of poultry HACCP in primary processing, inspection and grading, stunning, and portioning, deboning and composition.

The book covers the various categories of meat products, among other areas, and the way in which they are produced, including the use of non-meat products, and offers some 30 commercial recipes to illustrate the techniques and equipment used.

As the author notes, food safety is the key to success for any food company today, and the book has chapters devoted to HACCP plans used for the production of raw meat, cooked sausages, and battered and breaded food products. Examples of government requirements for mandatory and voluntary inspection are also provided.

I have to say, I admire anyone who puts in the effort to advance the studies or careers of others, and doubly so when this is done without charge.

Download the book, either in full or simply those chapters that interest you most. And an added benefit of this downloadable book is that it is being regularly updated - simply register to receive updates when new information is added.

A big thank you to Professor Barbut, I think!