Poultry industry professionals from around the country recently met in Nashville, TN, for USPOULTRY’s 2022 Poultry Processor Workshop. The workshop focused on the technology being incorporated into production processes, including artificial intelligence in foreign material detection, automation and data collection, as well as emphasized leveraging daily process data effectively to make informed decisions for the operation. Also featured were ready-to-eat cooking and holding validations for Appendices A and B, along with many other topics.

Dr. Douglas Fulnechek, senior public health veterinarian, poultry at Zoetis, emphasized strengthening strategic areas to have an effective pre-harvest food safety program. Pre-harvest best practices include controlling vertical transmission of Salmonella from the breeder flocks, hatchery and grow-out flocks in order to have minimal Salmonella numbers going into the processing plant. Preventing the introduction of Salmonella from the outside is also essential so that vertical transmission prevention is effective. Cleaning and disinfection of farms and hatcheries, pest control programs and feedmill manufacturing practices are among the best strategies that isolate Salmonella and prevent it from entering farms.  

Allison Griffino, director, Poultry FSQA at Tyson Foods, offered tips on navigating the Public Health Information System (PHIS). The PHIS is the system where plant inspectors document their activities and results. The data collected can be used to track for trends and allows plant management to adjust and improve food safety plans. The system has the ability to build reports. It can be difficult to tailor some reports, but the system can be useful to measure the health of food safety systems. 

Howard Saul, national account manager for Foodmate, provided a look at new technology in deboning equipment as well as the reasons for its increasing use and evolution over time. Causal factors for bone inclusion in deboned meat were discussed, as were some of the tradeoffs in determining how to set the equipment. Saul emphasized that knowledgeable, skilled and reliable maintenance personnel are critical as more automated processes are integrated into poultry plants.