Following last month’s piece, Yousef Fatayer, Project Support Group Manager at Eagle Product Inspection, continues to look at consumer trends in poultry consumption and their impact on product inspection operations for processors.


X-ray ensures quality

X-ray inspection systems are also available to inspect bulk-flow (or loose) poultry within the initial stage of the production process. This is the most common presentation, and X-ray is the ideal solution when detecting for multiple sources of contamination – such as calcified bone, metal, glass and some rubber and plastic components.

Within the poultry sector, the fresh prepared retail category — generally refrigerated products which are fully or partially prepared for consumer convenience — is an area which is also growing in popularity amongst consumers .  A considerable amount of packaged poultry items fall under this category. Advanced X-ray inspection technology designed for packaged products can perform various quality checks, including detection of physical contaminants, mass measurement and missing component checks. Product trapped in seals can also be identified and rejected. All of these factors add considerable value to the overall inspection process of the product and ensure consumer safety is optimized.


Sanitary design 

Poultry products are particularly susceptible to bacterial contamination, with poultry processing taking place in some of the harshest environments within the food industry. The challenge to ensure that poultry is inspected in a hygienic manner is one of the top priorities for processors. Traditionally x-ray inspection technologies have been equipped with protective curtains, to protect operators from radiation emissions. While an effective means of ensuring operator safety, these curtains can cause sanitation issues in poultry inspection due to direct contact with the product in its raw state.

Recent developments in x-ray inspection technologies within the poultry industry are addressing the concerns of such issues. For example, systems designed with a conveyor which inclines at a gradual angle, allowing for a curtain-less tunnel, are now available. This prevents the risk of bacterial contamination being spread from one product to another, reduces the risk of harborage, and at the same time prevents the pathway of radiation from coming into contact with operators.

X-ray systems should conform to IP69 ingress standards, enabling them to withstand the poultry industry’s rigorous, high-pressure, high-temperature washdown procedures. They should ideally be built to meet North American Meat Institute (NAMI), NSF/ANSI/3-A 14159-1 & 3, and European Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG) standards for sanitary construction and operation — ensuring that complete design due diligence has been performed so that HACCP critical operations are met.


Total cost of ownership (TCO)

When making capital purchases it is vital to factor TCO into the equation. The cost of a system over its lifetime should not be ignored or obscured by the purchase price. Elements such as longevity in the field and of components are very important considerations, as is the durability of the systems and the amount of operator intervention required in day-to-day operations — whether that be related to set up or sanitation procedures. One of the key points to bear in mind is to work with a supplier with a track record of producing robust systems that are designed to tackle the job in hand. In doing so, processors can be reassured that the system can be relied upon to perform its intended functions with reliability, longevity and productivity in mind.  NP

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