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Insight into poultry carcass lesions

The objective of poultry abattoirs is to produce saleable chicken carcasses, meat and products that carry no health hazards for poultry, animals and humans. In practice, however, lesions regularly occur on broiler carcasses. Dr Wim Tondeur has developed a visual guide to identify lesions. He shares his insights into the most common issues that arise on the slaughter line and how to deal with them correctly.

A total of 47 abattoirs in 12 European and African countries were evaluated over the course of 4 years. The aim of Dr Tondeur of Tondeur Veterinary Training Consultancy and Advice, who joined forces with Zinpro Animal Nutrition Inc., was to identify and describe lesions in broiler carcasses in a visual guide.

Dr Wim Tondeur (65)

Dr Tondeur is a poultry veterinary consultant and trainer. He studied at the Veterinary Faculty at the University of Utrecht; a veterinary practitioner for five years in a large animal practice; senior trainer and veterinarian at Barneveld College in the Netherlands, training coordinator for meat inspectors and official veterinarians; chief technical advisor at the joint Dutch-Vietnamese training and research centre near HCMC; and an independent trainer, consultant and advisor for 14 years.


Dr Tondeur knows that the frequent occurrence of abnormalities is problematic for abattoirs. Structural problems may raise costs when, say, extra labour has to be hired to trim carcasses. They may decrease the sales revenue due to the increased proportion of downgraded carcasses and chicken parts. And they may even lead to the loss of a contract.

  • Poultry carcass lesions

    Nail scratches can cause deep wounds on thighs, partly caused by overstocking, sharp nails and weak skin integrity. Photo: Wim Tondeur

  • Poultry carcass lesions

    With the textbook on the table, carcasses are examined for leasions and abnormalities. Photo: Wim Tondeur

  • Poultry carcass lesions

    This is a photo with the typical lesions of wooden breast: pale, firm, hard muscles with blood splash. Photo: Wim Tondeur

  • Poultry carcass lesions

    Poor level of ossification at growth lines in long bones, resulting in 'pop-outs' in the plucking machine. Photo: Wim Tondeur

“Supermarkets often refuse a carcass or chicken fillet with blood splash or other important visual signs because the consumer passes it by and because cut up chicken is often a great deal cheaper than a complete carcass. A chicken that is cut up because chicken parts are not usable is worth less than a whole carcass. “Lesions can be very costly. I have been involved with abattoirs that used to hire up to eleven extra employees to remove all blood splashes. And then there are the costs of the abattoir’s reputation being damaged when serious problems end up in the media.”

Dr Tondeur also looks at the areas of:

  • Systems
  • Bleeding
  • Skin lesions
  • Muscle lesions
  • Skeleton lesions

You can read this article in full on our digital magazine - World Poultry vol 32 nr 5 click here


  • Eleni Kasapidou

    Is there a webpage/ link that I can download this textbook (visual guide).

  • MS Siwonia

    Hi. I would also be grateful for a link to that guide. Article does not point you in any direction.

  • JJG Giambrone

    Hi. I would also be grateful for a link to that guide. Article does not point you in any direction.


    Hi. I would also be grateful for a link to that guide. Article does not point you in any direction.

  • Ash Abd Shalaby

    Hi let us make own own poultry carcass lesion visual guide .
    let these the first PHOTO after Dr Wim Agree to use his PHOTO.

  • Santiago Garcia

    Hi. I would also be grateful for a link to that guide. Article does not point you in any direction.

  • Diego A Hernandez

    Hello. It would be grate to provide us the visual guide. Thanks a lot.

  • Fabio Nunes

    Dear all,

    The topic is of utmost interest. However, article's link is defective and don't allow to slide the pics, and the on-line reading of the magazine simply doesn't work, even after downloading the app from Proagrica. I think my lines express the frustration of lots of readers with the same problem. Thanks for ANY solution for these problems!

  • Fabio Nunes

    Problems with the pics sliding into the article as well as with the downloading of the e-zine thru the Progrica app still persist.
    This is not in line with such a prestigious publication's standard. Please, hurry up with solutions for both problems!

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