Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 71

Mettler-Toledo; ProSpection Solutions

A

t the end of 2019, the US Department of Agriculture
(USDA) had announced 34 recalls of 17 million lbs of
meat and poultry products for the year, after " foreign
materials " were found. Ten years before that, in 2009, there
were five recalls of 1 million lbs of meat for what USDA calls
" foreign matter contamination. "
How does it happen? Sometimes metal parts break off
from the machines that mix and process the products. Other
times pieces of rubber gloves come off plant workers' hands.
Plastic and glass from packages and containers can also end
up in food products.
Why the dramatic increase? The speed of food production
is increasing. Older processing equipment can break down.
Consumers who find foreign objects in their food are not
keeping quiet about it. They name company names and often
publish photos of the contaminated food on social media.
Eight years ago, reacting to Congress, USDA increased its
reporting requirements. And furthermore, a year and a half
ago, USDA published guidelines to prompt quicker processor
response to reports of foreign contamination.
While some foreign matter is found by consumers
when they're eating, the industry is working to detect
contamination long before the food is consumed.
" X-ray, vision and NIR (near infrared) technologies
are available today, " explained Glenn Holliday, product
specialist for detection equipment at Marel. " X-ray detects
density, vision by shapes and colors and NIR by infrared sub
samplings. X-ray is limited by any contaminate with a similar
density to the meat - it will not be detected. Vision only sees
what is on the surface of the product, not what is imbedded in
it. NIR doesn't scan the entire product, only takes sub samples
and can miss contaminants because of the scan range. "
Holliday said the goal is to deliver to the customer endof-line products that are 100% contaminate-free, although
he admitted 100% is an unattainable goal. Marel's products
include X-Ray single lane and dual lane, and a three lane for
smaller products, mainly used to find bones in poultry.
" In meat we have three different systems, the Magna, the
Accuro and Omnia, looking not only for foreign contaminate,
but fat analysis as well, " he said.
Bone detection can be difficult because of unrealistic
expectations since cartilage bone is difficult to find. Holliday
said there is a lot of pressure from processors for equipment
to detect foreign material contamination.
" Definitely, the customers are demanding higher
standards and sometimes demand specs that are not
available yet, " he noted.
Eric Garr, area sales manager for Fortress Technology,
said, " Metal detection is most common, since metal is
the number one contaminant. But X-Ray can be used
as a complementary technology to detect non-metal
contaminants and provide fat analysis. "
Not only is metal detection the backbone of food safety

ProSpection Solutions
features its Foreign Material
Detection System to detect
low density foreign material.

compliance, it has made huge strides in accuracy and
avoiding false positives, Garr said. " Today, metal detection
can rival X-Ray in some of the toughest metal contamination
challenges, with a far more affordable capital cost. "

APPLICATION FLEXIBILITY
During the past year there has been more demand for faster,
more versatile and hygienic inspection systems since meat
and poultry processors are facing demands from retailers
to provide products in different packaging styles and sizes.
New technology can help processors of processed meats like
patties or chicken strips.
" For meat processors handling high-viscous meats, the
Fortress Meat Pump Pipeline metal detector is very good, "
Garr said. " Our Interceptor metal detector conquers the
challenge posed by moisture in meat and poultry and can
be placed in different locations on a meat production and
packing line, " he explained.
Kyle Knudsen, vice president of technology at
ProSpection Solutions, pointed to automation as one reason
for an increase in foreign material contamination in food.
" With automation, more processing equipment can break,
and there are fewer people to catch it. More product being
produced increases the chance that some of it contains
foreign material. And more attention is being paid - more
consumers are aware of the possibility of foreign objects in
the products they consume, " Knudsen said.
Detection products from ProSpection Solutions include
the Foreign Material Detection System for low density
foreign material in a continuous product flow and Eliminator
Grinder, which removes foreign material like bone while
taking whole muscle to the final grind.
" Most of the meat industry is similar in terms of
methodology in detecting foreign contaminants, and many of
the companies producing equipment for this purpose sell to
the entire meat industry, " he said.
There is pressure on meat and poultry processors to find
contamination before their customers do. " Companies can
suffer financial penalties for foreign contaminants, and can
even lose customers because of it, " Knudsen said. " Our goal
is to alert the facility that the foreign material was detected,
so they can determine and resolve the cause. "
www.meatpoultry.com | 02.21 | MEAT+ POULTRY

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Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 2
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 3
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 4
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Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - vdg - 1
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