Cargill has announced it will introduce an innovative technology, SonoSteam, at its Hereford primary chicken processing plant in the UK, as part of its farm-to-fork action plan to tackle Campylobacter.
SonoSteam, a process developed by the Danish company FORCE Technology, uses a combination of steam and ultrasound to kill microorganisms such as Campylobacter on the skin and internal cavities of chicken. This exciting new technology is expected to be operational at Cargill's Hereford facility by end of 2015.
Chris Hall, Fresh Chicken director for Cargill Meats Europe, said "Cargill takes its responsibility for food safety very seriously, and we know that reducing Campylobacter levels requires interventions across the whole supply chain. We focused initially on our farms and primary processing and analysing our results in the first half of this year we have seen an improvement year on year of approximately 38%. However there is still more to do. We have been following the development of new technologies very closely and made the commitment that we would adopt one as soon as it proved effective. We are very excited to be taking these next steps with FORCE Technology."
Niels Kreb, vice president for Force Technology said: "SonoSteam has only just recently been introduced as a technological intervention against Campylobacter but has already been used to process millions of birds in the UK alone. This technology has proved itself capable of working day in and day out in a production environment and is not only cost effective but has been proven effective at reducing Campylobacter in an environmentally friendly way without chemicals, only water and a modest amount of energy. By installing this technology, Cargill has shown that they are at the front edge of innovation."
Steve Wearne, FSA director of Policy said: "We welcome Cargill's introduction of SonoSteam to its Hereford plant as part of its farm to fork action plan to reduce Campylobacter on chickens. SonoSteam is an innovative and effective way of reducing Campylobacter levels and Cargill should be applauded for making this investment in the fight against the bug. We look forward to seeing lower levels of Campylobacter on chickens sourced from Cargill on sale in shops and supermarkets."
Over the last two years, Cargill has invested over £35 million to improve efficiencies, upgrade technologies and create a state of the art processing plant in Hereford. A number of these investments have enhanced Cargill's commitment to reducing Campylobacter levels including the installation of a new £11million state-of-the-art chiller, as well as ultraviolet light (UV) finished pack decontamination equipment.
For full details of Cargill's four key action points click here.
Cargill continues to work together with the UK poultry industry, retailers and the Foods Standards Agency (FSA) to tackle and minimise Campylobacter levels in the supply chain.