A software that digitalizes environmental monitoring programs in poultry or egg processing plants can visually show producers where microbial hotspots are in their facilities, making issues easier to address and reducing the amount of labor needed for data review.

Many poultry processing plants are still manually managing their environmental monitoring data, according to Katie McPherson, Neogen Corporation digital consultant, at the 2022 Poultry Tech Summit.

“Producers are still using Excel, spreadsheets or even paper to track environmental monitoring, which is causing a lack of visibility into the data,” she said.

 Additionally, the environmental monitoring data collection process can be time consuming when each sample needs to be labelled by hand or investigations into a specific area of the plant need to be conducted.

Virtual environmental monitoring management

Neogen Analytics can make a producer’s environmental monitoring plan more valuable by automating manual processes to reduce the amount of labor needed and by giving a deeper look into the data being collected.

“One way Neogen Analytics can improve the swabbing process is by mapping out an interactive floor plan that helps producers identify hotspots concerning microbial loads,” McPherson stated.

After the swab results are entered into the system, they can be viewed on the map to help producers find where the problem areas are. Additionally, the software allows the producer to identify trends by comparing historical data to current data.

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“One of the coolest things about the analytics is the virtual tour of your facility. While this might be a simplified version of a production environment, it showcases that we can now see the results, by location over specific time periods,” McPherson added.

Green, red and yellow dots across the virtual map show areas that are microbial clean, loaded or have not been tested yet. If a positive is detected, the system can create a corrective action process based on the producer’s specific protocols. Data can be sorted and reviewed by the bacteria detected.

The software can also create swabbing schedules for teams to follow.

“Instead of your team having to spend time figuring out what you are going to swab for the day, the system tells them what needs to be swabbed based on predetermined parameters,” she said.

Facilities with the program implemented have seen improvements in overall efficiency, are able to spend time analyzing data, have shown a reduced risk of microbial issues and have strengthened their environmental programs, explained McPherson.