GREELEY, Colo. – JBS USA Beef officials say it achieved a two-thirds reduction in microbial counts for E. coli O157:H7 in its eight beef processing plants in the first half of 2011 vs. the same period last year. A significant reason for the decline is its use in all its plants of a unique remote video auditing (RVA) system developed by Arrowsight, Inc., it says. The system has helped strengthen JBS’s overall food safety program by identifying kill floor employees who need further training in food safety procedures, says John Ruby, head of JBS’s technical services. The RVA system is the best tool that JBS uses to reduce potential contamination from the hide to the carcass because it positively affects employee behavior.

JBS has found great benefits from using the RVA system and Ruby encourages other companies to take a close look at using the system, he says. To put JBS’s reduction in microbial counts in perspective, the incidence of microbial counts for E. coli for the entire industry declined by two-thirds over the last 10 years. JBS uses the RVA system to audit and enhance its overall “SAFE” food safety program, says Ruby. The SAFE program originally involved an evaluation of dressing procedures, monitoring food safety interventions and microbiological counts, and auditing of carcass spacing in the coolers. It now includes the RVA system.

To read more of this story, contact Steve Kay by e-mail at: [email protected]. Steve Kay is editor and publisher of Petaluma, Calif.-based Cattle Buyers Weekly (