Cargill pilots video system as food safety tool

by Bryan Salvage
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WICHITA, KANSAS — Cargill has started piloting a third-party remote video auditing (R.V.A.) program as a food-safety tool in its 10 North American beef plants. Arrowsight Inc., Mount Kisco, N.Y., is providing the technology in collaboration with ADT Security Services of Boca Raton, Fla.

The processor is currently using R.V.A. to monitor animal-welfare practices and is completing installing the technology at beef-harvest facilities in North America. Cargill decided to extend the R.V.A. technology to monitor food-safety practices based on the positive results it achieved in the animal-welfare area; it is piloting the project at beef facilities in Fresno, Calif. and Milwaukee, Wis.

“We are pleased that Cargill has elected to extend the R.V.A. program into these important food-safety applications,” said Adam Aronson, Arrowsight, Inc. chief executive officer.

Arrowsight’s third-party auditors watch near real-time video to monitor how consistently employees perform their work and provide constructive statistical feedback to plant management.

“The early results with our animal-welfare program have been terrific and we’re excited to get all the facilities up-and-running on the program,” said Dr. Mike Siemens, Cargill leader — Animal Welfare and Husbandry.

Mr. Siemans said Cargill has been able to use the R.V.A. technology to help increase “an already superior compliance rate” at its plants to an even higher level. “In addition to the positive results on compliance rates, we have observed healthy competition among plants on performance scores, as well as a general theme of collaboration among plants on how to attack specific operational challenges,” he said. “The ability to share data and video easily is extremely valuable.”

R.V.A. will be used in the food-safety pilot to review the stages in the process where workers clean and sanitize their knives and other equipment. Cargill will also apply the technology to monitor dressing procedures to ensure proper techniques are followed to reduce the potential for E. coli and Salmonella contamination.

“We’re working to eliminate the opportunity for cross-contamination,” said Dr. Angie Siemens, Cargill vice-president for Technical Services — Food Safety and Quality. “We want to have the steps at the beginning of our process right to enhance the efficacy of our intervention technologies later in the process. The major objective of the video-auditing application is to design a ground-breaking program that can further reduce E. coli and Salmonella contamination.”
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