Cargill, as a member of the Acting on Campylobacter Together (ACT) Board, is working with the U.K. poultry industry, retailers, and the U.K. Food Standards Agency to identify and implement solutions to minimize problems created by Campylobacter.
The company recently announced that within its own supply chain, it is focusing on four key areas it believes the most significant impacts can be made. Those four areas are:
1. Working with farmers -- In the U.K., Cargill sources its chickens from carefully selected farmers operating in accordance with detailed agricultural procedures, with the farms independently audited against the Red Tractor Farm Assurance scheme. All of Cargill’s farmers receive comprehensive information on Campylobacter and Cargill has optimized its on-farm biosecurity procedures which are continually audited to help protect flocks from infection. All flocks are tested on-farm for Campylobacter and the company is researching whether chicken Campylobacter infection could occur in agriculture from the parent egg-laying birds.
2. Enhancement of processing – Cargill has installed new rinsing stations and following trials have significantly improved the effectiveness of its bird washing equipment in accordance with recognized best practice guidelines, the company stated. New product handling procedures have been developed throughout its operation and equipment has been refurbished to optimize the effectiveness of chicken neck skin trimming. Earlier in 2015 the company invested in the installation of new chicken air-chilling process facilities to maximize control of product temperatures.
3. Testing and monitoring – Cargill stated that it is continuing its microbiological testing for chickens after processing. Finished pack samples are checked daily with virtually all outer packaging surfaces testing negative for the presence of Campylobacter. To further monitor its performance, since March, Cargill has been conducting a survey of its chicken products purchased from retail outlets.
4. Industry trials and introductions of new technologies – Cargill has installed new ultraviolet light (UV) finished pack decontamination equipment as an additional precaution to eliminate any residual Campylobacter that might potentially be present on outer packaging surfaces. This new technology has been present in its Hereford plant since August. Having closely monitored the development of new technologies designed to reduce Campylobacter levels on chicken, including rapid surface chilling (RSC) and steam combined with ultrasound, the company is now committed to introduce FORCE Technology’s SonoSteam process into its Hereford plant by the end of 2015.