June 1, 2004
Solid particles and organic matter in injected brines and marinades are known to dramatically reduce the effectiveness of UV sterilization, since UV light is easily absorbed by suspended particulate, making the use of UV to disinfect brines and marinades highly problematic.
North Little Rock, AR-based Safe Foods Corporation was convinced that UV could be economically and effectively used to disinfect these opaque liquids. Utilizing their new state-of-the-art R&D labs, the company’s R&D staff went to work to solve the problems related to UV disinfection of these opaque liquids.
Canada’s Maple Leaf pork division is one of Safe Foods’ customers for its UV disinfection systems. “Approximately a year ago we were looking for a way to reduce the TPC (Total Plate Counts) in the brine for our moisture enhanced pork lines,” said Maple Leaf’s Rob Kaminski. “We visited many companies in this field. After considerable research, we felt that one company, Safe Foods, had the best equipment for UV on brines and marinates. Through using their equipment and following their recommendations, we have reduced the average and eliminated any spikes in TPC that we were experiencing,” Kaminski said.” Safe Foods wants to succeed as much as we do and our partnership benefits both parties. This is especially true considering Maple Leaf’s strong commitment to leadership in food safety and the other leading-edge technologies Safe Foods is developing in the food safety front.”
Like Maple Leaf, Swift & Company has continuously invested in leading edge processing technologies. The company’s senior management team has developed a company culture that is equally focused on its customers and food safety while successfully engaging its employees at all levels in the organization to take ownership of these values. By all accounts, this is a winning recipe for success in a growing market.
Pursuant to the challenge of continual improvement, Swift turned its attention to the practice of recycling injected brine solution and its potential impact on food safety - a challenge that would once again take Swift to the leading edge of food safety.
Recognizing the food safety implications involved in the recycling and reuse of brine solutions, in the fall of 2002 Swift began searching for a safety intervention technology that would effectively and continuously disinfect their brine solutions just prior to final injection. Their initial search suggested that the naturally occurring antimicrobial properties of ultraviolet light had real promise in this area.
Warren Mirtsching, vice president of quality assurance and food safety, said: “We continually seek ways to improve and build upon our existing food safety systems. The challenge was to find an effective intervention technology that enabled us to continually treat and retreat our brine solutions while not adversely affecting the organoleptic properties of the brine, making the intervention transparent to our customers and the product safer for the consumer.”
After several months of rigorous in-plant trials of numerous technologies that harnessed ultraviolet light, Swift concluded that the FreshLight® UV technology developed by Safe Foods Corporation delivered a far superior performance.
Duane Storm, Swift Corporate Engineer, said: “FreshLight offered superior performance in several areas. The patented technology that generates a highly turbulent flow exposing the surface area of the brine to the UV light not only delivers a superior microbial performance, but the product is truly a CIP design that works. We also have been impressed with the people from Safe Foods - professional and knowledgeable employees who have a can do attitude that goes above and beyond all expectations.”
In addition to enhanced beef and pork products, Safe Foods with their FreshLight technology has received a great deal of attention from the poultry industry where the FreshLight technology originated and initially developed. Multiple companies within the poultry industry have adapted this leading food safety technology within their marination and injection process. “Our unique labs perfectly lend themselves to just this kind of problem solving,” said Bruce Smith, chief operating officer for Safe Foods. “Under one roof, we can engineer and test our application systems, conduct the necessary microbiology, and perform any chemical analysis needed,” Smith said. “We have an extraordinary R&D staff, with enormous experience in the real world of meat and poultry processing. They understand not only the science, including the chemistry and the microbiology, but also what it takes for a system to be a genuine CIP, dependable, and easily maintained system in a processing plant’s often harsh environment.” Continuing to lead the market, Safe Foods brings years of experience, advanced technology, and team that strives for perfect delivery. NP