Michael Crump saw other big improvements in the deboning department. “For years, we’ve done that manually and those are difficult jobs that require a lot of people. But over the last ten years, we definitely have had some advancements. The yields have gone up considerably, while the contamination and the risk of bones have decreased.
As for dark meat, that’s doing really well for us. We have thigh deboning, which has been around for a while. That technology has significantly improved over the last few years.”
Another important development in poultry processing was the introduction of X-ray technology, according to Michael Crump. “There was a time where X-ray technology was kind of a premium, whereas now it’s almost become an expected part of the process and rightfully so. We’re using a lot of bone detection in all of our processes, whether it’s behind a manual line or behind an automated line. That X-ray bone detection technology really gives us better end results.
From a food safety standpoint, it has made us more efficient. We’re able to run every piece of meat through the X-ray and reject anything that has a defect. We’re able to detect any foreign material like a metal object, whether that’s a piece of metal that came off of equipment or from an overhead structure, or anything of that nature.
Something that we certainly will incorporate in the future, is equipment that detects hard plastic, wood and glass. In terms of preventing any food safety risk, there’s a lot of good development in foreign material detection technology.
Another factor is simply the cost to rework any material that might potentially be contaminated or to throw away any contaminated product that can’t be reworked. In the worst case, if it does happen, you end up having to do a recall, which certainly becomes expensive for the company.”