By Michael Stuart, FA Business Lead, EMEA, Eagle Product Inspection
As demand exceeds production in many European countries, meat and poultry industries are increasingly required to extract the maximum value from their products. Uniform, accurate batches are essential for profitability, and with global food safety regulations constantly evolving, high performance product inspection equipment has become indispensable for fat analysis and contamination detection.
This article shows how advanced product inspection equipment can help processors remain competitive by offering multilayered benefits.
Meat and poultry products have the potential to contain physical contaminants, such as calcified bone, metal, glass, plastic and rubber, either through natural occurrence or as a result of the production process. Contaminated products can cause harm to consumers and damage brand reputations, as well as result in costly recalls.
A well-executed product inspection program can pay dividends. By enabling one hundred percent of product in-line to be inspected, x-ray inspection of meat can help to maximize uptime and ensure the safety and consistency of both packaged and unpackaged products. Read this case study to find out how Johnsonville Sausage reduced their physical contamination complaints and increased the quality of their sausages.
Additionally, pipeline x-ray machines are ideal for inspecting ground chicken, chicken breast and pumped chicken. By inspecting these products at the beginning of the line, poultry processors can ensure contaminants are not present in the products which help to eliminate unscheduled downtime and prevent potential damage of equipment downstream.
End of line x-ray systems are designed to inspect meat and poultry products in a wide variety of packaging – from metal cans and plastic trays to bags and foil-wrapped goods. In addition to checking for contaminants, systems are simultaneously capable of performing additional quality checks, including measuring mass, counting components and checking for the presence of sealing clips. Find out how x-ray systems can simultaneously determine the weight, detect the presence of fat clumps and blowouts, as well as count aluminum clips in ground meat packaged in chubs.
Besides helping to protect consumers and brands, quality control checks can also aid contract wins by reassuring retailers that supplied products are of the highest standard. Grupo Kowi, a fully-integrated pork producer in the Northwest of Mexico, installed x-ray equipment that has enabled the company to improve and assure the quality of their packaged products. This in turn has helped them to build strong business relationships with companies in key export locations.
In addition to offering unrivalled contamination detection, in-line fat analysis (FA) systems accurately measure the fat content or chemical lean (CL) of ground meat and trimmings. By using Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) technology, fat analysis can be provided to within +/-1 CL across a wide range of applications – from fresh and frozen, to bulk, blended and packaged meat. FA systems enable processors to verify that purchased meat is of the correct specification and accurately priced which helps to eliminate lean giveaway.
Batch and recipe management are critical elements for processors. Installing an FA system as part of a complete recipe management solution allows processors to create a batch of meat with a specific CL to a target weight. X-ray inspection systems can achieve this by checking weights and analysis chemical lean of two or more infeeds upstream which are fed with meat/trim at different fat/lean ratios. Download this white paper to read more about how processors can guarantee chemical lean values.
Such preciseness means that processors working to Least Cost Formulation (LCF) production strategies or specific customer recipes (such as burger patties, sausages or ready meal components) can achieve the most effective recipe targets.
Product inspection software has also evolved to accommodate meat industry challenges. For example, new software is able to track and display real-time production batch information for processors running meat through an FA system. Operators can see both numerical data and graphical images of the batch production run against a target recipe for a specific CL content on the user interface. This data can then be used to optimize the raw ingredients added to a batch. Furthermore, easy-to-follow instructions can be generated allowing operators to select and add the correct quantity of raw ingredient to attain a final recipe target.
Systems can also be operated in LCF mode. Based on the raw materials available, operators can choose to optimize a recipe at the click of a button. The software will calculate the LCF of raw materials available in inventory, based on composition, cost and any constraints to fulfill the recipe and product. Afterwards, the software displays the raw material details the operator must add to maximize ingredient utilization.