The international magazine for the meat and poultry industry
MEAT PACKING J O U R N A L
JULY~August 2017 volume 4 | issue 4
how you can keep it real, relevant and hip
80 years of spam P.32
UK sausages put great in britain
$75 billion - why you should do pet
latest stunning developments
C o Mmen t
U.S. beef to China but don’ t hold your bre ath
he USA’s Trump administration has announced a 10-part deal with China, where China has agreed to re-open its doors to US beef imports by mid-July. What the administration is downplaying, however, is that the USA in return has agreed to open its market to Chinese cooked poultry. The US National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has welcomed this deal, stressing that it’s “impossible to overstate how beneficial this will be for American’s cattle producers.” NCBA President Craig Uden said in a statement: “We look forward to providing nearly 1.4 billion new customers in China with the same safe and delicious beef that we feed our families. “I look forward to the day when we can serve President Trump and President Xi a dry-aged Americanmade New York strip in Beijing.” I wonder, however, if Uden is also feeling the same excitement about the day when he can serve his family a meal of Chinese cooked poultry – just as safe and delicious as they feed their families. MPJ’s readers no doubt recall the storm of controversy last year when the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service released an audit showing that China’s inspection system for slaughtered poultry met US equivalency standards. The audit found that China could be eligible to export poultry to the US that was slaughtered in its facilities. Forbes business magazine, not known for exaggeration, wrote: “That chicken nugget on your child’s plate could soon be made from chicken raised, slaughtered, and processed in China, which has one of the worst food safety records in the world.” Wenonah Hunter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said: “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] is still suffering repercussions from the melamine contamination of dairy products in 2008 that killed six infants and hospitalized 300,000 consumers. Recently, employees of the US-based meat processing company OSI, which operates plants in the PRC, were charged with selling adulterated poultry meat to Chinese restaurants, including KFC and McDonald’s. And let’s not forget the hundreds of [US] dogs that have died from eating poultry jerky treats imported from the PRC.” Let’s not forget this either: while China shot those responsible for the melamine disaster, it only acted after a foreign shareholder in the company complained and the milk was pulled from Chinese shelves, even though for several years Chinese families complained that the milk was making their children sick. I have no axe to grind against China. I lived in Hong Kong under the Union Jack; I lived in Hong Kong under the PRC. If it wasn’t for my marrying a British lass who got homesick, I’d still be living in China today. But, let me say this. If I took away one lesson from my time there
elsh Sausage is an interesting company I visited that brings sausage to a new level of excellence page 36
it is this: nothing is ever as it seems in China. Let’s take US beef for example. While for the last decade there might be only a pittance making its way officially into China, look at the amount of US beef being imported into Hong Kong. Either those living in Hong Kong are using beef from everything from meals to wallpaper, or it’s all going north across the border into China-proper. Be it not for me to say which one it is, but I will say this, I lived with a Chinese family in a Hong Kong village for several years. How many times did we have beef? Never. We were not the exception. President Trump put the nail into the Trans Pacific Partnership deal which would have helped considerably US agriculture exports, including beef. With his popularity waning, he needed to throw a bone to some of his core supporters, thus this deal. But don’t think for a second it’s going to happen, or if it does, in a manner you’re expecting. China knows more than anyone the Great Chinese Myth. This myth is: if I could only sell one aspirin; one chicken foot; one beef steak to all 1.3 billion Chinese I’ll be richer than Scrooge McDuck. This myth makes business people, lose all common sense and weak in the knees; it makes them ALL see deals where there aren’t any; see profits, when none are coming in. Since Nixon went to China, the Chinese government has been playing this game. Who has gotten rich during this time – China. To the US beef industry I caution: don’t believe the myth. Velo Mitrovich email@example.com @Meat_Packing
July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 3
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PETFOOD 48 - A market worth $75 billion BACK PAGE 66 - How to survive a bad case of animal rights also in this issue 7 - News 10 - Safety news 55 - Distribution news 58 - Weather 61 - Marketing news 64 - Product news 69 - Events
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he European Jewish Congress has strongly condemned a decision made in the Wallon region in southern Belgium to effectively ban Shechita, the Jewish form of humane slaughter for meat, reports the Jewish Press. In addition to the ban of kosher slaughter, it also applies to halal as well. EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor called the decision as “scandalous,” and said it stands in opposition to the European Union’s freedom of religion laws. In May the Environment Committee of the Wallon Parliament in Belgium’s French-speaking region voted to ban all slaughter without stunning, effective September 2019. The Parliament’s plenary is
now set to debate the issue later this year. A similar move has been proposed by the parliament in the Flanders region as well. “This decision, in the heart of Western Europe and the center of the European Union, sends a terrible message to Jewish communities throughout our continent that Jews are unwanted,” Kantor said. “It attacks the very core of our culture and religious practice and our status as equal citizens with equal rights in a democratic society. It gives succor to anti-Semites and to those intolerant of other communities and faiths. “We call on legislators to step back from the brink of the greatest assault on Jewish religious rights in
Belgium since the Nazi occupation of the country in WWII,” he urged. “The European Jewish Congress and its affiliates stand in total solidarity with the Jewish community of Belgium in its fight to maintain its most basic religious freedoms,” he added. “We will not rest until this ban is overturned and Jews in Europe are able to practice their most basic religious rights.” Belgium will not be the first country in Europe to ban kosher/ halal slaughter of animals. Denmark has a similar law though it’s almost pointless since the Jewish community in Denmark is so small, kosher slaughtering stopped in Denmark long before the law went into effect.
Irish lamb producers hit by low prices
upermarket giant Tesco’s price levels for Irish spring lamb have been called “unsustainably low” by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA). The association’s chairperson, John Brooks, says that UK-basedTesco is undermining premium spring lamb producers by “offloading” spring lamb at €8.69/kg ($9.66). By the time the cost of processing has been taken into account, farmers can’t turn a profit at price
levels that low, said Brooks. “This can only be described as below cost selling. This will have the effect of putting farmers out of business. The ICSA is calling for this practice to stop.” Brooks said that farmers are not being fairly compensated for the work involved in producing a quality product. “Spring lamb producers excelled as usual. They carefully planned lambing dates/sale dates, cared for their flocks pre and postlambing; at a time of year when you
have long winter nights and feed costs are at a maximum, in order to have a premium product ready for Easter and early summer.” One of Brooks complaints is that the supermarkets have no problem promoting farmed salmon as a luxury product commanding high prices. Why not lamb? In a statement to the Irish Farmers Journal, Tesco defended its promotion saying that the promotion was planned as part of its nationwide introduction to spring lamb.
India bans sale of cows for slaughter
he Indian government has issued a nationwide ban on selling cattle for slaughter, the toughest measure yet imposed to protect cows, an animal that conservative Hindus regard as sacred. What makes this ban a challenge for all concerned is that India is the world’s leading buffalo meat exporter. Is the meat being sold from
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a cow or from a buffalo? The man on the street can’t tell and due to this, Muslim meat traders have been attacked and some killed, according to numerous sources. Under the new rules, no cows or buffaloes can be traded at a livestock market without a signed declaration by the owner stating that the animal was not being sold
for slaughter. And, anyone buying livestock would have to present a document showing that he or she is an “agriculturalist,” said Al Jazeera news. Bovine red meat, which is cheaper in India than many other sources of protein, is a major part of the diet of Muslims, Christians and Hindus from the lowest rung of the caste system, known as Dalits. July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 7
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‘Pink slime’ trial moves ahead
BC News must be regretting the day they thought a story about lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) – also known as ‘pink slime’ – would be an excellent subject for an investigated piece. The US news organization must be regretting even more that they took on a South Dakota company in doing the story. Due to a South Dakota food libel law that allows for triple damages against those found to have knowingly lied about a food product, ABC News could be looking at a payout to Beef Products Inc (BPI) in the amount of $6 billion. According to the Wall Street Journal, the term “pink slime” was in wide use after a 2009 New York Times story on the product, but it exploded on social media after the ABC News broadcasts in 2011. ABC focused on the fact ground beef labels made no mention of LFTB, made from defatted beef trimmings in a process that involved using ammonium hydroxide. In an interview with a meat industry spokesperson, multiple Emmy award-winning journalist, Jim Avila, was gunning for bear. “Why – if it is just another additive, a way to put leaner beef in the burgers at a cheaper price, if it is no
problem, if it’s safe, all those things, why not just label it? Why not just put it on the package?” South Dakota Judge Cheryle Gering said Avila was “rude, agitated and hostile” in his questioning of the Beef Products defender. Judge Gering, in rejecting ABC’s bid to have the case dismissed, said a jury could find the network was pursuing “a negative spin” on the story before conducting any research and that Avilla had an anti-meat-industry agenda. “Looking at the evidence in a light most favorable to the plaintiffs, a jury could determine that there is clear and convincing evidence that ABC Broadcasting and Mr. Avila were reckless,” the judge said, and that “they engaged in purposeful avoidance of the truth.” In an interview with KeloLand News, University of South Dakota Journalist in Residence Chuck Baldwin said: "I think stations should be watching this. I think anyone with an investigative reporter should be watching this. A jury is not going to like the idea of what we now called 'pink slime.' A jury is not going to like the idea that a product was sold to them without their knowledge of what was in it or how it was made.
But at the same time, most people don't really care for the news media." Beef Products says ABC News whipped up the controversy about the meat product to boost ratings, inflaming consumers’ fears and forcing plant closures. “This was fake news,” Beef Products lawyer J. Erik Connolly told Judge Gering during arguments in January. “It’s perfectly safe. It’s perfectly nutritious. It was properly approved by the USDA. There was no news here. There was nothing to rush out and talk about. There was no news.” According to Food Safety News, before “pink slime” became a dominant news event in 2011, BPI operated plants in multiple states and delivered LFTB to top fast food chains and the National School Lunch program. Public reaction caused it to lose numerous contracts and customers, led to plants closures, and layoffs of several hundred workers. The trial will be held in Elk Point, South Dakota (population 2,000) and is expected to last around nine weeks and will involve 50 lawyers. Sixteen on each side will be allowed in at one time.
Trump signs deal for beef exports to China
elations between the world’s two largest economies have hit a “new high”, Donald Trump’s commerce secretary has claimed, announcing a “herculean” trade deal between Washington and Beijing. After being banned since 2003, US beef will be allowed back into China – maybe (see this issue’s Comment). If all goes to plan, the deal is expected to be finalized in mid-July. Even then it won’t be smooth sailing for US beef due to competition from countries now established in the Chinese market. Rabobank said Australia had an advantage because it had already been providing beef free of hormone growth promotants (HGP) and with full traceability of the life of the cattle. Currently, American hormone free, organic beef sells for a premium in the US domestic market. "The Chinese consumer has to pay at least that premium to attract
ments were. "Until then we won't know what percentage of our beef will be eligible," Schuele said. "China really became a big global beef importer, last year taking $2.6 billion worth, from Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. That's about 10 times the value they had imported 10 years previously.” He said this showed how much the demand for beef had grown and why the company was anxious to get back into that market. Only 15 per cent of US beef is exported, but with the increased herd size, US ranchers need to find more markets. A section of the trade deal that many are pretending doesn’t exist is the part that allows for Chinese cooked chicken to be imported in the USA. When American consumers scream to high heaven that they won’t eat Chinese chicken, will nationalistic Chinese feel warm towards US beef? Stay tuned.
it away from that current market," said Rabobank's senior protein analyst Angus Gidley-Baird. Australia recently signed a unique deal with China for greater access for chilled beef, favored for the premium end of the market. But Australian exporters will still have to compete with similar products out of the US, at some point. The US Meat Exporters Federation said processors could start exporting beef to China as soon as the details and restrictions were worked through in July. "It has the potential to be very significant, with China the fastest growing beef market in the world," said Joe Schuele, communications, Meat Exporters "We've been on the sidelines as other beef supplying countries have grown their exports there, so we're anxious to get back in. However, he said, it would depend on what the export require-
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Lots of room to grow in peru pork
eru’s pork consumption is not even 6kg per person, making it one of the lowest in the region. But, according to the US Department of Agriculture, this also means that there is considerable room for growth. Domestic production and imports are set to rise. This is due to economic growth, the end of a lengthy, costly internal war with Shining Path, and rising incomes. If launched in Peru, an effective marketing campaign could aid in increasing consumption and create more opportunities for US pork
promotion and sales, according to the USDA. Other pork exporting countries, too, could ride on the US coattails, notes MPJ. Peru’s hog population is 3.4 million, with an annual harvest of 2.3 million animals. The country’s pork imports – 7,571 metric tons – mostly come from Chile due to proximity and costs. Unlike many parts of South America where people prefer beef above all, Peruvians have a strong preference for chicken, eating around 55 kg per capita, with those living in the country’s capital –
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Lima – eating 70 kg. Seafood, too, is a popular source of protein for those in Peru. For many years pork in Peru has had a bad health reputation. Historically, pork in Peru is associated with diseases such as Trichina and swine being raised on household garbage. However, the Peruvian Pork Producers Association has launched the ‘Come Cerdo, Come Sano’ or “Eat Pork, Eat Healthy” campaign to educate the public about the nutritional benefits of eating pork. In South America, Chile and Brazil lead in pork consumption. www.meatpacking.info
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Staying ahead in pathogen detection Food safety testing is not for regulators; it is for consumers, and truly and simply stated, the right thing to do! Chip Zerr of FoodChek Systems explains how a food safety plan may just end up saving your consumers, your company’s brand, and management from harm
arm animals become meat products at the slaughterhouse. This truism is mirrored by another: consumers prefer not to know about this process. The strength of the childhood image of farming, so easily subject to anthropomorphism from Larry the Lamb to Shaun the Sheep, has a lasting impact. The journey from farmyard to shop has become a taboo zone in the brain. Occasional qualms about animal welfare are eclipsed by the smell of bacon for breakfast or the prospect of roast beef for Sunday lunch. A Food Safety Plan and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) are safe food advancements that are either required or recommended by the US FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) with the ideal goal of eliminating outbreaks and food recalls. The alarming volume of over 500 food recalls in 2015 has since compelled Congress to impart judicial powers to the US FDA and the DOJ (Department of Justice) with the ability to bring criminal charges against companies and their management for food safety violations as it relates to foodborne pathogen outbreaks. Congruently, the newly developed and mandated FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) expands the food safety compliance requirements of the food industry to supply safe food, along with safe food protocols and procedures. One of the major food safety policy revisions involves the FDA’s 5-year Swab-a-Thon program of conducting a microbiological profile of every US food processing facility and their products. The test results of foodborne pathogen data are then matched to comparative patterns of bacterial outbreaks in PulseNet, which is a national laboratory network that connects the incidences of foodborne outbreaks. PulseNet now has 20-years of data, matching the DNA of pathogen data to that 10 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
of the food facility. Swab-a-Thon test results serve as an early warning system in identifying outbreak risks, advising the public of food recalls released to eliminate or minimize illness, and repair the breaches in food safety systems. Consequently, it is now imperative that food processors diligently employ preemptive measures to test for foodborne pathogens in their facilities and continuously improve and monitor their food safety plans. Doing so helps food processors protect their consumers, product brands, companies, and management from the severe consequences of food recalls. To help food processors and manufacturers for the changing environment of testing, Roka Bioscience recently hosted a webinar titled: "Play FDA for A Day: Criminalization of Foodborne Illness & What you can do to protect your company." You can still catch the on-demand version. In order to be positive that your preventative control process is working you need to find the positives that may be hiding undetected in your environment. Join the FDA for a Day Program: Be Positive allows you to do a complimentary, high-resolution self-audit that will provide a snapshot of your current food safety environment. Be sure to check out this program.
or a food processor, one of the foundational pillars of a strong food safety plan is the ability to rapidly and accurately detect foodborne pathogens in the facility environment as well as in food products. I’ve lived the challenges of inaccurate foodborne pathogen detection, long “time-to-results”, and the frustration associated with sampling and testing. Assuming you have the most robust sample procedures in place, what occurs next in pathogen www.meatpacking.info
detection is often overlooked. From my decades of experience in food safety, I’ve learned that enrichment media comes in all forms, types, levels of expense, and is designed for different applications. Importantly, the correct media needs to be chosen, independent of price, as all enrichment media are NOT created equal and all do not do the same thing. This is not an area within your food safety plan or HACCP System where you want to cut costs given the new FSMA laws that are being enforced by criminal liabilities. When selecting an enrichment media specific to your situation, some of the key differences to look for are: 1) Length of “time-to-results”; 2) Specificity of enriching the anticipated pathogen; and 3) Compatibility with detection systems. The formulation of each media is based upon meeting these main criteria. Therefore, if the target organism is unable to recover and grow selectively and rapidly in the enrichment media you are currently using, then I strongly recommend converting to a quality enrichment media to support these conditions for timely and accurate detection. This same concept same holds true for overall assay and test equipment. You must look at what you are paying for with respect to performance as well as value for media, assay, and test equipment.
growing your sample
sing a selective enrichment media, one that is formulated to substantially and quickly grow the target organism for detection, promptly removes many of the challenges associated with a comprehensive and successful food safety plan. A food processor, at some point will be required to sample and test both the process environment and/or finished products. Why? Because this is a snap-shot in time of the safety and wholesomeness of the product and sanitary cleanliness of the food facility. However, if an enrichment media is not used to strictly target for resuscitation and growth of the target organism then all of the protocol steps followed to elicit detection are likely ineffective. As a consequence, reporting consistently negative
results over time gives a false sense of security yet in truth masks an increased risk of a food recall along with consumer illness and possibly deaths due to contaminated food products. Actero Elite Enrichment Media is an example of enhanced formulation that significantly reduces pathogen testing incubation and enrichment time without compromising the ability to produce accurate test results. Specifically, it makes the timeline for the sample enrichment growth phase up to 30 percent faster for E.coli and Listeria, and up to 70 percent faster for Salmonella. While other pathogen tests require multiple enrichments, longer incubation times and more media per sample, Actero offers a media testing system that combines these requirements into a more efficient, single-step enrichment process, compatible with any pathogen testing system and guaranteed to increase productivity and product fresh shelf life.
proactive detection advantage
rom my experience, I strongly encourage all food processors to complete the due diligence to locate, destroy and mitigate the source of the target pathogen. This ultimately demonstrates to regulators and consumers that your company’s brand and products are truly safe. Yes, a robust food safety plan may be a necessary evil. Yet, it may just end up saving your consumer, your company’s brand and management from harm. Consumers are intensifying their demand for greater transparency from food processors to ensure the foods they eat are safe and wholesome. Remember social media exists. Recalls exist. Fines exist. Law suits exist. Altogether, brands and even entire companies are destroyed overnight, simply because they didn’t want to do the best in food safety due diligence. Make it grow, make it grow. You will find that detection becomes simpler, faster and safer with a robust food safety plan enhanced by an accurate, fastest “time-to-results” enrichment media combined with a technologically advanced and superior detection system. Your consumers, your brand and your company depend on it!. July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 11
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UK needs inspectors
U food inspectors and vets cover the globe, inspecting the health and hygiene of livestock overseas that is destined for human consumption in the EU. Now, thanks to Brexit, this will be a task that the United Kingdom will have to take over for itself, according to a recent article in the Financial Times. Currently, around 170 EC staff carry out up to 240 inspections
each year in as many as 130 different countries. Unless the UK is able to work out a deal with the European Commission to continue using its team of inspectors, it will have to create its own inspectors. This might be even harder than it sounds. Without liberal immigration rules, the UK may struggle to find enough qualified staff, according to Professor Nigel Gibbens, the UK’s chief veterinary officer.
Almost 160 tons of meals recalled for bad water
orrectional Industries, which supplies the Washington state Department of Corrections and senior citizen nutrition programs, is recalling almost 320,000 pounds of frozen meat and poultry products because they were made with contaminated water. During a routine sampling of the water by the city of Airway Heights, Washington, which supplies the municipal water system, city water was found to be contaminated with Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). While these chemicals are above EPA standards, there are no food safety regulations. The EPA classifies these as emerging contaminants with a limit of 70 parts per trillion – equivalent to 70 drops of dish washing soap in a string of railway tank cars 10 miles long or a bit less than one standard size sheet of paper laid out on 250 square miles. The wells were found to have 1100 PPT. According to experts, the chemicals do not have an acute affect at this level, but the concern is for cumulative exposure where they can cause liver damage, cancer, among other negative health effects. It’s just not Correctional Industries, however, that is being effected by the well water. The public in the
area has been warned not to use the water for cooking or drinking. Over 30 restaurants and other foodservice operators are under orders to not use tap water in the area, although the health district said it will not enforce the recommendations. Instead, the onus is being put on the operators to be “doing what they should be doing.” The contamination is thought to have come from runoff from nearby Fairchild Air Force Base, according to reports in The SpokesmanReview newspaper. The chemicals found in the well water are believed to be from fire-extinguishing foam the Air Force used from 1970 until last year on a fire-training site as well as two locations where aircraft have crashed. Correctional Industries uses prison labor inside 13 Washington state correctional centers to produce a number of different products. At Airway Heights Correction Center, located about 10-miles west of Spokane, prisoners produce around 35,000 cases of food products a month. According to the Seattle Times, CI generates up to $70 million in sales a year, while paying inmates as little as $0.55 an hour. Some local businesses said they cannot compete against such cheap labor.
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Glass and metal great britain: UK retailer Spar has been forced to recall batches of its own-label chicken tikka chunks, after small pieces of glass were discovered in them. The recall applied to 140g packs of these products. No amounts were given as to the size of the recall.
Fallen pride USA: Uncle John’s Pride is recalling 139,909 pounds of ready-toeat smoked meat and poultry sausage products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials. The problem was discovered when a metal magnet was found in the beef trim source product of the processed sausage products.
of the UK is recalling its Island Delight jerk chicken flaky patties and Island Delight lamb short crust patties due to incorrect labelling. The label did not contain the words “use by” with the date code information indicating the date by which the products could be safely consumed. The amount of the recall was not given.
Escaped wings USa: WFSP Foods is recalling 42,147 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken breast products due to undercooking, resulting in the potential survival of bacterial pathogens in the products. The problem was discovered when the firm received multiple customer complaints about raw products.
General Mills to spend $16M on food safety
fter being hit in 2016 by a major flour recall, which in turn affected numerous value-added meat/poultry processing companies, General Mills spent $16 million last year on increasing food safety within the company and will continue on with this drive this year. In its 2017 Global Responsibility Report, the company said eight percent of its essential capital investment last year was directed toward projects related to food safety. General Mills is trying to achieve Global Food Safety Initiative certification for its companyowned facilities by 2020.
Last year, General Mills conducted Auditor Academy training sessions attended by 194 participants from 14 countries, helping to improve the company’s ability to identify and fix issues, as well as prevent food safety problems from occurring. “Safety is a priority focus area for our company leadership and part of our culture,” General Mills said in its recent safety report. “Leading with safety – both the safety of our employees in the workplace and the food they make – is one of the key operating principles that guides our work.”
Armored sausage USa: Armour Eckrich Meats is recalling 90,978 pounds of readyto-eat sausage products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically pieces of metal. The problem was discovered when another company notified Armour Eckrich of metal being found embedded in the sausages.
Toxic strips Canada: Various breaded chicken products are being recalled by Maple Leaf Foods in Canada due to a toxin produced by Staphylococcus bacteria. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency the products include chicken breast strips and two brands of halal chicken burgers. The amount of the recall was not given.
No delight great britain: Cleone Foods
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Don’t fear the can For the last 200+ years, tin cans have changed the way the world eats. The mighty can has fed countless families around the dinner table, given sustenance to Arctic explorers, and has brought to true fruition Napoleon’s quote that an army marches on its stomach. So why do most of us now pass on canned meat? MPJ reports
t’s a funny thing, tinned proteins. Canned tuna and salmon are seen as household staples; Italian hand-packed tuna loins canned in extra virgin olive oil is an expensive treat. In Spain solid tuna comes in cans large enough to almost not fit on kitchen shelves. People invite friends over for lunch or dinner, flip one of these large tins out onto a plate of greens, and people happily pick away at it. Could you see this same thing ever happening with canned meat? No, neither can most. This is too bad because for something that’s been around for over two centuries with very little change, it’s still an amazing way of preserving food. While many canned food manufacturers put best by dates on the bottom of tins (an option, not a requirement), the reality is as long as the can itself appears normal and intact, the contents should be good to eat, according to the US Food Safety and Inspection Service. In 1974 chemists at the US National Food Processors Association tested canned food which came from a river steamboat which had sank on the Missouri River in 1865. Although the canned fruit had lost its fresh smell and appearance, the chemists detected no microbial growth and determined that the foods were as safe to eat as they had been when canned more than 100-years earlier. 14 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
Très bon la canette
n 1795 Napoleon realized that a strong army wins battles, not an army that has to forge the countryside for food; not an army that loses more men to hunger and scurvy than to combat. To ensure that his men had safe rations, the French government under his direction offered a 12,000-franc prize to anyone who could come up with a food preservation method. Nicolas Appert, a Parisian candy maker and distiller who ultimate claimed the prize, spent more 15-years discovering that boiled foods placed in an airtight glass container would not spoil. Using champagne bottles, he put in them partially cooked foods, including meats. He sealed the bottles with cork stoppers, wire, an odd mixture of cheese and sealing wax, and then boiled them for 12 hours to expel the air. He sent 18 different types of preserved food off to the French Navy who reported it a success. Appert was awarded the prize on condition that he made his discovery public and in 1810 he duly published his findings in The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances. The French press reported: “Appert has found a way to fix the seasons.” While the French military – in particular the navy – used his method, it was in England that Appert's idea was fully exploited and www.meatpacking.info
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improved, with Appert dying in poverty. Within a short time of the idea crossing the Channel, British merchant Peter Durand was granted a patent by King George III to preserve food using tinplated cans. Tin was already used as a non-corrosive coating on steel and iron, especially for household utensils, but Durand's patent is the first documented evidence of food being heated and sterilized within a sealed tin container. His method was to place the food in the container, seal it, place in cold water and gradually bring to the boil, open the lid slightly and then seal it again.
The royal can
he first mass production of tin cans of food was in a London factory by Bryan Donkin, using Durand’s method. After conducting a trial with four members of the royal family – including Queen Charlotte, wife and consort of King George III – who tasted and enjoyed his canned beef, he began selling canned meat to the Royal Navy. The Navy at the time was positive that salted beef was the cause of scurvy so they were quick to adopt canned meat. Sailors, used to maggot-infest meat, did not complain. Soon canned foods were going throughout the British Empire, including heavy seven-pounders filled with veal and taken by Sir William Parry to explore the Northwest Passage. During 1851’s Great Exhibition in London – the first international exhibit of manufactured products – canned foods were on display, showing that they had now become in indispensable item for households. However, just a year later came a food scandal that threatened to strike the fledgling industry with a fatal blow. According to the BBC’s ‘The story of how the tin can nearly wasn't’, on January 1852, a group of meat inspectors gathered at Portsmouth and proceeded to open 306 cans of meat destined for the Royal Navy. It was not until they opened the 19th can that they found one fit for human consumption. Instead of preserved beef, they found putrid meat so rotten that the stone floors needed to be coated with chloride of lime to mask the stench, according to an account in the Illustrated London News. Sometimes the smell was so overpowering the inspectors had to stop and leave the room for fresh air before resuming their grim task. They fished out pieces of heart, rotting tongues from dogs or sheep, offal, blood, a whole kidney "perfectly putrid", ligaments and tendons and a mass of pulp. Some organs appeared to be from diseased animals. This scene was repeated across the country, as part of a nationwide inspection ordered by the Admiralty. They found meat at Navy depots to be 16 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
"garbage and putridity in a horrible state". In what seems like a tie-in to the recent European horse meat scandal, the supplier in question was Stephan Goldner, who had won the Admiralty contract in 1845 by undercutting all rivals, thanks to cheap labor working at his meat factory in what is now Romania. That contract grew significantly in 1847 when the Admiralty introduced preserved meat as a general ration one day a week. The following year complaints began to filter in from British seamen around the world that other parts of animals were being found in canned meat. There was a danger that this bad publicity might put people off canned food for good, a threat that still lingered 10 years later. Indeed, the whole Goldner episode was a public relations disaster for canned food, says Sue Shephard, author of Pickled, Potted, and Canned: How the art and science of food preserving changed the world. "In Europe, Britain, Australia and America, people remained nervous of canned food and were reluctant to eat it. Now many also believed that it caused food poisoning." As suspicious as people were of canned meat and what actually went into the can, products such as condensed milk, fruit, vegetables, and fish helped save the reputation of the can. This boom was fueled by farms and processing plants in the USA and South America who could provide people in northern Europe with products such as tropical fruit and peaches for the first time. People living inland could eat sardines, pilchard, and salmon. British colonists living in Africa or Asia could have a taste of home thanks to condensed milk from proper English cows. The tin can was an important part of the shift from agricultural to industrial revolution, says food blogger Sue Davies, allowing food to be harvested in season and eaten out of season. Agriculture had to respond to this. After World War I, US food production increased dramatically through intensified planting and the introduction of fossil-fuelled traction power, chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. This was partly an attempt to meet the widespread civilian adoption of canned food, says Selcuk Balamir, a PhD fellow at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. In a 45-minute documentary entitled The Miracle of the Can, made by the American Canning Company in 1956, the narrator takes the audience through the technological advances of canning, punctuated by pictures of happy children being fed canned food by beaming housewives in sparkling 1950s kitchens. "So the miracle of the can continues, bringing to countless supporting industries added expansion and prosperity, to millions of people more jobs, better security and a better way of life," says the narrator. www.meatpacking.info
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The BBC says that since this postwar heyday, the threats to the supremacy of the tin can have come in many forms. Pet food is available in pouches, soups and drinks in cartons, while big brands like Heinz sell snack-pots and fridge-packs. New kitchen appliances – refrigerators and freezers in the 1960s, microwaves in the 80s – widened food choice and led to a proliferation of foodstuffs on supermarket shelves. Why would anyone want canned peas when freshly frozen peas could be heated in the same time? Still, according to the US Can Manufacturers Institute, 130 billion cans were used in the US last year. While many of these were aluminum for drinks, that’s still a lot of canned food.
a can of worms
ince the first time meat was put into a can, a problem has faced meat which fruit and vegetables don’t experience. You open a can of pears, there is absolutely no doubt what you’re about to eat. The same goes for canned peaches, corn, peas, tuna, smoked oysters, and even beer; what’s on the tin’s label is what’s inside the can. But with meat too frequently what’s on the outside has no relationship to what is inside. Canned meat chili promises “101 chunks of beef”. It does only if anything over the size of a pin head is considered a “chunk”. Potted meat? Most of us would not consider mechanically separated chicken, pork skin, partially defatted cooked pork fatty tissue, partially defatted cooked beef fatty tissue – which is what Libby’s Potted Meat contains in order – as being meat. With fresh or frozen cuts of meat/poultry, there is no question what you’re getting. But the second the meat/poultry has to be processed to get it to fill the can uniformly, you’re relying on the honesty of the manufacturer. And unfortunately, as history as shown, there are some very unscrupulous processors out there, willing to grind up anything, bringing new meaning the expression ‘mystery meat’. That said, as shown in the next two stories, there are companies out there who take pride in what goes in their cans and one which is trying to bring canned meat up to a new, higher standard.
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How Spam got its groove back Spam is a survivor. The Hormel pork shoulder and ham in a can has been mocked and laughed at, been the title of a hit musical – SpamALOT – and shows up on everyone’s email listings as something not good. But as it turns 80 this July, it’s gearing up for the next 80 years. With 8 billion cans sold worldwide and 12.8 cans being eaten every second, all laughs aside, the future is looking good. Editor Velo Mitrovich reports
hen it comes to cool, there are few people on this planet that can claim a higher status than southern Californian surfers. But even among the coolest, there are those who hit ice-cold status. These are the surfers who, when the rest are putting up their boards for winter, go chasing after an endless summer by surfing on Pacific islands such as Kauai, Samoa, and Fiji. And how do they show where they’ve been? It’s not with a tattoo from some famous native artist, no, that’s too much of an in-your-face look-atme statement. No, it’s done by casually putting Spam on their pizza or in their tacos; a taste they developed while in the islands. While you’d think Hormel would be surprised by this, they’re not. After 80-years of production, nothing seems to surprise the company regarding one its mainstay products. “The ability of Hormel’s Spam products to be paired in a variety of ways appeals to many consumers including Millennials,” Brian Lillis, Spam brand manager, tells MPJ. “Combine this with restaurants across the country incorporating Spam into their dishes in recent years and we’re not surprised to see the brand resonating with younger
generations. For San Diego specifically, the influencer of Hawaii has more and more people consuming the product on a regular basis. The changing demographics can be said for much of the west coast.” It has been often said that California is the tail that wags the dog; what is hip and happening in California today will ultimately reach the rest of the States. The changing demographics that Lillis mentions on the Coast also include Los Angeles’ large and growing Korean community. Why does this matter to Spam? As MPJ has seen in South Korea, Spam there is considered a perfect wedding or New Year’s Day present. We’re not talking either about tongue-in-cheek gifts but the real-deal. Major retailers have presentation boxes of Spam for sell as wedding presents which start at around $45 and start climbing up. Commercials, too, on Korean television present Spam in a way it’s never seen in the US, showing it as an up-market, sensual food. In Los Angeles, Chris Oh says he wants to spread the love of Spam. The founder of Seoul Sausage Co, Oh reserves a special place in his heart for Spam, enough so that he’s created a Spam ice cream sandwich, according to LA Weekly. How long will it before this new reverence towards Spam heads eastward towards the rest of the USA?
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n her book, Spam: A Biography, author Carolyn Wyman identifies Hormel's predecessor to Spam as canned pork luncheon meat. Wyman says that discerning deli-case shoppers would order slices of the canned lunchmeat, shaved off by butchers from their six-pound forms. Jay Hormel set out to design a product appropriate for home use by the consumer, which could then be trademarked by the Hormel company and be available in smaller, family-friendly sizes. Spam was launched in 1937 and it was very much a right time/right place product. The USA – along with rest of the world – was still in the grip of the Depression. According to Lillis, on New Year’s Eve Jay Hormel hosted a party and asked his guests to submit their most creative name for his new luncheon meat. An actor from New York named Kenneth Daigneau – who was also the brother of a Hormel Food’s vice president – was the lucky guy to win $100 with his suggestion of Spam. “There’s some speculation on where he came up with the name; some say it was inspired by taking the first two letters of ‘SPice’ and the last two letters of ‘hAM’ and combined the two to call it ‘Spam’. However, this has never been confirmed,” says Lillis. The recipe for Classis Spam has remained the same since its beginning – pork and ham, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrate – with the only change made in 2009 when Hormel started adding potato starch to sop up the gelatin layer that naturally forms when meat cooks inside a can. Different varieties of Spam, such as Teriyaki, Jalapeno, Black Pepper, Hickory Smoked or Chorizo, have other ingredients as well such as chicken, smoke flavoring, turkey, or soy sauce. According to Hormel, to make Classic Spam first the pork and ham are pre-ground. Then the salt, sugar and other ingredients are added and mixed for 20 minutes, to reach the desired temperature. From there, the mixture is moved to the canning line, where it’s filled into the familiar metal cans, 12 ounces at a time. Once filled, cans are conveyed to a closing machine where lids are applied through vacuum-sealing. Next the cans are cooked and cooled for about three hours. All that remains is for the labels to be applied and distribution to the world begun. Despite the convenience of having meat which didn’t need to be kept cool or eaten immediately, American consumers weren’t quite ready for Spam until World War II when all who served in the US military become familiar with Spam – very, very familiar with Spam. According to Hormel, 100 million pounds of Spam were sent abroad to both American and Allied soldiers. Future British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,
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then a teenager working in her parents’ grocery store, called it a “war time delicacy.” Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev wrote in his autobiography: “Without Spam, we wouldn’t have been able to feed our army.” American troops had a love/hate affair with Spam. In a 1945 interview in the New Yorker, Jay Hormel admitted to writer Brendan Gill that he had a vexed relationship with Spam. Meeting over drinks, Gill “got the distinct impression that being responsible for Spam might be too great a burden on any one man.” The Man About Town piece sees Jay Hormel waffling on his brand's association with Spam, spending equal time distancing himself from it ("Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't have…") and defending it ("Damn it, we eat it in our own home"). Jay Hormel did seem to take criticism of Spam personally; he revealed to Gill that he kept a “Scurrilous File” containing all the hate mail sent to him from American GIs, in which "he dumps the letters of abuse that are sent to him by soldiers everywhere in the world. 'If they think Spam is terrible,' Mr. Hormel told us, 'they ought to have eaten the bully beef we had in the last war’.” What is interesting about this love/hate is, besides Spam, canned mutton was also used to feed Allied soldiers. The still on-going downward trend of lamb consumption in the American can be traced to returning GIs refusing to eat lamb/mutton ever again [see last month’s MPJ]. While returning GIs did complain to high heaven about having Spam sometimes for three meals a day/seven days a week,
The Hawaiian obsession When you think of Hawaii visions of coconut palms, pineapple, surfers, and hula dancing comes to mind. But what should be at the top of your list is Spam. There are few places in the world where people each as much Spam as in Hawaii, home of the annual Spam Jam that attracts over 25,000 people a year. How much do they eat? Around 7 million cans a year, a fairly staggering amount considering there are only 1.42 million people living on the nine islands. That’s around five cans a year for every man, woman, and child, but not the record. That goes to the Pacific island of Guam where its 317,000 residents consumer on average 16 cans a year. Now that’s a lot of Spam. According to Hawaiian chef Mark ‘Gooch’ Noguchi,
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Spam is both a blessing and curse to Hawaiian cuisine and to Hawaiians. “It's a blessing because it is an integral part of our culture, and culture is a beautiful thing. The story of how it became as vital as rice and pineapples to us is a colorful one involving World War II, rationing, and resilient Hawaiians who knew how to make that can of pork last forever,” he says. “It's also a curse because, at the end of the day, it is a processed food and it only adds to the traditional, poor diet of a lot of overweight Hawaii residents. And if you're a chef in Hawaii who strives to showcase the island's true edible bounty, you will undoubtedly have a strange relationship with Spam," says Noguchi. Hawaiians use it in everything from eggs and Spam,
tacos, pizza, and burger toppings, to also a lead ingredient in Chinese and Japanese dishes. This includes a sushi-like concoction made with rice and a seaweed wrap known as musubi, a favorite of former Hawaiian resident and president, Barack Obama, who has been known to endorse it. Spam came to Hawaii during WWII, but was it just part of the aloha-spirit with GIs sharing their tins with the locals, or is there more to the story as to why it became a leading protein? According to food historian Rachel Laudan, author of The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii’s Culinary Heritage, Spam’s spread has more to do with the American government restricting Hawaii’s deep-sea fishing operations, owned mainly by the Japanese, during and preceding the war years. With war looming between Japan and the USA, in 1940 the US government restricted JapaneseAmericans and Japanese nationals from being involved in Hawaii’s fishing industry out of
fears they were spying for Japan. After the war began, due to the large number of Japanese and Japanese-Americans living on Hawaii it would be impossible to send them all stateside to be put in concentration camps as were Japanese living in the continental USA. However, they were completely restricted from fishing. Without Spam and other canned meats and sardines, Laudan told National Geographic that the Hawaiian economy would have collapsed. Where ever the US went in the Pacific during the war, Spam went as well to help feed starving populations in places such as Hong Kong and the Philippines where Spam today is almost as big as in Hawaii. This continued during the Korean War where in the South, Spam is made under license by CJ Cheil Jedang and holds a special status. Not surprising, in countries occupied by victorious US troops, such as Germany and Japan, Spam is nowhere as big.
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while they claimed they would never eat it again, they did. After the war Spam became a mainstay in the American diet and in other countries around the world, becoming the most successful canned meat of all time. “We’re very proud of the Spam brand and the love millions of people around the world have for it,” says Lillis. “Introduced in 1937, Spam Classic served the needs of families who were looking to serve nutritious and filling meals, when basic ingredients were scarce or not affordable due to World War II. “Eighty years, and a total of 16 varieties available, later, Spam is enjoyed in 43 countries worldwide. Memories have been built upon favorite Spam recipes shared with family and friends and passed down from generation to generation and we love being a part of something so special.” According to Lillis, Each time a new flavor or variety of Spam is set to be introduced there are different considerations for testing, such as the final distribution location. Some varieties have been made for specific regions and therefore testing can be across many market. Hormel at one point during Spam's evolution 26 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
wisely decided to allow Spam fans to view Spam as they wanted. For those who want to see Spam as a kitsch product, not only is the company fine with it, they have a mail order gift shop with over 360 Spam items, including Spam themed golf bags, jewelry, clothes, hats, skateboards, and a Hello Kitty Musbui Kit which allows you to mold your Spam into Hello Kitty shapes. “Consumer marketing is absolutely an important part- whether keeping in touch with current audiences or reaching new ones. Lots of Spam fans want to show their love of the brand and we’ve created hundreds of products to help them do just that,” says Lillis. A problem Spam, like any canned meat, is one of public perception. What exactly is in that can? “One of the goals for our new ad campaign entitled, “Spam Sizzle, Pork and MMM,” is for the brand to renew its emphasis on the fact that Spam has only six ingredients: pork, salt, water, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrate. The campaign is about full transparency marketing to the younger generations, telling them what’s in it, and doing so in an up-front presentation of our brand,” says Lillis. We can hardly wait for the next 80-years. www.meatpacking.info
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JARVIS Now Has Two Types of Pneumatic Stunners Penetrating and Non-Penetrating
Q& A Pete Dorley
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One shot humane stunning procedure - high reliability Easy to handle and operate - less recoil or kickback - less operator fatigue Renders the stunned animal insensible to pain U.S. Patent No. 6,135,871 German Patent No. DBP603 48 402.6 European Patent No. EP1613164 Jarvis Products Corporation
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Stephen McConnell, Director 16 Ballycraigy Road Antrim, County Antrim BT41 1 PL Northern Ireland World Leader in Meat Processing Equipment Tel: 0044(0)28 9446 3921 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: macmeatprocessingequipment.co.uk UK and Ireland Distributor
eystone Meats of Ohio has a dream: produce canned meat that tastes and looks good. Its all natural pork, beef, turkey, chicken, and ground beef tinned meat come with only two ingredients – meat and salt, with no added water, preservatives. For survivalists and those who like to stock items away in case of natural disasters, Keystone’s canned meats have proved to be a huge hit. Now, can they get the rest of us picking up a can instead of a fresh or frozen pack. MPJ talks to Pete Dorley, president of Keystone Meats of Lima, Ohio. Although people don’t think twice about buying canned tuna, salmon, sardines, and other seafood – with many at a premium price – they do when it comes to canned meat. Why do people “fear the can” when it comes to meat? It is our goal to help shape the canned foods category and continue to educate consumers about the inherent values of the can. Rather than a packaging system for overly processed food, it is a packaging system for more naturally preserved food. Canning our meats has allowed us to forgo the preservatives often used in processing the products of our competitive counterparts. Keystone canned meats contain only two ingredients: meat and sea salt. This concept is often remiss in similarly canned foods – ultimately giving consumers a reason to “fear the can”. In a world of ultraconnectivity, consumers are especially sensitive to the concept of transparency. With heightened awareness of the foods they are feeding themselves and www.meatpacking.info
their families, as well as a curiosity surrounding the production of that food, they will continue to turn away from canned products. Canned foods can no longer stand on the laurels of a “clean label”. While the nutrition label remains a point of differentiation for shoppers who put a high value on transparency, the manufacturing process in its entirety has greater power than ever to impact their perception of a product. Unfortunately, many canned foods are not viewed as “clean” nor transparent. When I was a child my parents went through a very tough financial period that had us utilizing USDA food assistance programs; this included canned surplus pork. While it actually tasted pretty good, I associate canned meat with being poor. Do you think people turn their nose down at canned meat, no matter how good the quality is, due to a similar association? Canned meats have developed a reputation as a substandard product, made with the cheapest cuts and leftover trimmings, packed with preservatives. When consumers shop for meat, they likely won’t head directly to the canned foods aisle. Both the current perception of the can compounded with the current perception of the quality of canned meat has encouraged many to “fear the can”. We pride ourselves on being a premium canned meat company. Rather than use the trimmings from the fresh meats operations, our butchers hand-select lean cuts of meat and cut them into chunks. Those chunks are then hand-packed into cans along with a little sea salt, before the cans are sealed and slow cooked. The final product is not a mystery meat that’s shaped like the can it came out of. It is tender, lean, chunks of slow-cooked beef, pork, chicken or all-white July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 29
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product. By providing a premium item in a category that typically is not considered premium, we are adding something new to the store shelves. All of your canned meat products only contain two ingredients: the meat on the label and salt. Does this require a special processing technique due to the lack of added water? The fact that we don’t add water to our canned products speaks to the quality of the product. In processing, we hand pack each can, rather than relying on the speed of a machine and automation. This has allowed us to maintain an exceptionally high quality product, while also keeping our process slower and smaller scaled. The care we put into our processing techniques is what makes us a craft brand. Could you explain the complete processing line from raw material to finished can? Hand selected meats are trimmed and cut up by butchers. The meat is then cut into smaller chunks with help of a machine. Then hand packed into the cans and salt is added. Each can is then weighed and inspected. It is the sealed and slow cooked. Finally comes the labeling and packaging. What type of canning equipment do you use?
turkey. The can allows each of our products to be packed with no artificial ingredients and no preservatives. With consumers in the USA and Europe buying fewer canned goods, is this an odd time to be promoting canned meat? While consumers may be deterred from canned foods at present, we firmly believe that education is the key. Point of fact, the can doesn’t change its contents any more than a pouch, a carton, or a foam tray does. Our goal in promoting canned meat is sharing with shoppers that its use offers advantages many may not consider. According to the Canned Food Alliance, over 90 percent of American adults are not eating enough nutritionally rich foods. However, with the aid of canned foods, less fat, more protein, fiber and calcium are typically consumed. Research shows many canned foods can be as nutritious, and in some cases, more nutritious than their fresh and frozen counterparts. 30 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
In watching numerous canned meat reviews on YouTube and going through Amazon’s reviews, the only negative comments have to do with limited sales range of your canned meats – everyone loves your products. Is this going to change? We’ve had very organic growth from the advent of Keystone Meats, and we don’t expect that to change. We are, however, working every day to continue to educate today’s consumer. They are more in tune with the industry now than they have ever been. In our public relations and marketing efforts, we are continuously working to advocate for our good, clean product, which is packaged in an unlikely container. It is our belief – and our experience – that once consumers open a can of Keystone Meats and cook with it, their positive experiences as a collective will help to expand our distribution. Already offered nationally online, we encourage shoppers to request Keystone at their local retail stores. Part of our growing presence in the retail market stems from the fact that we don’t offer a “me-too” canned www.meatpacking.info
The most important piece of canning equipment we rely on is not equipment at all, but our skilled butchers. They are trained to know how to handle both the product and our canning tools, so that consumers are delivered an impeccable product every time. Do you stick to one manufacturer of cans? The can manufacturer we use provides us with high quality, robust cans we can rely on. It also provides us with the technical support we need as we continue to evolve, and it is cutting edge in terms of can technology. As well, our current can manufacturer is working with us to develop a process by which our cans are produced without the typical BPA lining. This is an important initiative and commitment to our entire family and staff.
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Would it be difficult to produce kosher or halal canned meat? While producing Kosher or Halal canned meat would increase demand in certain communities, it would also drive the price of our products upwards. However, in remaining a nimble company, we could easily test the production of such canned meats if we were inclined to do so.
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12/06/2017 July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 31
The great British sausage The US might have the best bacon, Germany the frankfurter, and no one can beat Italy’s salami, but when it comes to the humble pork sausage, Britain wears the crown. MPJ reports
n North America a pork link sausage is something that accompanies eggs; it’s just along for the ride. If you started cooking up your Jimmy Dean’s for any meal except for breakfast, you’d get neighbors talking – concerned neighbors – with maybe even a call put in to your pastor. Ah, but in Britain and Ireland, a pork sausage stands proudly on its own. According to the British Sausage Appreciation Society, well over half of all pork sausages are consumed for the evening meal, with teatime, breakfast, and lunch being pretty well evenly divided for the remainder of sausage consumption. The fact is, the ‘banger’ is the single most 32 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
popular choice for dinner for the Brits who last year ate over 175,000 metric tons and spent £717 million (over $1 billion/pre-Brexit). And why not. With more than 500 recipes and flavors for sausages in Britain you’ll never be bored at dinner. If the same old thing for dinner is a real concern of yours by taking into account all the different variations from butchers across the country, you could eat a different British sausage every day for 10 years. Not matter how you fry, bake, grill, or steam them, that’s a lot of sausage. According to psychologists who must have received the best grant of all time, it’s the combination of a hard exterior and soft interior, along with a ‘moreish’ quality – it makes you want to have ‘more’ – and a succulent aftertaste www.meatpacking.info
of the British pork sausage that makes them so good. Sausages also evoke strong emotional ties to childhood, bringing back memories of happy occasions, such as the family around the dinner table eating bangers and mash (mashed potatoes). But, along with the time of day consumed, there is one major difference in the ingredients between the average American sausage and British banger. A typical American link pork sausage is made with pork, water, corn syrup, salt, flavorings, preservatives, and beef collagen casings. A British sausage, on the other hand, is made with pork (like its American cousin, fat content and quality can vary), seasoning, salt, pork casings, and a binder such as rusk. While rusk is often referred to as bread crumbs, the use of bread crumbs was common only up to around 1940 and today’s rusk is made from flour, baking powder, salt, and water. As simple as these ingredients are, British and Irish commercial sausage makers closely guard the recipe that makes up their specific rusk. After being baked once, the rusk is sliced, baked some more, and then ground. There are numerous views regarding the percentage of binder which should be added to British sausage. Sausages made specifically for the dinner meal, such as with potato mash and savory gravy, can have as little as five to 10 percent binder. Breakfast sausages have normally around 30 to 50 percent binder, with around 35 percent seen as a standard of quality. The more meat in a sausage, the harder it is to keep them moist and tender, thus the reason for the gravy with the mash. A 65 to 70 percent meat sausage, on the other hand, has a softer texture and a bit more flavor. You would think though that the use of a filler would be the last thing a good sausage would need and famed British TV chef and Michelin Star restaurant owner Heston Blumenthal thought www.meatpacking.info
Banging bangers While no one is 100 percent certain how the term ‘banger’ ended up referring to a sausage, most believe it happened during the First World War. Due to meat shortages in the UK, sausages went from being pretty much allmeat to being something less, with binders added like cereals or breadcrumbs, which besides adding bulk, also absorbed water, making them even plumper. When cooked on a shovel over open fire in the trenches of northern Europe, the sausages would then pop, hiss, and occasionally bang open. With meat shortages long, long over, why isn’t the cereal taken out? People now prefer the flavor.
the same. In his TV show and book, In Search of Perfection, Blumenthal set out to create the perfect banger. He started with zero filler and 100 percent meat and seasonings. But, according to the chef, while the sausage was good, it didn’t fit into his memory of being 8-years-old and cooking bangers over a campfire. Sausage needs binders, he decided. According to British government standards, for a sausage is to be called ‘pork’, it needs to have at least 42 percent pork meat. However, British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) demand higher standards in order to have its seal on the sausage package. How high are its standards? As of last year only 16 British sausage companies are listed as being compliant. July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 33
BMPA product specifications state that pork sausages shall have a minimum meat content of 52 percent pork, with fat only allowed to make up 30 percent of the meat. Head meat, with the exception of masseters, liver skirts, and mechanically separated meat are not permitted, with jowl meat only allowed to make up 10 percent of the total meat content. No monosodium glutamate is allowed; salt (sodium chloride) is limited to 550mg per 100g raw sausage meat. For those who judge British sausages in competitions, there are some specifics they look for: A good sausage should appear smooth and full – no wrinkles or more obvious splitting; It should be served warm, sizzling on the plate giving off that deliciously distinctive sausage aroma; When you bite into the sausage you want good resistance, it indicates there’s plenty of meat in there; You want to be able to taste the quality pork and the right balance of herbs and seasoning; A good quality sausage should have a nice juiciness and slight stickiness when chewed; and Once swallowed there should be a great balanced aftertaste left on your palette.
raditional sausage recipes are still a closely guarded secret and it is these recipes which give the British such a huge variety of sausages to choose from. Some of the most famous kinds of British sausage are specific to a region and the UK has a number of historic sausage producing regions, such as Cumberland, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and Glamorgan. Perhaps the most famous of British sausages is the Cumberland sausage, which has been a local specialty in the County of Cumberland for more than 500 years. The Cumberland sausage has a distinct taste because of the meat being chopped rather than minced, which gives the
sausage a lovely meaty texture. The Cumberland sausage is such a treasure of the British sausage producing industry that the traditional Cumberland sausage was granted Protected Geographical Indication status in 2011, helping protect its heritage. A list, compiled by Red Tractor, of Great Britain’s major sausages include: Cumberland Sausages: This is considered to be the meatiest British sausage. It is a chunky, course cut sausage spiced with black pepper and made in a continuous spiral. It is traditionally sold by length rather than weight. Looks very impressive when coiled in a spiral and cooked whole. Gloucester: Traditionally made with Gloucester Old Spot hogs (a rare breed) and flavored with sage. Increasingly available from local specialists. Yorkshire: White pepper, mace, nutmeg and cayenne are the predominant flavors in the Yorkshire sausage. Lincolnshire: Old fashioned herby regional sausage traditionally made with pork, bread and sage (although thyme seems to be creeping in). Lorne: Bit of an oddity, this is Scottish square slicing sausage. It is made with beef and pork, has a smooth texture and is probably destined for either the breakfast table or eaten in a sandwich with white sliced bread and brown sauce. Marylebone: A traditional London butchers’ sausage made with mace, ginger and sage. Oxford: A regional sausage made with pork, veal and lemon. Herbs are usually sage, savory and marjoram. Pork & apple (West Country): Pork with apple and often cider or scrumpy, generally makes a moist sausage. Sage is often used; they are available nationally but very popular in the West Country. Traditionally made with Gloucester Old Spot which where reared in orchards and would have eaten the windfall apples. Pork & leek (Welsh): Attractive green flecked sausages, popular in Wales where ginger is sometimes added, pork and chive also works well. Manchester: A pork sausage, flavored with white pepper, mace, nutmeg, ginger, sage and cloves. Suffolk: A course chopped sausage with herbs, similar to Lincolnshire. Newmarket: A pork sausage made to a traditional recipe from the English town of Newmarket, Suffolk. Two varieties of Newmarket Sausage are made branded with the names of two different family butchers. Both are sold widely throughout the United Kingdom and in October 2012 the Newmarket sausage was awarded Protected Geographical Indicator of Origin (PGI) status. Tomato: Pork and tomato, typical 10% tomato gives a distinctive red color, they are popular in the Midlands. Can be combined with basil and sun dried tomatoes for the ‘Mediterranean’ taste.
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34 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
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www.meatpacking.info Booth 1649
Big sausage in little Wales John Langford knows a lot about making sausages; quality, award-winning sausages, beautiful sausages that if you could marry one, you would. With his business partner, Christine Gethin, Langford knows the risks involved and knows how to do it right. But what is surprising is that for as conventional as he appears, he’s anything but. Editor Velo Mitrovich reports from Wales.
he eastern European man goes upstairs at the Welsh Sausage Company and after a couple of wrong doors, finds co-manager John Langford and asks if he’s hiring. “A course,” says Langford, “I’m always looking for good workers, what can you bring to the
plant?” “I’m a forklift driver, I want a job driving a forklift.” “I have a forklift driver; I need people who can work a processing line. Can you do that?” There is some hesitation, in fact, more than some hesitation. He finally answers: “Yes. I could do that.” “Okay, I’ll have you fill out an application. Where are you working now?” The man answers. It’s a local company that Langford is familiar with. “So you took a day off, a holiday?” “No,” the man says with a laugh, “I called in sick.” From the expression on Langford’s face you realize that any chance the man had in being hired just evaporated into thin air with that revelation. Later, Langford tells you why he would never hire him. “We do a lot here, we make 7 million sausages a week, but we have a small staff, you have to be flexible and be willing to jump in and do different jobs. He told me what he was going to do – drive a
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forklift – not asking what I needed,” says Langford. “Second, he didn’t take a day off, he lied and called in sick. Is he going to do the same to me every time he wants to bunk off? If he’s working the production line and a mistake happens, is he going to say something about it immediately so we only lose one pallet of product, or is he going to say nothing and we lose an entire day’s? I can’t take that risk.” The small town of Welshpool is located in the green rolling borderland of Wales and is home to the Welsh Sausage Company. At first and second glance it seems an odd place for a sausage factory, especially one that has won as many awards as it has. It’s in the middle of sheep and cattle country – Welshpool’s Smithfield Livestock Market is the largest one-day sheep market in Europe. Even if you get lost in the countryside and drive up and down farm roads, you won’t see a pig anywhere. Despite the company’s brochure – and Langford’s insistence – that all roads lead to Welshpool, you know from a long four-hour drive from London that this isn’t necessarily so. Still, considering the quality and quantity of the sausages and other products made at the factory – all part of Langford’s and co-manager Christine Gethin’s vision – you find yourself willing to accept Langford’s transport view. He is obviously on to something. There are some people who start their careers www.meatpacking.info
Jennifer Karthika (left), technical manager, and Hayley LewisJones, production manager, in the plant's new test kitchen
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Packing frozen sausages
early in life; some who start even earlier, and then there is John Langford. When he tells you how long he’s been making sausages – and you’re pretty sure of his age – you do the math in your head several times but come up with the same answer: he started at age 10. “I knew I wanted to work as a butcher, I didn’t know at the time I wanted to make sausages,” he says. “When I was 10-years-old our local butcher hired me. The bloke had broken his arm and needed someone to turn the handle of his grinder while he stuffed sausage and I needed money for a push bike.” Besides helping to make sausage and cleaning trays at night, he rode his bicycle around town delivering meat. Although Langford attended school in Wales up until he was 16-years-old, you get the feeling that his real education happened in the butcher’s shop where, as he describes it, he learned “the art of sausage making”. For the next two-years he worked at a series of butcher shops in the UK, learning as much as 38 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
he could from each one. At 18 and armed with a 100-year-old sausage recipe that a butcher had sold him, he opened a butcher’s shop back home in Welshpool. He’s still using the same recipe today which has won him near-countless awards. As he says, it’s the best investment he’s ever made. “Sausage has made a full circle in Britain,” says Langford. “It started off traditional, and then more and more ingredients were added to it, apples and that, and now its back to being a British traditional pork sausage.” By 2002 he had large number of customers – both private and commercial – coming to his shop for sausages. One of these was UK’s Mark & Spencer, a mid-to-upmarket retailer. Although it wanted Langford’s sausage for its sausage and mash, it would be impossible to make the volume M&S wanted from a butcher’s shop. The decision was made to open a factory, but this wasn’t as cutand-dry as it might seem. It’s one thing to make quality sausage, while following a very traditional recipe in a butcher’s shop, it’s another to try to www.meatpacking.info
make the same sausage in a plant. “People told me it couldn’t be done, that what you make by hand at a butcher’s shop could not be duplicated in a factory, but we did it,” says Langford with a real sense of pride in his voice. “We did it.” It was at this point Langford was joined by Christine Gethin who had taken a similar path like him but at a bakery – starting at the bottom and working her way up. A state-of-art factory was built in 2003 at a cost of £1 million, made to Marks & Spencer specifications which Langford’s starting supplying in 2005-06. M&S bought 20 metric tons (MT) a week. McDonald’s then signed a one-year deal for Welsh Sausage to provide them with a deli sausage, which was extended for a second year. “The contract did wonders for our factory and moved us into a different league,” he says. Wetherspoon pub, restaurant, and hotel chain asked for a bespoke sausage which is probably the UK’s best-selling sausage; the chain sells over 800,000 a week of the 65 percent meat sausage. A partial list of other customers (past/present) include: The Royal Navy, Air Force, and Army, Café Rouge, The Orchid Group, Belgo, Holiday Inn, Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts, and InterContinental Hotels Group, along with numerous others. In 2005 Welsh Sausage began supplying schools throughout the UK with sausage and this continues to be a growing market for the company – sausages for schools are required to have less than 10 percent fat and one present salt and not all sausage companies can make this type of sausage while fitting into a school budget and still making a profit. Last year Welsh Sausage started supplying gluten-free products to a number of schools. According to Langford, even though the number of pupils at a school requiring gluten-free products is small, considering the consequences which could occur if the school cafeteria makes a mistake, some schools figure it’s easier and more risk-free to give all students gluten-free. Welsh Sausage is able to sell the schools gluten-free at the same price as regular sausage. For the same reason as schools choosing gluten-free, Langford sees schools going with halal products and he is looking into producing a halal line.
upgrade of equipment
ver the past two years around £3 million has been put into renovating the factory. This involved putting in an extension and other facilities, a new Eurotek spiral freezer which can produce between 3 to 4 MT of sausage an hour, Line Equipment automated packing machines, and a test kitchen which is used also for school tours. www.meatpacking.info
“The bagging machine is amazing,” says Langford. “When their head sales came to see me I thought he was arrogant – but we’ve become friends now. He said if I bought it, I’d never see him again. I thought, ‘yeah, our last one broke down on a weekly basis’. He was right, it never breaks.” Other equipment the factory uses includes an AMB Foodtech ‘Alaska’ mincer; three Handtmann sausage machines, and Reiser meatball and burger machines. Langford says the Reiser and the Handtmann are all good solid machines. “We have a Starflex checker/weigher. It’s a great piece of equipment – nothing gets past its metal detector! They’re not required in the food industry, but detectors bloody well should be if you want to keep safe your company’s reputation.’’ In regards to Wales Sausage Company’s mixer, however, Langford not only won’t let you see it, he won’t even tell you who manufactured it. “Let’s just say it was custom built for us – and that’s all I’ll say.” What is interesting in regards to the equipment Langford and Gethin chose is that despite the increased amount of sausage and other products produced weekly, labor numbers have stayed down. When the plant was first designed in 2003 and opened with a staff of 23, Langford told a local publication that he thought the number of workers would grow to 100 to keep up with anticipated demand. Now, 14-years later and with the high product output, the staff is only 39. This has been a result of using as much automation as possible. There are three shifts at the factory, made up of about 50/50, British/Poles. The first works 0400 to 1400; the second 1400 to 2200; and then the third is when cleaning takes place. This crew comes in at 2200 and works to 0400 when the day begins again; all work a five-day week. Langford estimates that he’s on site for at least 12 hours a day.
put the best in charge
hile Langford comes across as being as traditional as his sausage, you realize he isn’t when it comes to his management team. Sex, age, race, none of this matters; what does it that you take the job as seriously as he does. Jennifer Karthika works as the factory’s technical manager; Hayley LewisJones is the production manager. “Both Jennifer and Hayley are the best. If for example the freezer isn’t at the right temperature, Jennifer doesn’t think twice about it, she shuts downs the production line until it’s fixed. “You have to realize with shift work, this isn’t a popular decision, but at the end of the day she knows we have to get x-amount of correct and safe product out the door for our customers. “Hayley, she’s the same way; I trust them both July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 39
Sausage meat resting between the mixer and stuffer stage Far right: Sausages going flying at the rate of 7 million a week.
completely. If the men don’t like taking orders from someone who is younger than they are and who’s a girl – tough. That’s their problem.” Pork comes only from Red Tractor approved farms. Red Tractor was established in 2000 and has grown to become the UK’s largest farm and food standards scheme, covering all of animal welfare, food safety, traceability, and environmental production. Raw material can range from 100 to 130 MT a week. Casings and rusk come from specific companies which Langford prefers not to mention, keeping the names close to his chest. When the pork comes in, it goes first to a finger search table where four people go through the loose pork feeling for bone, gristle, and any foreign objects. It then goes to the mincer, mixer, sausage filler, spiral freezer, and then packaging. The company has a second production line which is uses for gluten-free or other special sausages such as organic. To ensure that there will be no gluten cross-contamination, when glutenfree is being produced, the other line is shut down. 40 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
If you thought Langford was cagey regarding his mixer, he’s even more tight-lipped regarding the spices used in Welsh Sausage’s products. To make it difficult for anyone to figure out the spices used, ratio, and quantities, Langford buys from around five different spice companies, with each one making only part of a recipe. It’s not until the spices arrive that they’re combined together. The base product from the 100-year-old recipe goes into all of the sausages with other flavors and ingredients added as needed. He will reveal that the secret of a perfect British sausage isn’t thyme or sage, but pepper. But as to what type of pepper – black, white, green, red, whole, ground – good luck getting that out of him. “I’ll tell you this and only this, the pepper has to smack-on. You go with a cheap pepper or an old pepper and you’ll lose your flavor. “You see, making sausages is like making a cake. A cake doesn’t rise if it doesn’t have the right ingredients; a sausage doesn’t taste right if you don’t have the right ingredients too.” www.meatpacking.info
important breakfast sausage
ou would think that if you were operating a hotel chain, especially one in Spain or Greece where British tourists go, you would put the cheapest sausage available out on the breakfast buffet line. The odds are slim that you’ll ever see these people again so you might as well cut every corner that you can when it comes to food, which means giving the guests sausages which are only 30 percent meat. Langford shakes his head. “The chains used to think that way – cheap and cheerful – but no longer. Especially when it comes to breakfast sausages, they want and they’re willing to pay for quality. This means a sausage that’s from 60 to 65 percent meat.” According to Langford, for many holiday makers or hotel guests, the last interaction they will have with the hotel is breakfast on the day they checkout. Give them poor quality sausage, and they’ll www.meatpacking.info
leave with a negative opinion of the hotel or resort. Give them a quality sausage, and they’ll be more likely to book there again. “If the breakfast is rubbish, that’s what their last memory is and are they going to return? No, 80 percent will not go back if the breakfast is bad.” In looking to the future, Langford sees much more movement in the gluten-free market. Based on the work they did making gluten-free sausages for schools, a similar sausage is being made available to pubs. “We did three years of research to get our gluten-free sausage right. We were going to launch at the end of the second year but I’m glad we didn’t, it would not have worked,” he says. Besides gluten-free sausage, the product line also has gluten-free meatballs and burgers, all at the same price of the regular. Welsh Sausage’s organic selection is growing with now organic meatballs, sausages, and burgers. The company’s healthier option sausage with less fat and salt in the UK’s best seller. Since 2006 the company has won literally hundreds of gold, championship, and national championship awards for its products. Recent 2016 awards include: Breakfast Sausage of the Year for the UK; National Gold Award Lincolnshire Sausage; and BPEX Gold Award Pork & Leek Sausage. Langford and Gethin both have marked parking spaces next to the factory’s front door; both park a slight distance away in the company car park. On Langford’s business card it doesn’t say ‘Owner’ or ‘Manager’ or anything like that, it just says under his name ‘Sales Enquires’. There is nothing flash about the man; not in his office or appearance. His one extravagance seems to be a car license plate that spells out in a combination of letters and numbers: SAUSAGE. Langford won’t tell you what the company is worth, but looking at product in/product out and quantity, it’s definitely more than a pretty penny. But oddly enough, in talking with the straightshooter, you get a feeling that he actually does put making sausage ahead of making profits. There are no sales staff at Welsh Sausage; customers come in via word of mouth. In some ways this seems like an odd way of doing business; even at a major food show in London, there’s not a salesperson on the stand, only people handing out sausage samples and letting the pork do the talking. After two-hours the interview and tour are over; he’s a busy man and you have a long drive back home. But as you see the factory receding in your rearview mirror, the small town, and the green Welsh countryside, Langford, his sausage, and his philosophy all makes sense. July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 41
s t unnin g
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Welfare at the end of a bolt Every year around 400 million pigs, sheep, goats, and cattle as well as 4 billion poultry are killed for food consumption in the EU alone. While most consumers care not to think about how the animal protein got on their plates, directives have been made to make the animal’s slaughter as humane as possible. James Chappelow, MPJ’s technical editor, reports
illions of people eat meat and for many, it is the main source of their protein. Indeed, meat eating is embedded as a cultural norm. In the developed world, it is impossible to avoid cooking shows on TV, it is easy to find recipes on the Internet, and bookshops are stuffed with the works of celebrity chefs. Some space is made for vegetarians, but meat is undoubtedly the star of the show. Alongside this our sensibilities have become highly tuned to the treatment of animals. When asked, the vast majority agree that animals should be treated humanely, not least at the point of slaughter. There is widespread sympathy for the work of the many organizations world-wide that focus of the proper treatment of all animals. Within the meat industry, it has long been accepted that animal welfare has a positive impact not only on meat quality, but also on the safety of slaughterhouse operatives. Yet still, the majority remain completely ignorant of what happens in the slaughterhouse. If the chicken is “Free Range” or “Farm Assured” then all is right with the world. If it is thought about at all, then the slaughterhouse itself conjures up 19th century images of animals suffering, a sea of gore and the drunken carelessness of a brutish workforce. Better not to think about it. Baa-baalambs gambol in the fields; roast lamb comes out of the oven. In truth, the modern slaughterhouse is very 42 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
different and improvements are being demanded world-wide. Regulations – with full legal backing – have been put in place and are updated in all advanced economies. The most recent directive reviewing EU regulations highlights the high level of importance that is now given to animal welfare issues at the point of slaughter, although some countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands can put in their own even tougher standards, such as not allowing halal or kosher slaughter. EU regulations followed the adoption by the Commission of the first Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals in 2006. A number of key principles were set out in this legislation such as having faster implementation of changes due to scientific and technical progress. The writers of the act believe slaughterhouse operators should take real ownership of animal welfare with self-checks on stunning procedure and the adoption of standard operating procedures. Education and training should be improved to make animal welfare better understood and integrated in the daily tasks of workers, and there should be animal welfare officers in slaughterhouses. Standards should be established for the construction and equipment of slaughterhouses. Plus, there should be regular inspections and certificate of competences should be required by the slaughterhouse operatives. The issue of stunning was examined in detail by the Commission. This is the point during slaughter that is most problematic and over which most care has to be taken. Based on the expert scientific www.meatpacking.info
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advice and taking note of the technology available, the following recommendations were included in the Directive: proper training for operators stunning animals; constant current equipment for electrical stunning; recording system for gas parameters; limiting the use of non-penetrative captive bolt to young lambs; several technical improvements on the shackle line for poultry; and a centralized system for the scientific assessment and approval of new stunning systems.
view from the field
he manufacturers of stunning equipment have their part to play in the process of ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare. As many of the companies offer world-wide sales, the standards that they set comply to the highest governmental regulations and, in doing so, help spread the best practices around the world. Research and development is at the heart of the work of the leading suppliers of equipment for stunning. Jarvis Products has three new models on the market at present, the USSS-1/2; the AST 106 PAS stunner tester; and a new stunner for poultry. The USSS-1/2 pneumatic stunner for pork and veal has the following features: pneumatically
Below, top: Jarvis USSS-1/2 stunner for pork and veal Below, bottom: Jarvis PAS tester
operated captive bolt stunner which is half the size of the Jarvis USSS-1 stunner; there is no air injection into the animal; USSS-1/2 has duel handles with trigger control making it comfortable to handle and operate; it weighs 7 kg, is solidly constructed, and designed for easy repair and cleaning. Augmenting the USSS-1/2 Stunner is the AST-105 Air Stunner Tester which ensures correct tool calibration bolt velocity after repair and maintenance. According to Jarvis, the AST 106 is a fast and accurate device for measuring bolt speeds on Jarvis' power actuated stunners. It is easy to use and automatically logs test results. A control box screen uses a simple red/green color display to check bolt velocity. The new Power Actuated Poultry Stunner is a .22R (5.6mm) non-penetrating, concussion stunner for poultry. It is suitable for chickens, turkeys, ducks/geese, and it renders poultry insensible to pain without penetrating the skull. In common with most other large stunning equipment manufacturers, Jarvis offers free
servicing and, most importantly in view of regulations to improve slaughterhouses, training in the proper use of their equipment. Accles and Shelvoke (recently acquired by Frontmatic) has, for over 100 years, managed to combine the production of cartridge powered stunning tools with a commitment to animal welfare. This Birmingham (UK) based company is the world's largest supplier of cartridge based stunning tools. Right from the formation of the company, James Accles and George Shelvoke were influenced by ideas of animal welfare, especially as publicized by Christopher Cash. The company have long been ahead of the game in seeing the links – highlighted in the EU Regulations – between less stress to animals, effective stunning, good meat quality, and safety in the slaughterhouse. The company is rightly proud of its high-quality tools. New products are due to be introduced in the near future with the aim that Frontmatic and Accles and Shelvoke will further develop their leading place in the world market for captive bolt equipment. Its leading products are: the Cash Special; Cash Cowpuncher; Cash Magnum, and the Cash small animal tool. In the field of electronic stunning Freund continue to develop efficient and effective products. Their leading products are the Stun-E512 and the Stun-E514. Both of these products are sold with a range of characteristics. Among these they share: seven stun programs preinstalled and individually adjustable for different animal species/sizes and operating modes; programmable, electronic control of all parameters; and programs for head and heart stun selectable. They all offer full LDC display. In addition to technical details, the company works to EU Animal Welfare Standards and is keen to emphasize both higher meat quality and a higher yield due to less blood spots and bone fractures. Both products have ways to record data, which has become of increasing importance. Head-only electrical stunning for poultry has now become a commercial possibility as it is possible to stun between 9,000 and 14,000 chickens per hour. This system has been developed by Dutch Vision Solutions and validated by Above, top: A&S CPK 200 Above, bottom: A&S Cash Special
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Wangeningen University Livestock Research Department, which stated that “Head-Only Electrical Stunning is the best possible means of stunning to date”. The whole process is in line with the EU1099 legislation on stunning. The system uses an exact amount of current which is logged for each bird. The system is very compact, especially when compared with the equivalent CAS systems. The whole unit, with some extra space for in and out feed, will fit into 16 square meters. Dutch Vision Solutions has also invented an ingenious device – the Kill Line Shackle Splitter – that deals with the problem of birds that are not stunned by the legal amount of current because of weight variation. These birds are automatically transferred to a water-bath for immediate stunning. This water-bath also acts as the required backup stunner should there be a problem with the Head-Only Stunner. Using this duel process, the Head Only Stunner has a 99.4% accuracy in applied stuns. The Head- Only Stunner is very slightly more expensive than the water-bath method and significantly cheaper than CAS systems. It can be set up to provide reversible stuns so is open for use in Halal chicken production. Other companies have developed technologies that complement electrical stunning devices. Carne Technologies of New Zealand launched the Stun Monitor and Logger (CTSML) in 2016. As the name suggests, the CTSML records detailed and extensive stun data. From this it is possible to meet compliance and audit requirements, to check operator performance, and it plays a part in stun operator training. Along with helping in identifying faults, the CTSML will help identify causes of poor stunning and provides instant feedback for operators. In line with other developments in stunning technology, the CTSML can play its part in helping to meet the stunning regulations such as those established by the EU. The protection of animals at the time of slaughter or killing is a matter of public concern. The good news is that through regulation and the constant development of new products with animal welfare in mind, the level of suffering is being minimized. The improved methods of stunning are having an impact in the global meat industry. As new products replace the old so the worn-out image of the slaughterhouse stands a better chance of fading away. July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 45
grind in g
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MDM expert does it by the tonne For over 40-years a Dutch company has been quietly producing more separated chicken than anyone else on the planet. MPJ reports
olskamp Meat Industry of the Netherlands tends to do things in a big way. If you were visiting IPPE this year, it would have been impossible to pass the POSS separator stand and miss a custom-built separator which Polskamp ordered. This separator can turn 25 metric tons (MT) of chicken carcasses an hour into mechanically deboned meat (MDM) and is longer than a tank. How POSS got it into the convention center’s C-Hall would have been a challenge and a half, let alone how they were then going to take it apart and ship it across the Atlantic. But when you’re Polskamp and the world’s largest processor of mechanically deboned chicken carcasses, you don’t
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do anything small. The numbers Polskamp bats about are so large that they’re almost impossible to visualize. For example, the company mechanically debones 90 MT of chicken carcasses an hour, producing a staggering 65 MT of ground (mince) chicken or around 143,000 pounds. So, in other words the company produces in an hour the equivalent weight of an adult blue whale of product. With the company bringing in 5.5 million pounds (2.5m kg) of raw material a week, we’re talking about a whole pod of blue whales. Although not well known in North America, the Dutch company has been a fixture in Europe since 1976, when the company was started in Harskamp – about an hour’s drive southeast of Amsterdam. Henk Van de Craats Sr. developed a machine which www.meatpacking.info
separated poultry by-products obtained from poultry slaughterhouses and cutting plants. As a result of strong growth, the company opened a second production facility in Ermelo in 1983. The two sons of Henk Van de Craats Sr. now run Polskamp with Van de Craats Sr. still active within the organization. According to Gerjan Van de Craats, the company obtains raw material (fresh – not frozen) primarily from the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Belgium, and Germany. With the prevalence of pathogens found in chicken processing, buying someone else’s carcasses which have already been through a processing plant seems like a nightmare in the making. However, Van de Craats says this isn’t the case due to safeguards Polskamp has in place. “We produce our products according to strict product specification. Through the continuous use of chemical inspections and laboratory analysis the desired fat, protein, and moisture contents are guaranteed,” he says. “At Polskamp we constantly monitor the microbiological quality of raw materials and products by determining the bacterial count and the number of Enterobacteriaceae [Gram-negative bacteria]. In addition, raw material and products are visually inspected and there is careful monitoring of temperature.” The company has 10 separators, six from POSS and four own-builds, and is currently using eight. All, he says, need constant maintenance on some parts. www.meatpacking.info
All that have seen the operation are surprised at how few employees – 83 – are required to turn out so much product. While this is due to Polskamp using automation as much as possible, there is more to it than that. According to Ken Gulak, president of POSS, what Polskamp does is a very simple thing but it does it very, very well. “Yes, I agree with that,” says Van de Craats. “We take the greatest possible care when purchasing, transporting, processing, and storing our finished product. Hygiene and quality are therefore the key in the Polskamp philosophy. “We also can meet the requirements of our customers easily, switching seamlessly from the very large to the very small. Fat content and other product characteristics, such as protein and calcium, we can provide what our customers want.” Polskamp produces for its customers mechanically deboned chicken meat (MDM), chicken 3MM MDM white, chicken 3MM MDM red, and chicken MDM halal. These differ in fat, protein, and color. The halal MDM comes from halal slaughtered birds. In addition, a chicken skin and chicken oil product is created for sausage producing companies. All finished products are run through a metal detector. Fresh products are available to the domestic market, otherwise all products are frozen. Manufacturers of chicken nuggets, burgers, luncheon meats, sausages, soups, chicken stock, and bouillons use Polskamp products, along with pet food companies, and specialty oils makers. July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 47
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Fido and Kitty don’t shop
But their owners do
The value of the global baby food market is around $53 billion; for pet food, it’s worth $75 billion. MPJ asks: if you’re not already part of this industry, then why not?
very dog owner around the world knows this. If their pooch could go shopping for themselves, they’d be buying dog food called ‘Cat Poop’, ‘Old Dead Squirrel’, or ‘Smelly Trash.’ The family cat would be going for ‘Mouse Head Kibble’ or ‘Lizard Tail Surprise’. But Rover and Tiger can’t push a shopping cart down the pet food aisle; that’s a job for their humans. And humans are consumed by guilt. Guilt that their poor pets are fed the same meal every day. Guilt that their poor pets are left by themselves during the day. Guilt that their poor pets don’t love them. So now, in a case of anthropomorphizing to the extreme, pet owners can buy in supermarkets around the developed-world pet foods that offer flavors such as beef stroganoff, pot roast with vegetables, or fillet mignon – dishes that no doubt the owners don’t make for themselves or their children. In Japan, Unicharm makes Hot Meal Kitchen, a dog food that’s heated first in the microwave. Royal Canin makes breed-specific dry dog foods. These come in a variety ranging from Pugs and Miniature Schnauzers to Labradors and Great Danes. The UK’s Pooch and Mutt makes dog treats that claim to make dogs feel relaxed or good. Cats can be served meals from Purina’s new Fancy Feast line, one of which contains chunks of carrot, tomato, and spinach. Purina chef Amanda Hassner – who previously worked at top-end restaurants including Sans Souci at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel and Il Fornaio in San Francisco— helped the development team decide to include three colors in the new cat pâté, even though cats are partly colorblind. “I want to make sure our pets are getting the full food experience that we humans get,” says Hassner. “My goal is to bridge the gap between human food and pet food.” 48 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
Pet food innovation, however, isn’t just about the meal experience; the pet food industry is pushing the packaging industry forward into ways that human foods have yet to catch up with. Besides the familiar tin can, there are vacuum pouches, vacuum trays, heavy paper bags, boxes, and tubes. Human baby food comes in jars and that’s about it. What does this mean to those in the meat industry? For renders, processors, and package supply companies, there is money to be made. Just like how small jerky and meat snack companies for humans have taken on the big boys and won, the same opportunities are there in pet food. But think quality not quantity.
the quality issue
ccording to Euromonitor, North American pet food volumes fell 0.8 percent last year, but revenue went up by 4 percent. The Wall Street Journal says that this is because the industry is moving over to pet foods that appeal to human. Several years ago Mars Petcare, the world’s largest pet food manufacture, found in a survey that pet owners feel bad about feeding their pets the same food every day and were more likely to buy pet food that reminded them of their own meals. Armed with this information, Mars came out with its Cesar Home Delights line across the USA in 2015. Two-years later the line is seeing $100 million in sales. “The focus is to deliver dishes that literally look and smell like human food, but are nutritionally balanced to be right for a pet,” Chris Mondzelewski, North America head of specialty pet care for Mars, told WSJ. Not only is Cesar producing pet meals such www.meatpacking.info
as the aforementioned beef stroganoff, it is also coming out with limited editions such as BBQ chicken flavor with orzo & green beans in sauce, along with grilled cheeseburger flavor with diced potatoes. In a US study conducted by Open Farm Pet Foods – whose findings would be similar if a likestudy was done in Europe, Japan, or Australia/ New Zealand – 94 percent of American pet owners www.meatpacking.info
indicated that their pet’s nutrition is just as important as their family’s nutrition, while almost half said that they would be eating healthier meals if they ate their pet’s food. Nearly 85 percent of pet owners agreed that they pay as much attention to the ingredients that go into their pet’s food and the ingredients their family eats; 89 percent agreed that it’s important that the ingredients in their pet’s food are ethically July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 49
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top 10 pet food producers
Right: There is a true bond between humans and dogs – and their feed dish. Far-right: Cesar reinvented the industry with gourmet meals Below: Pet sausage pies
Mars Petcare Inc , USA $17.25bn Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas, Cesar, Nutro, Sheba, Dreamies, Banfield Nestle Purina PetCare, USA $12.1bn Purina One, Bonio, ProPlan, Bakers, Winalot, Felix, Gorument, GoCat Big Heart Pet Brands, USA $2.3bn Meow Mix, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Milk-Bone, 9Lives, Natural Balance, Gravy Train Hill’s Pet Nutrition, USA $2.26bn Hill’s Prescription Diet, Science Plan, VetEssentials, Ideal Balance Blue Buffalo, USA $11.5bn Blue Life Protection, Blue Freedom, Blue Basics, Blue Wilderness, Blue for Cats sourced; and nine out of 10 Americans believe it’s important that the pet food they purchase provides transparency of ingredients.
looking good in 2017
ccording to Innova Market Insights, for the rest of this year the trends in the pet food industry are: clean label, healthy, and premium. “When Americans feed their pets, only the best will do. US companion animals dine on some of the best prepared pet foods on the market, and the US pet-food market is also one of the most active in the world,” says Innova. “One-third of all global pet foods launched between September 2015–2016 were US launches.”
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How does the US pet-food market compare to the global pet-food market? For one thing, the number of dog-food launches is higher in the United States. In the USA, nearly 66 percent of the total pet foods launched between September 2015–2016 were dog-food launches, compared to globally where dog foods represented only 57 percent of pet-food launches. Cat-food launches, however, are higher globally (at just under 38 percent of total launches) compared to the United States (just under 29 percent). Aside from dogs and cats, the rest of the pet-food products launched in September 2015–2016 were for a variety of different wild animals and pets: birds, fish, rabbits, guinea pigs, as well as more exotic animals such as ferrets and chinchillas and a growing range of reptiles. www.meatpacking.info
ifferences between human foods and pet foods are shrinking rapidly. Pet foods are now being formulated to address concerns near and dear to humans, including organic and non-GMO ingredients, “free from” options, and low-carb recipes. As in the human-food industry, interest in clean labeling continues to grow in pet food. In the United States, nearly 53 percent of launches used natural and/or “no additives/preservatives” claims, driving forward interest in natural and organic formulations. More than 80 percent of global pet-food launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in September 2015–2016 were marketed on a health platform of some kind. In the United States, health claims are even more prolific, on up to 90 percent of launches. Many products carry multiple health claims. Vitamin and mineral-related claims are the most www.meatpacking.info
Spectrum Brands/United Pet Gp, USA $8bn Marineland, Instant Ocean, Dingo, Kookamungal, Excel, Wild Harvest Unicharm Corp, Japan $7.3bn Hot Meal Kitchen, Neko-Genki Silver Spoon, Aiken Genki Dry Food, Hartz Mountain Laroy Group, Belgium $7.2bn Iams, Euk, Dermatosis fp, Duvo, CeDe, Prima, JBL, Aquatic Nature, Tetra Deuerer, Germany $7.2bn Miau, Katze, Wau, Hund, manufacturer of custom pet foods for ‘own-brand’ Heristo AG, Germany $7bn Saturn Petcare, Animonda
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popular of active health claims for pet food (used on over 23 percent of global launches). The next most popular claims are digestive or gut-health claims, used on 22 percent of global launches and addressing issues such as sensitive stomachs in dogs, along with furball/hairball problems in cats. Probiotic and prebiotic ingredients are popularly marketed for these conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids are also popular in the pet-food market, included in just over 15 percent of global launches. Skin health is also a popular market, with over 14 percent of global introductions featuring claims related to skin health. Allergy-related claims are also very popular. There has been a strong rise in gluten-free and grain-free formulations for both dogs and cats. More than one-fifth of global launches were gluten-free, and nearly a quarter of dog-food launches alone were gluten-free. There is also continued interest in protein content just as there is in the human food and drinks industry. Just over 30 percent of pet-food launches between September 2015–2016 featured “high in” or “source of” protein claims, up from just 20 percent a year previously. In the pet-food market, there has also been ongoing interest in alternative and more exotic protein sources, such as game meat, bison, and seafood.
onsumers are increasingly indulging their pets with premium and super-premium foods, as well as increasingly sophisticated snacks and treats. Many of these products are positioned to be clean label, as well as grain-free and non-GMO. Premium pet products are especially popular in the United States. Nearly 14 percent of US pet-food launches in September 2015–2016 were positioned 52 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
as indulgent or premium. Premium labeling is especially popular in the cat-food market (nearly 15 percent of launches). In the US, there has been strong interest in super-premium, single-serve formulations. Recent examples include Mars’s Sheba Perfect Portions Pate and Nestlé Merrick’s Purrfect Bistro Gourmet Shreds (gourmet-style recipes such as Oven Roasted Chicken, Braised Beef, and Ocean Whitefish & Tuna). Broths and casseroles, such as Nestlé’s Purina Fancy Feast Broths, are becoming more common in the super-premium market as well. Snacks, especially snacks for dogs, are not only becoming premium but also incorporating ontrend ingredients from the human-food market. Turbopop K9 Superfood Snacks, for example, are marketed as superfoods for dogs in flavors such as Pumpkin & Grilled Lamb Crunchy Bites, Roast Beef & Blueberry Crunchy Bites, and Roast Duck & Kale Crunchy Bites. Despite being relatively mature, Innova says that the US pet-food market is bustling with newproduct activity. Pet-food trends will continue to align with those in the human-food industry, and pet-food marketers will continue adding value to their products by increasingly targeting specific sub-groups of pets – including age, breed/ type, and/or need state—and offering healthy, convenient, high-quality meals, snacks, and treats.
n the surface, it seems impossible for anyone new to get into the pet food industry. Just Mars and Nestlé’s alone dominate 48 percent of the global pet food market. That said, Millennials are one of the driving forces behind the quality pet food market, due in part to so many deferring childrearing. According to the WSJ, as people seek to connect with their pets, revenue from treats has risen. High-price pet foods labeled all-natural and grainfree—and ones that incorporate ingredients such as blueberries and sweet potatoes—are also growing faster than more mainstream kibble because people think they are healthier. Indeed, dried bagged dog food shows one of the slowest growths as compared to wet or pet snacks. Millennials tend to be suspicious of big pet food companies and are more willing to buy from smaller – but more expensive – pet food companies which are seen as being more more transparent. This same example can be seen in the craft beer industry – now worth billions – and the meat snack industry. An advantage, too, in going after the Millennial market is that this group is much more likely to buy products online. This eliminates the need to try to break into supermarkets already crowded pet food shelves and bins. www.meatpacking.info
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USA crumbling infrastructure to cost meat industry jobs
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FortyYears of Epic
new report, Failure to Act, from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) states that the cost of doing business will continue to rise in the USA if nothing is done to repair the nation’s infrastructure. According to the report, the US economy is expected to lose just under $4 trillion in GDP between 2916 and 2025 if investment gaps are not addressed. This could rise to $14 trillion by 2040 in the USA’s aging roads, railways, and bridges are
New alliances spreading concern Tel: +44 (0) 121 313 3564 I Fax: +44 (0) 121 313 0282 Email: email@example.com Web: www.acclesandshelvoke.co.uk www.accles-shelvoke.com Accles & Shelvoke Ltd, Unit 5A, Maybrook Road, Maybrook Business Park, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B76 1AL, UK
he shipping industry’s new alliances [see May/June 2017 MPJ] are worrying US farmers who say
left to decay even further. “The US economy relies on low transportation costs and reliable delivery of clean water and electricity to businesses…to offset higher wage levels and costs,” says the report. “Failure to Act shows that businesses costs and, therefore, prices will increase if surface transportation systems worsen, ports, airports, and inland waterways become outdated or congested, and if water, wastewater, and electricity infrastructure systems deteriorate or fail to keep
up with changing demand.” ASCE says that between 2016 and 2025 each American household will lose $3,400 every year due to infrastructure deficiencies. President Trump said he wanted his White House team to develop a strategy for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. The plan would streamline local permitting and planning, favor the renovation of existing roads, and prioritize new projects that can start easily.
the deals being cut will leave them with fewer choices, longer routes, and higher prices to get goods to international markets. According to Michael Pollock of the WSJ, the farmers’ concerns are less about overall capacity than the logistical
challenges and economic mismatches of dealing with bigger vessels which go to fewer ports, driving up rail and truck costs. The transport companies say farmers have little to worry about except paying less costs for shipping.
* Patent Pending © 2016 Rome
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First ship to transport 21 thousand containers
ess than two months after the MOL Triumph earned the title of the world’s largest containership by carrying capacity by being the first to cross the 20,000 TEU mark – followed a month later by 20,568 TEU Madrid Maersk – a new Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV) is boasting the ability to transport more than 21,000 twenty-foot containers, reports gCaptain. In May, Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) christened the OOCL Hong Kong during a ceremony at Samsung Heavy Industries in Geoje,
South Korea. With a carrying capacity of 21,413 TEU, OOCL Hong Kong shatters the record of the world’s largest ship by TEU capacity. “This is a very exciting time for all of us because today marks the first time that OOCL is receiving new buildings in the 21 thousand TEU size,” said C.C. Tung, Chairman of Orient Overseas (International) Limited, during the christening ceremony. “In fact, the OOCL Hong Kong will be a titan among containerships at sea, with a carrying capacity at 21,413 TEU.” The OOCL Hong Kong measures 399.87 meters in length and 58.8
meters in breadth, ranking it among the largest ULCVs in operation today by dimensions. The vessel is the first of six identical ships ordered by OOCL at SHI in April 2015 for a total cost of US$950 million. OOCL Hong Kong will be serving the Asia-Europe trade lane, going primarily from China to the UK and Germany. Despite problems in the industry with over-supply of vessels and the bankruptcy of Korean Hanjin, the big players are on a building spree. The end result should be even cheaper transport costs for the international meat industry.
Fully automated ships make waves
Norwegian fertilizer transport ship that works without a crew could be the start of a new phase in marine shipping. The Yara Birkeland will transport fertilizer from Yara’s factory to ports about 16 miles away, eliminating 40,000 shipments a year carried out by trucks. According to Bloomberg, the short route will give ship owners – along with governments, regulators, and maritime groups – the first chance to see a sailorless ship in operation. The US Coast Guard estimates that human error accounts for 96 percent of all marine casualties. In addition, crews cost nearly 45 percent of a ship’s costs. This not only includes salaries, but quarters, airconditioning, the bridge, and other spaces which could be used for cargo. Add to this the fact that the industry is facing a chronic shortage of skilled workers who want to go to sea and you can see why the push
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56 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
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hinese President Xi Jinping conjured up images of caravans and treasure ships. Orange banners promised “common prosperity” and “mutual benefit” on Beijing streets lined with red roses. Even the name signaled friendship — the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (the acronym ‘BARF’ was considered but rejected). But, according to the LA Times, the two-day infrastructure summit that drew dozens of global leaders here carried an even stronger undercurrent: China is presenting the world with an alternative economic order. Join, or miss out.
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is on to create a full-autonomous operation. According to the company, the ship will be five percent lighter and burn up to 15 percent less fuel than
“What we hope to create is a big family of harmonious coexistence,” Xi said at the opening of the event, which focused on resurrecting ancient Silk Road trade routes. The Belt and Road Initiative aims to build ports, railways and pipelines that connect a sprawling sea and land network from Asia to Europe. This multitrillion-dollar plan spans more than 60 countries and 30% of the world’s GDP. Already a train journey has travelled from China to London carrying goods. Although it is more expensive than by container vessel, it is weeks faster. For European pork producers and others who already sell to China, this will open-up other ways to get their product to the
comparable vessels with human crew. Manned voyages will begin next year with a push by 2020 for the ship to sail on its own.
growing Chinese market. The Chinese president tied his plan to the past, but it underscored a broad new vision for the world — one that gravitates more toward China’s orbit than the West’s. According to the LA Times, his message comes as the United States shifts inward under President Trump and Europe abandons many of the globalization ideals that once underpinned it. Xi pledged more than $100 billion in financing to help develop the project across three continents. He also vowed to tackle poverty in recipient countries — which must be a first for China. The question remains, however, can he deliever on his $100 billion promise?
July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 57
we at her
we at her
Less grains Dry, hot weather this spring accelerated winter grains toward maturity in Morocco, where crop yield prospects have declined to a lock of consistent rainfall since late February. Warmer and drier than normal weather also hastened wheat and barley through reproduction in Algeria and Tunisia where yields have likewise slipped.
Like it never left Less than a year after one of the strongest El Nino’s on record, forecasters see an increasing possibility that another will begin this year. There is no word yet on how strong a new El Nino might be, but even a mild one could affect weather patterns around the world. This could include wetter conditions in the US southern states and California; a drier Midwest; and drought conditions in parts of Africa, Asia, and South America. An El Nino occurs when warm water in the equatorial Pacific shifts, creating an immense warm zone in the central and eastern Pacific. They’re normally separated by around four years. The last one showed that normal predictions for El Nino weather do not always hold true.
Lost wheat crop Late spring blizzard conditions and heavy snow swept western Kansas, in May, including 14 to 20 inches in Colby in the northwestern quadrant of the No. 1 winter wheat state in the nation, said the Weather Channel. “We lost the western Kansas wheat crop this weekend. Just terrible,” tweeted Justin Gilpin, CEO of the Kansas Wheat Commission. The snow and freezing weather struck a winter wheat crop that was developing faster than usual, thanks to a mild winter. As a result, the crop was more vulnerable to spring snowfalls and frost.
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Big wet A severe weather event has struck Australia’s east coast bringing with it a month’s worth of rain in just a few days. The wet weather stretched from Queensland to Tasmania, bringing unusual May rain to inland parts of New South Wales and Queensland. After being pummeled by Cyclone Debbie, the rain is the last thing Queensland agriculture community needs.
Second crop corn Late-season rainfall sustained favorable yield prospects for Brazil’s second-crop corn. In Argentina, April rainfall maintained adequate to locally excessive levels of moisture for maturing corn and soybeans. In May, however, warm dry conditions favored the harvesting of soybeans and corn in central Argentina. With a glut of corn remaining in the USA and more on the way, feed prices should drop. www.meatpacking.info
Harvest completed Most of India was dry during mid-spring, with brief periods of showers providing limited relief from the sweltering seasonal heat. Wheat harvesting was completed in northern India as growers began planting rice in Punjab and Haryana. Meanwhile, wheat harvesting was completed in neighboring Pakistan as well.
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Umani Burger to sell Impossible Burgers S outhern California’s Umami Burger likes to do things different. Its Manly Burger comes with beer-cheddar cheese, bacon lardons, smoked-salt onion rings, and Umami ketchup – and that’s its most traditional burger. It’s now taken even a bolder move and that selling the Impossible Burger, the cutting-edge patty that bleeds red, smells and tastes like a burger – and is made entirely of plants. The patties are supplied by Impossible Foods, a Silicon Valley start-up that has raised $182 million in venture funding and counts Bill Gates as one of its earliest investors. “What amazed me was how it browned and caramelized,” Gregg Frazer, chief operating officer for Umami Burger, said of the first time he seared the patties on a griddle. “It performed like real beef.” The chain’s Impossible Burger burger consists of two patties and two slices of American cheese on a Portuguese bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and caramelized on-
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Domino’s: ‘farmers know best’
hile it seems like every day another food chain commits to sourcing animals/animal products that only come from animals raised without antibiotics, cage free eggs, crate-free pork, etc, Domino’s pizza chain is marching to its own drummer. Speaking at the Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit in Kansas City, Domino’s Tim McIntyre, executive vice president of commu-
ions. The patties are vegan, but the addition of cheese means the burger isn’t. According to the LA Times, for Impossible Foods the goal isn’t to simply satisfy vegans and vegetarians with a tasty new option. Rather, the company wants meat eaters to embrace the ersatz hamburger in the hopes it can lead to a reduction in the pollution and natural resources required of raising animals for meat — and at the same time, reach a far bigger market than the 27 million Americans who say they largely shun meat in their diet. “We don’t want vegetarians to be our customers,” said Pat Brown, founder and chief executive of the California-based company. “The only way we can move the needle is by targeting meat-eating consumers.” According to Impossible Burger, its breakthrough is that it mimics the red juices that typically ooze out of a fresh-cooked beef burger. This happens by Impossible Burger using
an organic compound called heme, an iron-rich molecule found abundantly in meat, but also in plants. Brown said that it is heme that gives meat its unmistakable taste and feel; its produced in a lab by mixing genes in soybeans with yeast. To make the Impossible Burger, the heme is added to wheat and potato proteins with coconut oil. The end result is a red protein that sears on a crust and can be cooked from rare to well-done. In trials that MPJ conducted, while the Impossible Burger would never be mistaken for high-end burger, as far as flavor goes it beats out McDonald’s and Burger King. Despite the innovations, imitation meat remains a niche business. In 2016, Americans ate meat substitutes an average of three times, down from five times in 2013, according to research firm NDP Group. By comparison, Americans eat real meat an average of 73 times annually which is projected to be 218 pounds this year.
nication, investor relations, and legislative affairs, said Domino’s has not bent to popular opinion because it trusts that farmers know what they’re doing. “We will never tell a farmer how to farm. We will never tell a rancher how to raise his or her animals,” McIntyre said. “What we believe is they’re the experts. They have the most vested interest in raising their livestock. It’s not just a job, we recognize that. It’s a life and we appreciate that—and we’re not afraid to stand up and say it.” Even though the “extremists”, as McIntyre calls them, have
pushed hard, he says Domino’s will not cave. “Over the years, because we have taken the tact of what I’ll call ‘leaning into the punch’— and we’ve taken the punch and sometimes we punch back— we’ve been lucky enough to see that the extremists will go away when they realize that we are not going to cave,” he said. “The best answer is to be deaf. To not hear them, to not give them a platform. The biggest mistake we make is believing that they are reasonable people ;they’re not. That’s why they’re called extremists.”
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‘Never-fried’ chicken goes mainstream
oster Farms is now the first major US poultry producers to offer a full line of baked, never-fried chicken products nationwide. The com-
pany’s Baked product line features frozen, breaded, Never-Fried, Chicken Breast Nuggets, Chicken Breast Tenders and Chicken Breast Fillets. Foster claims that its new
line has the same great taste and crispy texture of traditional nugget and tender choices, but have half the fat and 25 percent fewer calories than traditional offerings. The new products are available in the frozen chicken section of most major retailers nationwide. Foster Farms Baked products are 100 percent natural with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. They are made with 100 percent white meat Foster Farms chicken, resulting in naturally lean, juicy chicken on the inside with a crisp, flavorful baked exterior. The fully-cooked chicken varieties can be prepared in the oven or microwave with cooking times of around 20 minutes (oven) or less than four minutes (microwave). “We wanted to bring great tasting, baked chicken products to the marketplace that deliver on taste, texture and quality ingredients, without the need for frying,” said Foster Farms Group Vice President of Retail Sales, Dave Hansen. “This Baked line is a real innovation for the category and initial reception by consumers has been outstanding.”
Skinnygirl launches deli meats
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Pick and chew
ethenny Frankel – author, chef and Skinnygirl brand creator – has launched with Smithfield Foods a line of deli meats. The prepackaged lunchmeats use all-natural ingredients. Gluten-free with no preservatives, artificial ingredients, or added nitrates and nitrites, Skinnygirl Market Fresh Deli is endorsed by the American Heart Association for
lower sodium and fat. “Protein is the key to feeling full and satisfied which helps us avoid bad food investments,” says Frankel. The lunchmeats, which come in 7 ounce, easy-open, peel-and-reseal trays, are offered in these flavors: Herb encrusted roast turkey breast; Clover honey smoked turkey breast; Applewood smoked uncured ham; and Cane sugar sweet uncured ham.
Seattle-based startup lets you pick the cow you want to eat, choose the cuts, and then become a “steakholder” in the cow as you wait for the rest of the cow to be bought. Foodies pay anywhere from $12 to $219 depending on the cut, plus a flat shipping rate of $12.99. According to Crowd Cow, there is consumer demand for every part, including the kidneys liver, and tongue. “We don’t sell the hooves,” said Crowd Cow co-founder Joe Heitzeberg,” but I’ve been asked for hooves.” Crowd Cow has raised $2 million in venture capital and the founders say they have generated more than $1 million in sales in less than two years by selling over 300 cows. Currently, they are in about 20 states west of the Mississippi, but plan to sell nationwide later this year. Founded in 2015, the startup works with a dozen independent ranchers to help sell their cattle.
Consumers pay more for taste, not welfare
new study from Australia has found that consumers are willing to pay more for freerange eggs because they believe they taste better, not for animal welfare reasons, reports ABC. For those who spend money on marketing and advertising ‘ethical eggs’, this study shows they just might have been barking up the wrong tree. The Adelaide University study found shoppers bought the ethical eggs because they believed they were naturally better; the chicken's welfare was not a top priority. Lead author Dr Heather Bray, from the university's school of humanities, said the results which had
been published in the international journal Anthrozoos, were surprising. "When we asked them why, a lot said because they taste better, had a better color, or 'I thought they were healthier or more nutritious or just naturally better'," Dr Bray said. "The kind of answers we expected were 'oh I don't like this kind of production system so I'm trying to make things change' or 'I really worry about the welfare of the hens'. "But it seemed to be that there was also this personal benefit from buying products with these welfare claims and that was really interesting." Researchers had thought the chicken's welfare would be the first
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reason many people would buy freerange eggs, which come at premium price. But Dr Bray said the research showed consumers thought about animal welfare in a much broader context. "Consumers are being encouraged to think about other people and other things and animals and the environment when they're making choices," she said. "A big part of consumer behavior and certainly the things that marketing and advertising are very much encouraging us to think about ourselves, so it's this interesting playoff between personal benefit and the other that's a real challenge for ethical consumption." www.meatpacking.info
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MEAT TALK July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 63
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product launches Easy maintenance grinders
Auto sealing machine
Reducing false rejections
Ulma’s new TSA 875 is an automatic tray sealing machine that the company says is ideal for all kinds of preformed trays. With its high-speed MAP packing of meat and poultry products, it is built to meet the most demanding requirements of the market. The TSA 875 can be integrated into process automation and combines high production speeds with high performance levels. Ulma’s range of TFS Thermoformers use specially designed top films for enhancing the product’s appearance, allowing for moisture retention and extending shelf life.
False rejections, which occur when product is identified as containing a contaminant, are common on processing lines handling ‘wet’ items. While this includes wet or moist meat products, it also refers to any food containing high levels of salt, such as processed or cured products, which can mimic the signal picked up from metal. This makes real detections difficult. Fortress Technology’s Interceptor metal detector, applies both high and low frequency ranges to isolate the product signal, more readily identifies any contaminant signature, reducing false rejections considerably.
Turn problems into profits
PSS SVIDÍK of Slovakia has a wide range of grinders, which has been split into two areas. This includes a range of high volume and a range of low volume machines each with its own unique specifications. All its grinders have been updated with a height priority focus on production, hygiene and maintenance, says the company. Ninety percent of production output, produced by a staff of 220, is exported to countries in West and East Europe, Australia, East Africa as well as Central and North America.
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Sealpac’s A6 traysealer utilizes the company’s quick exchange system that allows for different tray heights or materials (e.g. plastics, aluminum, airPET Touch) within minutes. Centrally adjustable tray guidance assists in achieving error-free changeovers. The company’s latest generation of traysealers is standard supplied with ergonomic tip-up protection covers, which not only save space, but also provide easy access in case of maintenance or cleaning. Other features include an optimal film tension for improved pack appearance and equal sealing temperature to achieve an excellent peel of the top film.
Anritsu’s ultra-sensitive XR75 X-ray inspection system can identify product shape defects and packaging integrity, while reducing the lifetime cost of ownership by over 20 percent compared to other systems, thanks to Anritsu’s Advanced Long Life technology which incorporates low power design and longer equipment life. The XR75 provides the best contamination detection levels in the industry, claims the company, is easy to use and is also easy to clean. X-ray inspection systems supplied by Anritsu are renowned for satisfying every regulatory safety standard around the world.
64 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
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Knowing when to pick your battles Sometimes the hardest thing to do when wronged is to do nothing, especially by animal right groups. They hit you on the nose; you want to send them flying. But sometimes doing nothing is the best action you can take, writes editor Velo Mitrovich
t was over 20-years ago. I was living in Hong Kong and one Saturday I found myself in deep discussion with a Taoist priest regarding the concept of Wu Wei – as one does. The literal translation of Wu Wei is ‘doing nothing’ and is one of the fundamental beliefs of Taoism. I was having a hard time grasping this; it seemed like the ultimate life cop-out and, having lived in San Francisco for five-years prior, I knew too many people who seemed to have endorsed Wu Wei fully without even knowing it. I gave the priest all the reasons why Wu Wei was dumber than dumb. For example, your house is on fire and you do nothing? I was in the Coast Guard for a zillion-years; we find someone shipwrecked, drowning, and the whole crew decides to do nothing? What a great concept, I sarcastically said. Like all priests, monks, and nuns – no matter what their faith – he said nothing for a while, contemplating my question. Finally, he answered me. “Lao Tzu spoke of the concept of a water drop. A water drop hitting a rock seems to be doing nothing. But drop by drop, year by year, and that water drop doing ‘nothing’ ultimately makes a hole through the rock. “Look at the natural flow of nature. Nothing is in a hurry but all gets done. In your Western mind, you see ‘nothing’ as just that, nothing. But in Taoism ‘nothing’ is something; it just happens at different speeds.” This conversation happened in 1996 and I haven’t thought about it until recently when it all came back to me. What had happened was this… It’s every farm and processing plants’ worse nightmare; who you think is a trusted employee is actually an animal rights activist hell-bent on causing you damage. Your plant might be the best in the country; your employees the finest from the top down; it doesn’t matter. The activist’s agenda has been decided way before they stepped into your plant and they’ll either film it ‘as is’ because the state of your plant is so deplorable you’ve just handed it to them on a silver platter, or they’ll do some creative editing and you’ll look just as bad. 66 | Meat Packing Journal | July~August 2017
A friend’s processing plant – he doesn’t want himself or his company to be mentioned – was targeted in exactly this manner. I’ve toured the plant, I’ve talked to and observed the employees, and I’ve spoken to other people who know the plant well. All of us have the exact same opinion: it’s run first rate with respect not only shown to the animals being slaughtered, but also to the workers as well. I’ve found that there is often a direct correlation between employee welfare and animal welfare at slaughter/processing plants. If employees are treated with respect, they in turn treat animals with respect. And, for that matter, if the plant had anything to hide, would it be open to hundreds of tour groups ranging from school kids to seniors to the media? From what I gathered, the activist was working at the processing plant for around seven months, filming covertly. He started working at the packaging end and slowly changed his job title until he was working in the slaughtering area which is where he got the lion’s share of his film. To put this all into perspective, if the activist worked a 40-hour week for these seven months to get enough material/background material for a four-minute film, then he was on site for around 67,200 minutes. Let’s repeat those figures: 67,200 resulted in four. Obviously, he wasn’t filming during his entire time at the plant; still, it does give an idea of how much selective cutting took place to produce those four short minutes. My friend, who at first was very sceptical of the short film, was able to see some of the raw footage and agreed that it was definitely filmed at his plant. But then, that’s where it all becomes perspective. I’m assuming that most readers of MPJ have either worked at or have seen the inside of a processing plant. No matter how it’s done – mechanically, manually, kosher or halal – killing animals is messy and bloody. Animals, like humans, twitch and contort after death. The movement you see is part of the biochemical process the muscle goes through after death. It’s a natural process – you’ll sometimes see a carcass or body move hours after an animal or person is dead. www.meatpacking.info
If you were observing this film and up until this moment thought hamburgers grew on trees, you would be 100 percent positive that the animals were still alive, dying a horribly painful death. I was angry at the animal rights group. That said, I’ve seen some clips over the years that I’ve been glad were released, one in particular showing living turkeys being strung up and then used as punching bags before being slaughtered. But not at this plant. The group picked the wrong target. Because any employee or visitor at the plant signs a form stating that they will not photograph, film, or record any aspect of the processing plant, I thought great, how could any civil court not find the ex-worker and the animal rights organization guilty of this? But, when I asked if they were going to take legal proceedings, my friend replied no. “All that would do would be to give them publicity which is what they want,” he said. By suing, the end result would be to turn something small into something large. He had a point. During the 1990s this was a concept that McDonald’s did not believe in. If hit, you hit back harder. They probably though Wu Wei was something on a Chinese take-out menu. Outside its UK headquarters in north London in 1990 a small group of protestors from London Greenpeace started to hand out pamphlets which accused McDonald’s of causing food poisoning, not paying overtime to its workers, and having a poor record of recycling. There were two things which defined London Greenpeace; the first was collectively they seemed to all suffer from attention deficit disorder. They were never able to stay focused on a protest for any length of time. The other was, they were broke. During their protest outside of McDonalds, they were only able to afford to print several hundred pamphlets. If McDonald’s had done nothing, the group would have become quickly bored and moved on. However, that was not how McDonald’s decided to handle the problem. Assembling a crack team of legal experts, McDonald’s took them to court in what turned out to be the longest running case in English legal history. Dubbed McLibel by the media, the case against Helen Steel and David Morris was only completely resolved in 2005. At the end, it cost McDonald’s £10,000,000 in legal fees [$18.2 million based on 2005 exchange rate]; the court awarded them £40,000, none of which was ever collected. Worse than the loss of money, McDonald’s suffered from a loss of reputation and over 10-years later is still seen as a bully in the UK. So, what to do? Around 10 years ago at an aquaculture conference in San Antonio, Texas, the keynote speaker was a Texas Ranger who said that the greatest danger facing a country’s food supply wasn’t outside terrorists but home grown; in www.meatpacking.info
MPJ’s 10 prevention suggestions Employees need to feel secure enough in their jobs to correct or report any animal welfare violations they witness and realize the importance of doing so. No matter what the job or pay scale, do a proper background check of a prospective employee. Training needs to be given to all employees on the dangers animal right groups could pose to their employment and plant security. Ban personal mobile phones in all places except for break rooms. Family emergency phone calls should be allowed to go through the plant’s front desk. Assign new employees a mentor. This person will help the new employees fit into the plant, but could also alert staff if something doesn’t seem quite right. Warning flags as to what doesn’t seem quite right include: working below their education or skill level; willing to work for low pay; willing to do jobs or hours nobody else wants; and, volunteering to work shifts when few are around. If an undercover video or company whistle blower release a video which shows in fact unwanted practices, take swift action and fire the employee responsible for the mistreatment. Have a team and SOP in place in anticipation of this. Decide who will be allowed to talk to the media. If a video of your plant is released, don’t bother trying to get an injunction to prevent it from being played. Once it hits social media, it’s gone. The last thing you want is for the video to be caption: ‘The one they don’t want you to see’. Pick you battles well. An activist not only betrays the trust of the company; he/she also betrays the trust of all those around them. Your instinct is to strike back; follow your brain, not your instincts. Remember the drop of water; you’ll win in the end.
particular animal rights organizations who felt that they are above the law due to the nature of their cause. He said the only question is: are you going to spend your efforts on prevention, or on damage control after the fact? July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 67
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July~August 2017 | Meat Packing Journal | 69
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It’s Not Just the Trimmer … Bettcher Industries is a company that’s all about trimming – but we’re really about so much more. Not just top-quality trimmer products for plants of all sizes and species, but also all the accessories – from blades and sharpeners to motors and drives. It’s education as well as products – including customized training to fit your particular needs. And it’s highly knowledgeable Yield Specialists who will answer all of your ROI and performance-related questions. It’s why we’re not just the industry’s trimming pioneer, but also the world leader for more than 70 years. How we can help you today? Contact our Yield Specialists at 440-965-4422 or visit Bettcher.com. Let’s find out together!
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