Cargill has completed projects to expand its already extensive food-safety efforts at its Fresno, Calif., beef-production facility, having spent $4.2 million to install a


Hide Carcass Wash
Photos courtesy of Water Management Resources (WMR) and Cargill


hide-on-carcass wash. The wash closely resembles a “car wash for cattle,” in which the hides of animals are scrubbed with spinning bristles and a mild bromine solution that kills bacteria at the beginning of the harvesting process. This process helps better ensure removal of dirt and debris while washing the animal’s exterior, thereby minimizing the potential for contamination from bacteria that potentially pose a health risk to humans.

Used in concert with numerous food-safety measures already in place and aimed at reducing bacteria such as E. coli O157: H7, the hide-on-carcass wash provides Cargill’s Fresno facility with another tool to reduce, and potentially eliminate, these randomly and naturally occurring bacteria.

“People expect safe food, and Cargill’s Fresno beef facility prides itself on producing safe, fresh, quality meat products,” said John Niemann, vice president and general manager. “It’s the meat that families of our 830-plus employees eat, and it’s the meat millions of additional consumers eat, so we work hard to deliver the safest products possible to all of our retail and foodservice customers.”

Water used for the hide-on-carcass wash process is treated and reclaimed using cutting-edge wastewater-treatment technology.

“We are sensitive to regional water needs in California and the Central Valley, and feel it is important to ensure any water we use at our beef-processing facility is properly treated, [is] reused for other purposes and meets water quality and environmental standards when it is discharged,” explained Niemann. He added that the company’s respect for natural resources and the need for conservation are fundamental to Cargill’s values and part of the organization’s cultural DNA.

The hide-on-carcass wash is a collaborative effort between WMR (Water Management Resources) and Cargill. Using resources from both companies allowed Cargill to install a highly innovative, unique piece of equipment that could become the benchmark for the industry after all final adjustments were made. Installation and testing of the hide-on-carcass wash was completed in late September and packaging line renovation work was recently completed.

Established in 1939, the business located at the Cargill site in Fresno eventually became Beef Packers Inc. Cargill purchased the Fresno beef facility in 2006. The 60-acre facility currently harvests cattle during one shift Monday through Friday, with certain types of meat production and packaging taking place on multiple shifts during the week.