The process of food automation in the poultry industry

Today, the fundamental food safety business is more essential than ever. With the outbreak of the COVID-19, there have been a few industries that have remained untouched by the virus’s consequences. Food safety in today’s chicken business is a major concern. Everyone wants food that is safe to consume. Although the supply chain of chicken meat is greater than only the processing plant, the business is ultimately held accountable if the food produced is not safe. With the COVID-19 epidemic this year, a higher percentage of food illnesses are anticipated to occur due to the limited amount of staff available in processing facilities. This may also impact small manufacturers supplying bigger enterprises. Different individuals in the business anticipate bigger shops to give aid to small chicken farmers in order to meet the food safety standards.

Let us go through some steps that can be taken into consideration when looking into automating food safety in the poultry industry.

Human Contact

Machines should perform the job when automation is viable for a process. In an idealistic situation, the contribution of humans is restricted to monitoring, eyes, and hands alone. The product should flow as efficiently as it can through all production steps. The goal should be to transfer the stuff from the live bird hook to the cold storage as soon as possible with minimal human intervention.

Eyes, not hands

Human hands are the most critical contaminant in a poultry processing plant. Every touch is potentially contaminating. Where automation is available for a process, machines should do the work. In an ideal world, human input would be limited to supervision only, eyes and not hands. Product should flow as smartly as possible through all stages of the process. Not only do buffers involve costly double handling, they also risk gains in temperature, which will encourage the growth of harmful bacteria and shorten shelf life. The aim should be to move product as quickly as possible from live bird hang-on to the cold store.

Safe transport

The overhead transport system should be in place to ensure that goods do not contact each other in the main process, avoiding cross-contamination. Once released from the restraints, automated transporters should take over safe transport and preserve product integrity. Besides the safe and sanitary transportation of goods to another process stage, it also minimizes human interaction with the material by positioning items automatically properly for input into a downstream engine. Once the goods reach the packaging area, there should be a way to move them safely. It stops people from touching and releases floor space. Cross-contamination avoidance is important for food safety.

Hygienic processing

Evisceration and giblet harvesting are areas, where poor hygiene can adversely affect food safety. Marel automatic equipment has been designed to keep this risk to an absolute minimum. Venting and opening machines leave vents and attached intestine undamaged. Marel was the first equipment manufacturer to transfer the drawn viscera pack to a separate processing line. Packs are transferred with inedible, potentially contaminating organs hanging down and away from the edible giblets. This evisceration method, to be found in Nuova systems, ensures the most hygienic possible process.

Packing safety

In processing plants, it is in the packing department where the most people and manual operations can be found. It is also in the packing department where avoidable buffers of product typically happen. Both can compromise food safety. In the retail breast meat and leg packing line, RoboBatcher Flex can replace human actions. Besides producing super-accurate fixed weight tray packs automatically, this machine can also style them. Human hands no longer have to arrange fillets on the tray.