10 Commonly-asked Questions about Red Meat Inspection – PART 1

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In this two-part article, our Fat Analysis and Red Meat Business Lead – EMEA, Michael Stuart, answers some of the most common questions about red meat inspection and explains how x-ray systems can help red meat processors and slaughterhouses to produce safe, consistent and high quality products at the same time as optimizing production processes.

Do you have any other questions about red meat inspection that you would like our experts to address? Please email us your questions and we will get it answered in our next blog series!

1. How can x-ray systems assist red meat processors and slaughterhouses with their inspection needs?

There are three main benefits an x-ray inspection system provides for red meat processors and slaughterhouses. The first one, and perhaps the most important, is the detection of any potential foreign contaminants to ensure product safety. X-ray systems for red meat inspection have an exceptional ability to detect glass, mineral stone, calcified bone and a variety of different metals. The second reason lies in the fact that both red meat processors and slaughterhouses need to produce high-quality products to their desired specifications consistently and, in order to do that, they need to be able to measure 100% of all the meat products that run through their production line. The third benefit is the ability to optimize their production processes to maximize profits. By taking into account the variation of the fat content of their raw materials and also the associated costs of these raw materials along with the prices that red meat processors and slaughterhouses get for the final products they take to market, x-ray systems for red meat inspection can play a key role in optimizing production.

2. What are the advantages of inspecting incoming red meat?

An incoming red meat inspection system is a system that is installed in a particular point in the overall production process. In this instance, we’re referring to a processor who is bringing meat in from a supplier. The purpose of having an x-ray system at this point is to verify that they’re getting what they pay for. By performing a chemical lean analysis of the meat, processors know exactly what they received. This analysis also enables them to make the best use of raw materials via advanced software that takes the results from the incoming meat inspection and then tells the actual production process how to make the best possible use of the meat that’s come in to that particular site. In addition to this, x-ray systems for incoming meat inspection can detect contaminants in raw materials. This means the processor can be sure that they’re protecting equipment further downstream from potential damage, as well as report back to the supplier that a contaminant has been identified, thus helping to demand the best possible value from suppliers.

If you want to know more about software optimization systems, visit our OPTUM™ website.

3. Why install an x-ray inspection system to inspect packaged meat?

By the time you get to the end of a production line where your red meat product is packaged, invariably that’s the final check any supplier can do to ensure a meat product is safe for consumption. The primary purpose of an x-ray system is to check for the presence of foreign contaminants such as metal, glass, mineral stone and calcified bone. Today the market offers a wide range of x-ray solutions to inspect products in a variety of different types of packaging like trays, cartons, boxes, pouches, glass jars, cans, etc. In addition, x-ray systems are simultaneously capable of checking a package’s weight and ensuring that it contains the right number of products. All the data from the analysis is recorded on a central database, giving the supplier’s customers peace of mind that the products they’ve purchased are safe for human consumption. Watch our webinar to see the additional quality checks x-ray provides.

4. Why is x-ray the best solution for inspecting bone-in products?

X-ray systems for red meat inspection are exceptionally good at identifying foreign contaminants in a whole variety of different meats. When we think of bone-in applications, such as ham, there’s already a contaminant within the product, in this instance it’s a bone. Manufacturers still want to be able to check to see if there are any other types of contaminants, such as a blade tip or a hypodermic needle that’s snapped off during the lifetime of the animal. X-ray is one of the best technologies at identifying those additional contaminants. The latest x-ray systems incorporate advanced image analysis software which filters out the existing bone in the product and then analyzes to see if there are any other foreign contaminants.

5. Why install a fat analysis system in a minced meat manufacturing plant?

There are many good reasons for minced meat manufacturers to install a fat analysis system. Not only will such a system allow them to evaluate the performance of their suppliers in terms of the actual fat content of the raw materials being supplied, it will also allow them to optimize their production. Additionally, they can check to see if there are any contaminants in those raw materials and remove them, ensuring that their minced meat is safe to use in final products.

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