Technology that automatically scans poultry carcasses for contamination has been successfully tested in a commercial poultry plant.

The system was by developed by scientists at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as a research agreement with Stork Food Systems, a manufacturer of poultry processing equipment in Gainesville, Ga.

The system uses hyperspectral imaging, which combines digital imaging with spectroscopy, creating individual wavelengths of light that pinpoint contaminants. ARS researchers have improved the hyperspectral imaging system so it detects small amounts of fecal contamination.

To test the technology commercially, a prototype was installed in a commercial poultry plant. The system ran for several days without hardware or software problems.

The team plans to have a new prototype tested by the end of 2009.