IPPE 2023: Q&A with An X-ray Inspection Expert

Poultry, Red Meat
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As the events of the last few years have shown, one can’t be too prepared and proactive in protecting products and businesses. Poultry and meat processors, who have long invested in food safety interventions, can shore up their lines even more by identifying additional areas of vulnerability and inserting inspection technologies at those points. Dave Lemanski, Regional Sales Manager for Eagle Product Inspection, addresses potential safety gaps and shares how advanced inspection systems help processors improve efficiencies, optimize labor and ensure product quality. He also provides a first look at what attendees can see at Eagle’s booth (#C13855) and FPEC’s booth (#11907) during the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE), January 24-26 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Question: What makes processing unique from an inspection standpoint, both in the nature of the products and the potential for contamination?

Dave Lemanski: While inspecting packaged products is rather straightforward, there are very different dynamics in the way that meat and poultry products are handled and conveyed in a plant. For example, when fresh meat or poultry moves through further processing phases, there is potential for bone contamination as well as contamination from other foreign materials that may have been introduced on the line, such as a part of a knife blade or bits of plastic. And these processes are done in harsh washdown environments that require equipment with industry-standard sanitary design. Understanding this type of meat and poultry production is crucial in knowing where to insert inspection technologies to best prevent contamination.

Question: What are some of the most critical insertion points during the processing phase, and what are some commonly overlooked insertion points?

Dave Lemanski: Processors are required to follow strict HACCP plans, but keeping products safe goes beyond traditional CCPs – processors need to identify multiple inspection points based on every conceivable hazard risk. For example, there are specific vulnerabilities during the pumping process. The Eagle Pipeline is designed to address the unique process of product flowing into a pipe, using exclusive PXT™ (Performance X-ray Technology). This enhanced dual energy technology can capture 0.6 mm stainless steel and bone down to 2 mm, making it the most advanced bone detection in the industry. By discriminating contaminants by density, processors can prevent materials like metal, stone and bone from moving downstream through processing and packaging stages and on to the consumer.

Another potentially overlooked but crucial inspection point is the grinding process. Inserted at this pivotal point on the line, Eagle’s RMI 400 machine can find and remove small contaminants, down to 1 mm bone fragments and 1.8 mm-2 mm stainless steel pieces, and identify other foreign materials that metal detectors cannot. Following the forming process and before tray sealing for meat patties, as an example, the Pack 400 HC can be used to conduct simultaneous checks for contaminants, shape verification, void detection and weight.

Question: What is Eagle focusing on in the next year to provide x-ray solutions to poultry and meat processors?

Meat and poultry producers face unique application challenges with many shapes, sizes, densities, and packaging for a variety of products. Eagle is advancing inspection technology all along the production line to help manufacturers deliver the safest, highest quality products while improving operational efficiencies.

Dave Lemanski: We are constantly looking at improving our technologies for best-in-class contaminant detection at all points along the processing line, such as the recent development of PXT™ dual-energy detector technology, Recently, we’ve also focused on helping processors leverage technologies to reduce labor requirements and improve efficiencies.

That is particularly important to processors in this current operating climate. Additional insertion points for x-ray inspection can potentially replace two, three or even four workers in a given area who were previously responsible for visual inspection. Those workers can then focus on other tasks. X-ray machines like Eagle’s RMI 400 and Pack 400 HC also save labor by performing simultaneous safety and quality checks such as mass measurement. One of Eagle’s newest features, the Retracting Nose Reject, is fitted on the Pack 400 HC to minimize the amount of product rejected. That saves processors the time, cost and labor of rework.

It’s also important to note that Eagle’s rugged x-ray systems for poultry and meat processing facilities are built to stringent NAMI standards and can be quickly sanitized. Features like contoured surfaces, open surfaces and inclined conveyors save on time and tasks. IPPE attendees can see the RMI 400 and Pack 400 HC with the Retracting Nose Reject running live at Eagle’s Booth #C13855. The Eagle Pipeline machine will be displayed at the FPEC Booth #11907 during the IPPE event.

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