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Ensuring poultry safety: the vital role of Prevenio Lab Services

Ensuring food safety is vital for any company working in the protein industries. Product recalls can lead to ruined reputations, facility shutdowns and lost customers, to stay nothing of the potentially lethal risk to public health. This is why ensuring in-plant testing is effective in detecting harmful pathogens is vital to any company working in poultry or related sectors.

JBT’s Prevenio Lab Services is a food safety specialist working with customers within poultry and produce industries by providing pathogen detection services through its accredited microbiological laboratory. Every year, food processors conduct pathogen testing to ensure customer safety and maintain compliance with government-mandated food safety standards.

Some retailers require additional, even more rigorous testing to prevent product recalls, avoid brand damage, and guard against revenue losses. JBT’s Prevenio lab offers the most cutting-edge, innovative, and reliable food-safety testing in the world.

Cross-contamination risk
“A lot of what we deal with is detecting cross-contamination with bacteria, such as SalmonellaCampylobacter, Listeria and  E. coli,”” says Dr. Melissa Landrum, JBT Prevenio’s Director of Microbiology. “This can be due to a lot of different reasons, such as problems with sanitation programs where things are being missed or it could be some equipment may need to altered to achieve better efficacy. It could even be something as simple as cross-contamination on shoes or in the plant. We can pinpoint a lot of different reasons for the presence of pathogens.”

As Landrum explains, to help customers solve contamination problems, the Prevenio team visits facilities in person to biomap and take samples before and after each intervention to find out exactly where the risks are before they become an issue with the regulatory agencies. 

“Any time a customer finds there is a problem with their internal testing, we will go in and figure out where the problem is or where the cross-contamination point is located,” she says.

Solving dilemmas
Within a poultry plant, the Prevenio team will typically look at whole birds and parts rinses, such as wings and legs, as well as testing finished products, including cooked or marinated chicken.

As an example, Landrum and her colleagues recently aided a poultry plant which was receiving USDA positives for Salmonella, despite internal testing giving the site a clean bill of health. The team, she explains, carried out a “hands on the floor” assessment, looking at where and how sanitation was being carried out, where samples were being taken from for testing and how that testing was being conducted.

“We figured out specific procedures were not being followed for sample collection and provided training and guidance to their internal lab to ensure samples were being run correctly. We located some points of cross contamination that could be addressed,” recalls Landrum. “We gave them pointers and now their results are lining up with the USDA.”

Dire consequences
While the recent example of the poultry plant looks to have been successful, the consequences of not taking action can be dire and can range from bad publicity to a complete closure of a business. 

Firstly, says Landrum, the results of regular USDA testing are reported publicly, so the public can see what plants have problems and in what location, and that can really put a dampener on a company. “The danger is they lose customers and the USDA can shut them down,” she says. “If there are recalls, customers can decide to go with a competitor instead.”

By choosing the assistance of Prevenio, JBT customers can guard against the worst happening by making sure poultry operations remain compliant and above all safe from initial processing through to the end consumer.

LEARN MORE about Prevenio Lab Services

Introducing the Prime CSKB-1 Skinner: a new level of hygiene for poultry processing

Tired of cumbersome poultry skinning systems that have to be dismantled every night to maintain hygiene? Meet the new Prime CSKB-1 Skinner, an ultra-hygenic, simplified solution that combines economy of design with innovations to remove those bacteria traps that have required frequent cleaning in all skinners until now.

Most, if not all skinners, are based around modular belts, which have to be dismantled and sanitized at the close of each day to ensure bacterial build-up does not take place. In contrast, the Prime CSKB-1 Skinner eliminates this problem by replacing the modular design with a seamless, sanitary belt, which can be cleaned by a simple hose down. 

At the same time, Prime Equipment engineers have eliminated many components from the previous skinner design, meaning that many less pieces that could potentially fail or require replacement. With its improved simplicity, Prime estimates a 50% reduction in total MMR cost compared with the previous model (a design which is replicated throughout the industry).

10-minute turnaround
Distilling the advantages, Prime Equipment’s Nick Gasbarro describes the sanitary belt as a step forward for the poultry processing industry. “The simplicity of the machine, which includes getting rid of the paddle wheel and the upper assembly, makes it an easier machine to manage, and this has reduced the Total Cost of Ownership of the Skinner as a whole,” he says.

“To take apart and reassemble the previous version of the Skinner for cleaning was probably a 35-40 minute process for one person and in a lot of plants you have 10-15 skinners; we have now reduced that to 10 minutes.”

When Prime introduced the skinner category, it succeeded in taking people off the processing line. With the new Prime CSKB-1 Skinner, Gasbarro says Prime is reducing the sanitation and maintenance time, which frees up employees to focus on other tasks. 

Revolutionizing skinning
Prime Equipment was started by Nick Gasbarro’s grandfather, Geno, father, Mike, and uncle, Joe, in the early 1990s. Whereas previously skinning chicken and turkey meats had been a labor-intensive task with a poor record on yield, Prime invented a solution that used a “paddle-wheel” shaped roller that automatically removed the skin in a far more effective way without losing valuable meat along the way.

“It was very revolutionary for the chicken industry and really created its own product category,” recalls Gasbarro. “It’s something we are very proud, particularly because it saved a lot of injuries to workers that had previously been common, such as carpal tunnel injuries.”

At this time, the Prime Skinner could be equally applicable to turkey as chicken, white meat and dark, but its initial modular design made it tricky to clean. 

A new level of hygiene
With time, the design of Prime’s original skinner was replicated across the industry, but the cleaning challenge remained, regardless of manufacturer. 

In response, Gasbarro’s grandfather – now in his 90s – has delivered a winning solution once again in the form of a seamless belt featuring flights to replace the wear-and-tear heavy paddle wheel, while at the same time performing the same function. Forming a key component of the new Prime CSKB-1 Skinner, the new belt brings new levels of hygiene to poultry skinning, with cleaning also be carried out by a simple hose down rather than dismantling the entire system.

“The old belts on our skinners and those being used across the industry are modular, so they can be bacteria traps and as a result have to be removed and sanitized at the end of each day,” explains Gasbarro. “With the new CSKB-1 Skinner, the seamless belt eliminates this problem and can be cleaned quickly and simply. Through this action we were also able to eliminate the upper assembly conveyance, which moved the product through the pinch-point, so that means one less moving part that has to be maintained.”

The new Skinner also features a switch from a traditional gear-and-motor drive system to a drum-drive: a single, self-contained motor with a much simpler drive system that lasts longer and uses less energy than the traditional gear motor drive. “We took a concept that was simple and we’ve made it even simpler,” Gasbarro adds.

LEARN MORE about the Prime CSKB-1 Skinner

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