“The ground turkey recall was a game-changing situation for the industry,” said Mike Robach, VP of Corporate Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs for Cargill Inc. He presented at the 2012 Poultry Processor Workshop held at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA. The conference was sponsored by USPOULTRY.

In his presentation entitled, “Salmonella / Campylobacter Interventions in 2nd Processing…A Case Study,” Robach provided an overview of the ground turkey recalls Cargill conducted in August and September 2011, which were associated with an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg. He discussed the first recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey taken by Cargill in August, stressing that the first recall was voluntary on Cargill’s part and that USDA did not approach Cargill to recall the product.

Robach then discussed the second recall in September, which was initiated by USDA. He reviewed the changes made at the Springdale facility as a result of the recalls, as well as additional improvements and current efforts still being undertaken. Robach concluded by remarking, “As a result of the recalls, there is more and better sharing of best practices within the turkey industry. Food safety needs to be a shared responsibility across the industry. We cannot differentiate ourselves by having food safety used as a competitive advantage. We need to help each other collectively.”

Jeff Smith, Director of Corporate Environmental Services for Perdue Farms, gave a presentation on “Sustainability Initiatives: Alternative Energy.” He observed that being consistently compliant was important to Perdue Farms and discussed the company’s efforts in reducing its environmental footprint, which includes three platforms: (a) reduce, reuse, recycle; (b) research and innovation; and (c) community outreach. Smith reviewed some of Perdue Farm’s renewable energy initiatives and lessons learned, including the company’s Cofield and Lewiston, N.C. biomass boilers; Cromwell, Ky. bio-gas collection system; and Salisbury, Md. corporate office and Bridgeville, Del. feed mill solar electricity systems.

As part of the presentations on new processing technology, Scott Hazenbroek, President of Foodmate US, gave a presentation on “Thigh Deboning.” Hazenbroek provided a recap on old technology versus new technology in thigh deboning and reviewed the key features and benefits of Foodmate’s system. Dr. Joe Yates, Food Science and Production Specialist for WTI Inc., presented on “Shelf Life Extension.” Yates discussed a variety of WTI products including Ional, which increases the ionic strength of an electrolyte solution (salt water / brine / marinades) allowing for better disassociation of salt and other ingredients and extending shelf life by as much as 27 days.

Other sessions included “The Pulse of Further Processing…Where Do We Go From Here?”; “Trends in Food Safety Litigation”; “Poultry Inspection Modernization Act – Turkey and Broiler Perspectives”; “Low Atmosphere Pressure Stunning: An Alternative to Gas Stunning”; “Export Markets for Non-Traditional Products”; “New Processing Technology – Data Collection for Processing Plants, X-Ray Technology”; and a “Processing Plant Open Forum.”