Reasons to Condemn

Reasons we will condemn your meat(animal) and dispose of it!  This could be whole animal or just trimming!

  • Sick- We do not process! Animals must be free of visible disease.
  • Dead on Arrival, Dead in Crate/Coop/Carrier (we only process live animals)
  • Septicemia/toxia
  • Wet Cellulitis
  • Ascites
  • Over scaled
  • Badly Bled
  • Abnormal Color/Yellow or other
  • Emaciation-STARVED
  • Bruising-Major total condemnation/Minor just trimmed
  • Contamination by Crop contents, Bile, fecal mater (could be total or just trimmed condemnation)
  • Gangrenous dermatitis-trimmed usually
  • Dislocated or broken wings-trimmed usually
  • Dry cellulitis-trimming usually
  • Minor/Major Bruising that is green(old) or red(fresh) trimmed to total
  • Localized damage to specific areas
  • Deep pectoral myopathy (DPM) is a degenerative muscle disease of heavy chickens and turkeys commonly referred to as ‘Green Muscle Disease’


Some of these photos are taken from youtube – Conditions and abnormalities detected during poultry meat inspection by Rafael Monleon, DVM, MSpVM, DACPV, PAS, MBA





We condemn for many reasons this one yellow discoloration of the skin and meat this may have been due to an increase of bile pigments in the blood. Bird looks healthy and plumb but its unfit to eat!!!

Fever (Pyrexia)

Fever is an abnormal elevated body temperature. It may be classified as septic and aseptic according to the presence or non presence of an infection. In septic fever the infection is caused by viruses, bacteria, bacterial toxins, protozoa and fungi. Aseptic fever may be caused by a) tissue necrosis as seen in muscle degradation due to intermuscular injection of necrotizing substances, in rapidly growing tumours undergoing necrosis or lysis of burned tissue; b) by chemicals or surgery. In former by an administration of drugs and in latter by breakdown of tissue and blood. c) during anaphylactic reaction of antibodies to the foreign antigens.

Antemortem findings :

Chills and sweating
Elevated body temperature
Increased pulse and respiration
Depression and dullness
Anorexia and obstipation
In septic fever the other signs may include

Diarrhoea and vomiting
Urinous or phenolic odour or breath
Shock, convulsions and coma
Postmortem findings :

Rigor mortis
Congestion of subcutaneous blood vessels and carcass
Enlarged lymph nodes
Evidence of cloudy swelling of liver, heart and kidneys
Judgement : Carcass is condemned if fever syndrome is associated with presence of bacteria or bacterial toxins in the blood and/or findings of drugs and antimicrobial substances.

If typical signs of fevered carcass are not seen carcass should be held for 24 hours after slaughter and re-examined. In case of mild fevered syndrome detected first on postmortem inspection, the carcass may be conditionally approved with heat treatment providing that bacteriological and chemical test are negative.

Differential diagnosis : Hyperthermia and septicemia. In hyperthermia the elevation of body temperature is caused by physical factors such as high environmental temperature or prolonged muscular exertion, particularly in humid weather.

Inflammation in viral diseases

Inflammation associated with viral diseases is usually secondary to primary cellular change. Secondary bacterial infections frequently accompany and complicate viral diseases particularly respiratory and skin diseases. Viral infection associated with fever, malaise, anorexia or incoordination is attributed to absorption of injured cell products, viral toxicity and viral abnormalities which cause circulatory disturbances. Vascular shock together with viral toxicity and failure of one or more vital organs, is thought to be associated with death in viral diseases.


Septicemia is a morbid condition caused by the presence of pathogenic bacteria and their associated toxins in the blood. The positive diagnosis of septicemia can only be made by isolation of the causative organism from the blood stream. This is not practised on routine antemortem examination of animals in abattoirs; however, the evidence of septicemia is determined by the antemortem and postmortem findings.

Antemortem findings :

Changes in body temperature. The temperature is usually elevated but it can also be normal and subnormal during the terminal phases.
Difficult and rapid breathing
Shivering and muscle tremors
Congestion or petechial haemorrhages of conjunctivae, mouth and vulvar mucosae
Postmortem findings :

Enlarged edematous or haemorrhagic lymph nodes
Degenerative changes in parenchymatous organs (liver, heart and kidneys)
Congestion and petechial or ecchymotic haemorrhages in kidney, heart surface, mucous and serous membranes, connective tissue and panniculus adiposis
Inadequately bled-out carcass as a result of high fever
Blood stained serous exudate in abdominal and/or thoracic cavities.
Anaemia resulting from bone marrow depression and icterus may also be present.
One or more lesions may be absent. However if one significant lesion is present, such as, generalized acute lymphadenitis, the carcass must be condemned. All gross lesions in the carcass and organs must be considered before the animal is judged septicemic.

Septicemia is found in many infectious diseases including acute forms of salmonellosis, leptospirosis, swine erysipelas, hog cholera and in anthrax in cattle.

Judgement : The animals, animal carcasses, offal and other detached portions of animals affected with septicemia are condemned. In borderline cases bacteriological examination should be done wherever possible.


The identification of toxaemia presents some difficulties on routine antemortem and postmortem examination. The gross lesions differ depending on the specific organisms and toxins involved. Also the clinical signs of toxaemia simulate a variety of other pathologic conditions.

Toxaemia is defined as the presence and rapid proliferation of exotoxin and endotoxin derived from microorganisms or produced by body cells in the blood-stream. Clinical signs and postmortem findings are similar to those of septicemia.

Antemortem findings :

Normal or subnormal temperature. Fever may be present if toxaemia is due to microorganisms.
Confusion and convulsions
Abnormal changes in locomotion;
Moribund animal or evidence of pain (noted by grinding its teeth).
Animal is not able to rise or rises with great difficulty
Dehydration may also be present
Postmortem findings :

Haemorrhage in organs
Normal or enlarged and edematous lymph nodes (not hyperplastic as in septicemia)
Areas of tissue necrosis
Emphysema in cattle
Rarely degenerative changes of parenchymatous organs (heart, liver and kidneys).
Toxaemia is frequently associated with:

Gangrenous mastitis

Aspiration pneumonia
Old wounds and injuries
Diffuse peritonitis due to perforation of the reticulum or uterus.
All these signs may not be seen in every animal affected with toxaemia.

Judgement : If there is evidence of septicemia or toxaemia the carcass and the viscera should be condemned and the implements used during inspection and the hands and arms of the inspector should be washed and disinfected. The primary lesions causing septicemia or toxaemia including metritis, mastitis, pericarditis, enteritis and others, should be observed and recorded as causes of condemnation. Comatose or moribund animals should be condemned on antemortem examination.


Pigments are classified as exogenous and endogenous. Exogenous pigments are synthesized outside of the body and endogenous within the body itself.

Pigments are coloured substances which accumulate in the body cells during the normal physiological process and abnormally in certain tumours and conditions. They have a different origins, biological significance, and chemical composition.

In anthracosis, the carbon particles are found as a black pigment in tissues. This condition is seen as black pigment of the lungs and corresponding lymph nodes in animals raised in urban areas. The lungs affected with anthracosis are condemned and the carcass is approved.

The carotenoid pigments are exogenous pigments, greenish-yellow in colour which consist of carotene A, carotene B, and xanthophyll. They are important in meat inspection because they cause yellowish discoloration in the fat and muscles of (Jersey and Guernsey) cattle. Carotenoid pigments should be differentiated from bile pigments in icterus. The bovine liver affected with this condition is enlarged and shows a bright yellow colour. Such a liver is condemned with the rationale that the affected liver demonstrates some toxic changes, as damaged liver cells cannot metabolize carotene. Liver carotenosis must be differentiated from pale livers in advanced pregnancy.

The endogenous pigments, except for melanin and lipofuscin are derivates of haemoglobin.

(A) Melanosis

Melanosis is an accumulation of melanin in various organs including the kidneys, heart, lungs and liver (Fig. 19), and other locations such as brain membranes, spinal cord, connective tissue, periosteum etc. Melanin is an endogenous brown-black pigment randomly distributed in tissue. In grey and white horses, this pigment is found under the shoulder, axillary area and ligamentum nuchae. Melanin is also found in lymph nodes, pig skin and belly fat or mammary tissue in female pigs. This condition is called “seedy belly” or “seedy cut” since the black colour in the mammary tissue resembles round, black seeds. The melanotic tissue in pigs shows a tendency towards neoplasia. Melanin deposits in the oesophagus and adrenal glands in older sheep are a common finding on postmortem examination. Multifocal deposits of melanin in the liver of a calf is known as “Melanosis maculosa”. It is common in calves and it usually disappears after the first year of age.

Judgement : Carcasses showing extensive melanosis are condemned. If the condition is localized, only the affected organ or part of the carcass needs to be condemned.

Differential diagnosis : Haemorrhage, Melanoma, Distomatosis (liver flukes)

(B) Myocardial lipofuscinosis (Brown atrophy of the heart, Xanthosis)

Xanthosis (“Wear-and-Tear”) pigment is a brown pigmentation of skeletal and heart muscles of cattle (Fig. 20). The condition is seen in old animals such as “cull dairy cows” and in some chronic wasting diseases. It is prevalent in Ayrshire cows and approximately 28 % of normal Ayrshire cows have this pigment in skeletal and heart muscles. Xanthosis is not dependent on the age of animals in this breed.

(C) Congenital porphyria (osteohemochromatosis, pink tooth)

Porphyria is the accumulation of plant or endogenous porphyrins in the blood resulting in tissue pigmentation and photosensitization. This is a hereditary disease and is observed in cattle, swine and sheep. In porphyric cattle, exposure to light will initiate the development of photodynamic dermatitis. In swine, photodynamic dermatitis does not occur.

The disease is also known as osteohemochromatosis, due to a reddish brown bone pigmentation (Fig. 21), and “pink tooth” because of a brownish-pink discoloration of teeth.

Judgement : Carcass showing extensive xanthosis is condemned. If the condition is localized, only the affected organ or part of the carcass needs to be condemned. Head and bones of a carcass affected with osteohemochromatosis are condemned. The bones are “boned out” and remaining muscles are approved. If the condition is generalized the carcass is condemned.


(D) Icterus(Jaundice)

Icterus is the result of an abnormal accumulation of bile pigment, bilirubin, or of haemoglobin in the blood. Yellow pigmentation is observed in the skin, internal organs (Fig. 22, 23), sclerae (the white of the eye), tendons, cartilage, arteries, joint surfaces etc. Icterus is a clinical sign of a faulty liver or bile duct malfunction, but it may be also caused by diseases in which the liver is not impaired. Jaundice is divided into three main categories (Fig. 24).

Prehepatic jaundice (haemolytic icterus)
Hepatic jaundice (toxic icterus)
Posthepatic jaundice (obstructive icterus)

Prehepatic jaundice occurs following excessive destruction of red blood cells. Tick-borne diseases such as Babesia ovis and Anaplasmosis cause this type of icterus, which is one of the main causes of carcass condemnation in Southern Africa due to prevalence of these parasites. Overproduced blood pigment, which cannot be metabolized in the liver, builds up in the blood (haemoglobinemia). It is excreted by the kidneys into the urine (haemoglobinuria). Normal urine colour changes and becomes bright red to dark red.

Hepatic jaundice occurs due to direct damage to liver cells as seen in liver cirrhosis (Fig. 23), systemic infections, and in chemical and plant poisoning. In sheep, jaundice may have been caused by phytogenic chronic copper poisoning.

Liver function is impaired and the liver is unable to secrete bile pigments. Obstructive jaundice occurs when the drainage of the bile pigment bilirubin is blocked from entry into the intestine. This usually occurs due to the obstruction of the hepatic ducts by a tumour, by parasites such as flukes or by gall stones. Obstruction may also occur due to an inflammation of the bile ducts. In hogs, mature ascarides may occlude the bile ducts.

Judgement : Animals suspected to have icterus should be treated as “suspects” on antemortem examination. On postmortem examination, the carcass and viscera with haemolytic, toxic icterus and obstructive icterus are condemned. Less severe cases are kept in the chiller for 24 hours. Upon re-examination, the carcass may be approved or condemned depending on the absence or presence of pigment in the tissue. If the obstructive icterus disappears after 24 hours, the carcass and viscera can be passed for human food.

A simple laboratory test will help to make an objective test for bile pigment icterus. Two drops of serum are mixed on a white tile with two drops of Fouchets agent.2 A blue/green precipitate is positive for bile icterus.

2 Fouchets Reagent Trichloroacetic acid. 25 gm
FeCl3 (10 % solution) 10 ml
Distilled water 100 ml
Differential diagnosis : Yellow fat in animals with heavy corn rations, nutritional panniculitis (yellow fat disease, steatitis) and yellow fat seen in extensive bruises. In yellow fat disease, the fat has a rancid odour and flavour upon cooking.

To differentiate icterus from the normal colour of fat of certain breeds, the sclera, intima of the blood vessels, bone cartilage, liver, connective tissue and renal pelvis should be examined. If yellow discoloration is not noted in these tissues, icterus is not present.