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Cargill Beef Plants Install Video Gear

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Cargill’s beef slaughter plants in Alberta and Ontario are among 10 company facilities in North America that have installed video equipment to monitor animal welfare practices.

And while the U. S. agri-food giant’s two Canadian beef plants have yet to start using the equipment, the company has already begun a pilot program in two U. S. plants to monitor food safety practices via video as well.

A company spokesman said in an email that the video equipment has been installed at Cargill’s High River, Alta. and Guelph, Ont. plants, but final details have yet to be worked out and the video gear hasn’t yet been put to use.

“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,” Dr. Mike Siemens, Cargill’s head of animal welfare and husbandry, said in a release.

“Cargill has been able to use the RVA (remote video auditing) technology to help increase an already superior compliance rate at its plants to an even higher level.”

Siemens said Cargill has noted “healthy competition” among its participating beef plants on performance scores, as well as a “general theme of collaboration among plants on how to attack specific operational challenges.”

The ability to share data and video easily, he said, is “extremely valuable.”

The food safety pilot, to take place at beef plants at Fresno and Milwaukee, will be used to review the stages in the process where workers clean and sanitize their knives and other pieces of equipment, the company said.

“Additionally, Cargill will 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,” Dr. Angie Siemens, Cargill’s vice-president for technical services in food safety and quality, said in the same release.

The main goal of the video auditing application is to design a “groundbreaking” program that can “further reduce E. coli and salmonella contamination,” Cargill said.

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