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The international magazine for the meat and poultry industry


November~December 2015 volume 2 | issue 6 ISSN 2054-4685

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Was the greed worth it?


t’s a story about putting profits before safety, about nine people dying, about a CEO going to prison, and it’s a story that most meat industry publications are choosing to ignore. But we’re not. It might be just about peanuts, but it will prove to be a watershed event. Headquartered in Virginia with processing facilities in three states, Peanut Corporation of America had a respectable sounding name. Its name, however, was where any semblance of respectability ended. For 32-years it cut corners; then its final owner Stewart Parnell went beyond the pale. The company’s salmonella outbreak in 2008-09 triggered one of the largest food recalls in US history and cost Peanut Corp's customers — companies that used its peanut products in everything from snack crackers to pet food — an estimated $143 million. In September, 61-year-old Parnell was sentenced to 28 years in prison. Although nine people died and another 714 people in 46 states were sickened, Parnell and two co-defendants were never charged with any deaths or for making people ill. Instead, they were charged with defrauding corporate customers such as Kellogg's. A federal jury convicted Parnell of knowingly shipping contaminated peanut butter and of faking results of lab tests intended to screen for salmonella. In all he was found guilty of 67 criminal counts. It's the harshest criminal penalty ever for a US producer in a food-borne acon, there is bacon and then illness case and a span his attorneys say might as well be a life sentence. The there is more bacon in this issue. sentence came down after Parnell, in a shaky voice, spoke to those he had While most is centered in the USA harmed. "It's just been a seven-year nightmare for me and my family,'' Parnell – land of the pork belly – there is told a courtroom filled with families of children who survived violent illnesses also an interesting piece about three and parents who died after eating his company's peanut butter. "All I can do brothers outside of London making is come before you and ask for forgiveness from you…I'm truly sorry for what halal beef bacon. It all started with a happened.'' near-death experience.... Ernest Carter, whose grandmother died after eating peanut butter crackers linked to Parnell's plant, called the apology "too little, too late.'' "It should be enough to send a message to the other manufacturers that this is not going to be tolerated anymore and they had better inspect their food,'' said Randy Napier, whose 80-year-old mother was also among the nine who died. US Attorney Michael Moore whose office prosecuted the case, called it "a landmark with implications that will resonate not just in the food industry but in corporate boardrooms across the country.'' Stewart’s brother, food broker Michael Parnell, was also convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison; the plant's quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson, got five years. In pure chutzpah, members of Parnell's family pleaded for leniency. His mother, Zelda Parnell, told the judge both of her sons "have suffered for years.'' "They lost their income, all their material things and worst of all their pride,'' she said, seemingly forgetting that others lost their lives. The prosecution's opening statement contained three words Parnell wrote in a 2007 email to a plant manager about contaminated products: "Just ship it." Several months before the outbreak, when a final lab test found salmonella, Parnell expressed concern in an email to a plant manage that the delay "is costing us huge $$$$$.'' Clifford Tousignant lived through the Korean War, diabetes, and two amputations. But at 78 he succumbed to a peanut butter sandwich. His son, Lou Tousignant, says criminal trials will go a long way toward deterrence. “This might make someone else think twice," says Tousignant. "He played Russian roulette with his products.” Jeff Almer’s mother died just four days before Christmas from eating bad peanut butter. He hopes Parnell never suffers from dementia in old age; he wants him to always remember what his actions did to innocent people. There are more than 171,000 registered food facilities in the USA with the vast majority doing their all to produce a safe product. Still, the FDA estimates that every year, 48 million people – one out of six – suffer from food-borne illnesses. More than 100,000 people are hospitalized and about 3,000 die from infections that are largely preventable. Now for the first time, executives and others involved in allowing tainted food to enter the food chain will be facing potential personal criminal liability. This should be a real wake-up call – but for some it’s come too late. “My mother died a painful death from salmonella, and the look of horror on her face as she died shall always haunt me," says Almer. He has only one question for Parnell: "Was the greed worth it?" Velo Mitrovich @Meat_Packing

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bacon bites USA bacon producers have upped their game making a product that will continue only to grow


festival time From Sydney to Iowa, bacon festivals have become the rage. Great for fans; even better for marketing



worth a fry Three brothers in a warehouse outside of London are producing the best beef bacon around. Good luck finding it


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Big growth in the poultry sector is happening in Saudia Arabia. But working there is not for the faint hearted


72 on the cover We turned to a different feel for this month's cover, showing that bacon in more than just a meat in today's culture.

In the next issue A look at a Canadia turkey farm which is doing it all, from raising to processing the birds. Also, poultry processing equipment, food safety and control, and a country review of Africa and why now is the time to get on the ground floor

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freezing basics MPJ's technology editor James Chappelow expains freezer basics


waste powered An Australian abattoir is generating its own power from waste, while cleaning water, and reducing ordors

Also in this issue 9 - News 16 - Marketing news 30 - Book Review 76 - Product news 78 - Back page interview with Brett Johnson 80 - Directory 81 - Shows & events

November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 9


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Pacific deal passes, now comes hard part T he United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations – not including China – have achieved agreement on the largest regional trade accord in history, a potentially precedent-setting model for global commerce and worker standards that would tie together 40 percent of the world’s economy, from Canada to Chile, to Japan and Australia. This deal has been highly sought after by US agriculture which stands to gain significantly. However, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) still faces months of debate in Congress and will inject a new flash point into both parties’ presidential contests. "An agreement on the TransPacific Partnership negotiations provides a more level playing field in trade for American farmers,” says US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The agreement would eliminate or significantly reduce tariffs on our products and deter non-science based sanitary and phytosanitary barriers that have put American agriculture at a disadvantage in TPP countries in the past. “Despite these past barriers, countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership currently account for up to 42 percent of all US agricultural exports, totaling $633 billion. Thanks to this agreement and its removal of unfair trade barriers, American agricultural exports to the region will expand even further, particularly exports of meat, poultry, dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, oilseeds, cotton and processed products.” While the deal has the backing of the regions major players, small farmers in all 12 countries only have to look at the impact the North American Free Trade Agreement had on small Mexican corn farms which had been kept alive due to previous trade restrictions. Once NAFTA

Above: US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, right, settle in before participating in negotiations regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

was passed, many of these farms drowned under the flood of cheap corn imports from the States. “Our experience with these socalled free trade agreements over the past two decades has taught us that this will cost US jobs and reduce wages,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) in a statement. In a nod to politically powerful Japanese farmers, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he would set up a new headquarters to craft steps to mitigate the impact. The politician, whose ruling bloc faces an election next year’ says: “I am aware many people are deeply concerned.” "Failing to grasp this opportunity would be a mistake: worse than just losing out on potential gains, our producers would fall behind other countries that are negotiating their own preferential arrangements in TPP countries,” says Vilsack. “We are committed to working with Congress within the framework of the recently-passed Trade Promotion Authority to obtain a strong

bipartisan understanding of and support for this historic trade deal that benefits farmers, ranchers, and all those who live, work and raise families in rural communities.” National Chicken Council (NCC) President Mike Brown says: “The TPP represents a significant opportunity to expand U.S. chicken exports and bring increased economic benefits to chicken farmers and companies across the country. "Our major goals in this deal are to get a strong commitment on enforcement, in particular in the area of sanitary and phytosanitary measures.  Second, we hope to see that the long-protected Canadian market is finally opened to free trade for poultry.  "We look forward to reviewing what we hope will be a commercially meaningful and high standard agreement that will open markets and increase U.S. chicken exports.” TPP member countries include: United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 11

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French exports france: Singapore has agreed to beef imports from France in a move to ensure EU producers can meet the growing demand for their products in the Asian markets. French agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll has welcomed the move, and meetings have been held to explore prospects of French beef with other countries such as China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia as well. Le Foll said that there is a growing number of middle class beef consumers in Singapore, making it a lucrative market for French beef producers and exporters

PED from bags usa: The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has released a root cause investigation report that identified reuse of contaminated flexible intermediate bulk containers, also known as tote bags, as the most likely cause for how the swine enteric coronavirus disease (SECD) viruses – including porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus and swine delta coronavirus – entered the United States. The viruses decimated the US pork industry last year.

Feed growth vietnam: Vietnam's animal feed market size is expected to reach US$10.55 billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand View Research Inc. A shift in trend towards consumption of poultry and cattle meat is expected to remain a key driving factor for the Vietnam animal feed market. Historically, domestic consumers depended largely on pork meat to meet nutritional requirements. The advent of increasing per capita disposable income level has transformed this shift in trend, which has propelled animal feed demand in the nation.

Asian giants to increase antibiotics


ndia and China are likely to register a staggering 99 percent growth in antibiotic consumption in livestock systems over the next 15 years, reports Far Eastern Agriculture. The excessive use of antimicrobials in additives could lead to resistance in the livestock. Brazil, Russia, and South Africa will also experience tremendous growth in antibiotic consumptions as farmers intensify their efforts to produce livestock products. A recently released scientific paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) shows that global trends in antimicrobial consumption is expected to rise by 67 per

cent between 2010 and 2030. While researchers acknowledge that antibiotics are necessary in livestock systems to meet the growing demand for meat, milk and eggs, widespread use may contribute to growing microbe resistance. A survey by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) shows that 51 percent of the member countries have banned anti-microbials as growth promoters. Other 19 percent have a partial ban with just 30 percent having no ban. Of these countries, 91 percent have legislation covering veterinary medicine and in most cases laws on importation, distribution, marketing and use.

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test, which developer Yadira Tejeda describes as simple as a pregnancy test, can detect Escherichia coli-O157 contamination of meat products in less than 24 hours. Contamination of meat by E. coli-O157 costs the meat industry millions around the world in product recalls and endangers lives. The specialist in microbiology at the University of Western Ontario says the current process to detect food borne pathogens, such as E. coli-O157, is through cultures which require a minimum of 48 hours to determine positive or negative for the presence of a harmful organism. That time represents a barrier to commercial producers of meat because one third of the shelf life of the products is wasted awaiting results. However, with her process

a quick sampling of the products can be done. This method is similar to a pregnancy test in which a line means negative and two positive. Tejeda, who four years ago received her doctorate in microbiology, is working with a small business and her idea is to implement a validation of this method, in order to see how feasible it is to release. "I work with E. coli-O157 because it has caused so many epidemics and has contaminated both raw and ready-to-cook meals." she says. While she is focusing on E. coli-O157, other colleagues at the university are studying pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, with the idea being to bring to market a wide range of diagnostic methods to identify various microorganisms, benefiting the food industry.

November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 13

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Russian pork russia: During the first eight months of 2015 Russia has increased the volume of pork production in live weight by 8.4%, according to a report from the country’s Agricultural Ministry. During this period the country produced 1.974 million metric tons of pork in live weight which is 153,600 MT more than over the same period last year. The Ministry indicated the rise of prices during the corresponding period of only 1.2%. However, market participants say that the price really jumped by nearly 25% in rouble equivalent, and seriously fell in hard currency due to the devaluation of the Russian rouble.

Finns build finland: Leading Nordic meat company HKScan is pursuing its strategy of profitable growth, deciding that Rauma will be the location of a new HKScan production facility specializing in poultry products. The investment is valued at about 80 million euros, and the new facility is scheduled for completion at around the end of 2017. The project will rank among the most significant production-related investments in HKScan history so far.

Lower prices ahead for beef producers


S beef producers should brace for lower prices in the near term as feedlot marketing of cattle slowed during August through September. Stan Bevers, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist, says feedlot operators paid higher prices for feeders going into the feedlots earlier in the year and, due to falling live cattle prices, are choosing to put more gain on them rather than buying new feeder cattle with negative break-evens. “Cattle are staying longer in the feedlot,” says Bevers. “Typically, they stay 120 days. Now it’s 180 days and in some cases, 250 days. The cost of gain is relatively cheap. Feeder prices were well over $2 back in March, so feedlots are looking to feed them a little longer, get them bigger and avoid taking a $200 a head loss.” On average, slaughter weights have been 1,360 pounds, but Bevers says there are reports of slaughter weights in the 1,700-pound range. “As a result, beef tonnage is going up with these heavier weights,” Bevers said. “We’ve got about two more weeks of these big

cattle. In the long term, we will likely see things ratcheting lower.” The calf market has reacted with lower prices. Bevers said 450-pound calves that were selling for $1,250 earlier this year are now bringing $1,000. Bevers said fed cattle could get back to the $1.45 a pound range, but not eclipse $1.60. “Overall, you should prepare for lower prices,” Bevers says. Boxed beef prices that were $265 in May are now $215 as a result of heavier weight fed cattle hitting the market and increasing tonnage, he said. “It’s not just an increase in the numbers of cattle being slaughtered, but also because of the heavier weights,” he says. Low gasoline prices have helped consumers continue to make beef purchases despite record-high retail prices, he said. Six months ago, ground beef prices were $5.50-$6 a pound. “Energy prices have helped prevent consumers from turning away from beef,” says Bevers. “Cheaper gasoline has really helped with this high-priced beef environment.”

Zimbabwe ups pork vietnam: Pork producer Colcom Holdings Limited has said it will increase pork production by 27 per cent in Q1 2016. Colcom plans to increase its pork production capacity first by expanding its existing facilities and once that is done, by setting up additional facilities. The initial expansion planned for the new unit installed in June will increase its capacity by 600 pigs per month. “Stock feed milling capacities are being reviewed to assess the additional requirements of sustaining a larger herd,” said the statement.

farm animals or crime victims


he US state of Oregon, is again, the first state where prosecutors may count each abused animal as a crime victim. The state did so once before and then took it back, but now it has reinstated the court precedent to let animals count as individuals under state law, reports Food Safety News. In the original case, Judge Jeffrey Wallace had ruled that in a livestock case, an animal is not a victim under Oregon law. That case involved the seizure of 69 horses for neglect in

14 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

Umatilla County in 2010, resulting in 20 counts of second-degree animal neglect being charged. But the case also prompted the Oregon Legislature to change second-degree animal neglect from a misdemeanor to a felony when 11 or more animals are involved. While the current case which went to court involved a woman with 45 cats, some wonder how long it will be until pig or chicken farmers find themselves in court due to animal rights activists?

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Production up, luck down


rgentina’s powerhouse of a broiler industry is projected to reach a new high of 2.1 million metric tons next year, with exports predicted to be 250,00 MT - an increase of 19 percent from 2015 figures, according to the US Department of Agriculture. This production is being fueled by low feed costs, excellent sanitary/ growing conditions, and greater demand from South Africa, the Middle East, and other markets. However, despite the good news, the outlook for the Argentine poultry industry remains challenging. While the industry still benefits from the low feed prices, the world market offers modest relief to the Argentine poultry sector.

Venezuela, historically Argentina’s largest market (over 40 percent of total exports over the years), dramatically lowered its purchases in 2014. Other petroleum producing countries decreased their purchases as a consequence of low global prices for petroleum. Not fazed by Venezuela, Argentine producers were very optimistic that any loses in existing markets would be made up by supplying Russia after the country’s announcement of the ban on food imports from several countries including the United States, Canada, and the European Union. However, higher Argentine shipments to Russia only lasted a few months and ended with the devalua-

tion of the ruble by the end of 2014 ruining that plan. Chile, traditionally one of the best markets for Argentina, has started taking advantage of prices offered by the USA, cutting into Argentina’s market share. Argentina is now seeking to open new markets (or increase volumes to existing markets) such as Mexico, Canada or South Korea. But, high inflation combined with a strong exchange rate has put the sector in a competitive disadvantage, negatively impacting producer’s margins. The upcoming presidential elections contribute to an uncertain economic environment as well. This December a new administration will take office and much of industry expects monetary adjustments to be made.

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Listening to Millennial Consumers


ow do we know that millennial consumers have little understanding of beef nutrition but seem to feel as though beef is good, or even necessary, for their children? That they are interested in health but are not fanatics. That value and convenience are two of the most important attributes they want in beef. That they like to experiment in the kitchen but want more resources to improve their skills. It’s all about market research and it’s absolutely critical to success in selling beef and beef products to today’s consumers, says Diane Henderson of the US Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. With changing demographics, the Board is spending considerable time in targeting Millennial consumers. The entire beef chain – from farm to fork – must understand what consumers want from beef

that would entice them to increase demand for this industry’s end products. “So it makes sense to start by asking them what they want from us, and that’s what why we base all of our checkoff decisions on sound market research,” says Henderson. During the last couple of years, the Checkoff’s market-research efforts have included use of a cost-effective and adaptable tool – a Millennial Listening Panel – to understand its target market of 80 million Millennials. “This monthly panel is made up of Millennial consumers from coast-tocoast, and provides us with insight about a range of checkoff programs, how to improve our understanding about current millennial perceptions, and the potential impact of programs we can have on that. “The upshot is that this ongoing research keeps us up-to-date with

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consumer trends and perceptions. The responses help us identify consumers’ top barriers and motivators for choosing beef, and ultimately, give us a picture of the most compelling opportunities for helping to grow beef demand through investment of our checkoff dollars, so that every checkoff dollar is leveraged to the most effective and efficient degree possible,” says Henderson. The four latest concepts were tested among millennial parents, and the winning concepts will be used to create checkoff content online and social channels (through articles, recipes, etc.). Of these new concepts, ‘hiding veggies’ in an everyday meal captured the most attention from the target group of Millennial parents, intriguing them with its healthiness and the somewhat covert solution it provides them. The Beef Checkoff Program was established in the 1985 Farm Bill.

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Bernard Matthews rebrands


oultry giant Bernard Matthews has announced a £3 million (US$4.7 million) complete rebrand to return it to its roots and make it more relevant for today’s consumers. The new logo and branding has been brought to life through state-of-the-art 360-degree video technology, with a specially created animation of the brand’s home – Witchingham Hall – which has already been viewed by the top grocery retailers via virtual reality, a world-first for the industry. The complete branding change for the UK’s largest poultry brand will be implemented across the entire company, including its website, Facebook page, email marketing and category offering, which includes 100 turkey and chicken SKUs in frozen, fresh breaded, and cooked meats ranges. Rob Burnett, CEO at Bernard Matthews, says: “The response from retailers and consumer focus groups has been overwhelmingly positive. We are delighted with that and proud to be revealing a completely new look that is based on what

makes Bernard Matthews different and great. “The branding is a completely new direction and new chapter in what has been an iconic story. The branding combines the best from the past, with the landmark Witchingham Hall, and a contemporary and fresh design that feels very British. However, it’s not simply about new packaging, this is about integrated sales, marketing, and NPD strategy which helps us resonate with modern families.” Bernard Matthews’ brand re-launch will also include TV sponsorship, PR activity, social media and website redesign. The new packaging will be introduced in three

phases from late 2015 to early 2016. “The brand now has an engaging and simple illustrative style, with a look that reflects our countryside roots in Norfolk and celebrates our award-winning energy credentials,” Burnett said. “We believe that the brand's unique story will be better told by bringing to life the world of Bernard Matthews. Characters from the illustrations will also be brought to life allowing consumers to explore the world further.” An on-pack color categorization system has been integrated in the design to enable easier range navigation between the different products and flavors. Fresh coated products will receive the biggest change, moving from clear plastic into full-color sleeves with a window to see the products. The company, which is based at Great Witchingham in Norfolk, England, was established in the 1950s with the vision to make good quality turkey available and affordable. The brand saw huge success between the 1960s to the 1980s with faced-paced innovation and a large, loyal customer base.

Better burgers drives demand


an Diego-based burger chain Jack in the Box said new “better burger” offerings have driven several consecutive quarters of strong financial results, and it plans to debut more new burgers in 2016. Quality improvements and more flavorful ingredients are key aspects of the menu changes under way, says Leonard Comma, Jack in the Box CEO. “Our research told us that our guests wanted better burgers, fries and beverages. We’ve already introduced several highly successful burgers this year, and you can expect more great products and

substantial improvements across the entire burger menu in 2016,” says Comma said. Premium Buttery Jack burgers introduced in February of this year are performing well, says Comma. The company also recently launched a Black Pepper Cheeseburger and Portobello Mushroom Buttery Jack Burger as limited time offerings. In the third quarter, Jack in the Box reported a 17 percent rise in earnings per share excluding items, led by a 7.3 percent increase in system-wide same-store sales. New products for breakfast and late-night are helping drive the

growth, the company said. Jack in the Box Inc is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box restaurants, one of the nation's largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam.

November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 19

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Processor launches cooking streaming site


Mt. Airy, Georgiabased poultry processor has launched a new mobile website that will stream live cooking demonstrations from top restaurants in the southeast on a weekly basis as part of its offerings to consumers. Springer Mountain Farms said the new mobile site will provide recipes, cooking tips with videos from local chefs as well as shopping

lists for featured dishes, according to a news release. A chef from a top regional restaurant also will provide a cooking demonstration every Tuesday afternoon offering a behind-the-scenes look at how local kitchens prepare for the menu items to be served that evening. An upcoming Twitter component will give viewers the chance to submit questions and qualify to

win a free dinner that night if the chef answers their question during the streaming broadcast. The Peachtree State’s leading poultry producer added that its mobile site also will be able to autodetect smartphone user locations so that consumers can more easily find retailers carrying their poultry products. More information is available at the Springer Mountain Farms website.

Don’t Be Disappointed - ‘Look for the Logos’


ook for the Logos - that’s Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) – Meat Promotion Wales’ advice to shoppers if they don’t want to be disappointed. Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef both have the European Union’s coveted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) mark and both logos share the

distinctive white and red typeface against the grass-green and blue sky background. PGI guarantees that only lamb and beef which has come from livestock born and reared in Wales and slaughtered and processed at an approved abattoir or processor can be called Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef.

'Enjoy, it's from Europe'


new 111 million euro ($122M) program aims to help European food producers find new markets outside of the European Union and promote consumption of agri-foods within the EU. The new promotion policy is set to be launched in 2016 and will support European farmers and food producers by aiming to make more resources available, increase the co-fiancing rate, and cut the red tape for the approval of projects. Under the new program, EU co-financing rates will go up from 50 to 70-80 percent (and up to 85% for Greece and Cyprus) while national co-fiancing programes will disappear – something that the EC believes will create a level playing

field across Member States. The promotion policy will also target a selected list of third countries where there is the highest potential for growth, in particular in sectors experiencing a particularly difficult situation – like dairy and pig meat. "Europe's agri-food produce is second to none in the global market place. The 110 billion euro EU export market creates jobs and growth in rural areas across Europe," said EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan. "To continue this export drive, I am delighted to unveil this new promotion regime, which will see 111 million euros leverage further opportunities for EU-agri produce in new areas."

20 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

Any product containing authentic Welsh Lamb or Welsh Beef will be clearly labelled with the PGI mark and the Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef logos. HCC’s Chairman, Dai Davies, said “We are encouraging everyone who wants a quality, authentic product to look for the logos for PGI and Welsh Lamb."

recall advantage USA: In what must be a first, a company that specializes in vegan products stepped in to “help” people whose breakfast menus were affected by the recall of more than 2 million pounds of Oscar Mayer turkey bacon. Sweet Earth Natural Foods offered to replace the Oscar Mayer product with its Benevolent Bacon – an allnatural, plant-based product – for a limited time, according to a release from the Californiabased company. Sweet Earth said its high-protein product “sizzles like bacon, smells like bacon and delivers a smoky bacon experience with no cholesterol and 75 percent less fat than bacon from pork.”

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They might be our equals - but we’re still going to eat them

Pig primer for pig lovers


e have always had a different relationship with the humble pig. Unlike other farm animals which pull plows, produce eggs, gives milk or grows wool, the pig is a one-trick creature for us – a provider of meat. With its ability to breed like there is no tomorrow, convert pretty much any organic matter into some of the most delicious protein known to mankind, and even provide medical teams with some transplant parts, you’d think the eagle – which provides us with nothing – would be removed from every flag, crest, and coin and a pig put in its place. But throughout a good portion of the world pig flesh is banned by order of God – who knows what pigs once did to him. And even where pork is enjoyed, pigs are considered to be lazy, filthy animals who love to lay in their own filth. Writer and historian Mark Essig, however, reveals in Lesser Beasts that pigs have such a bad reputation for precisely the same reasons they are so valuable as a source of food: they are intelligent, self-sufficient, and omnivorous. Sounds a bit like us humans. Written in a style similar to non-fiction great Mark Kurlanksy, Essig looks at the pig from a historical, religious, paleontology, archeology, sociology, and food studies point of view; which all in all makes for a very enjoyable read. Thrown into this mixture, too, are some facts which MPJ believes is worth the price of the book alone. For example, the wall across Manhattan which gave us Wall Street was built to keep pigs out of the young settlement. As Essig explains it in an interview with MPJ, the history of pigs makes them very different from any other animal on the farm. “Pigs descended from Eurasian wild boar, which live in small groups in the forest. There’s no way hunting boars could have turned into herding them. A different process was at work. When people settled into permanent villages— this happened about 10,000 years ago—they produced food waste such as butchery scraps and spoiled grains. “Wild boar, as omnivores, began lurking around town to scavenge. These villages 22 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

functioned as a new ecological niche for wild boars, and it favored individuals that were bold – not prone to flee at the sight of humans – but not aggressive because humans would kill those that posed a threat. Gradually, the boars most successful in this niche evolved into the domestic pigs. In other words, while people domesticated goats, cows, horses, sheep and dogs, pigs domesticated themselves.” For those in the pork industry, fear not because as much as Essig finds to respect about the pig, Lesser Beasts is not about giving up your Easter ham. If MPJ has any criticism about Essig’s work it is that it’s very much USA-centered and China, the world’s leading pig-eating nation, seems to get barely a nod. Still, if you are looking for the perfect book for a hog-loving friend this coming holiday season, you cannot go wrong with Lesser Beasts. MPJ gives it our full endorsement. “Dogs look up to you; cats look down on you. Give me a pig – he looks you in the eye and treats you like an equal.” Winston Churchill. LESSER BEASTS: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig Written by Mark Essig Basic Books Available worldwide through Amazon and others

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24 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

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This sizzle ain’t going away Call it meat candy, food from gods, or the best thing mankind has ever invented; bacon continues to move into new territory in the USA, helped by manufacturers upping their game. Can the rest of the world be far behind?


he world’s best bread can be found in France; cheddar in England; tomatoes in Sicily, and bacon? Despite what Denmark, the UK, and Germany might think, the world’s best bacon – by far – is being made right now in the USA. Instead of coming from the lean shoulder or loins, US bacon comes from the fatty belly of the pig – which is not actually its stomach but the fat-streaked padding on the side of the animal. Brined, sliced, and hardwood smoked, when fried in a skillet – preferably cast iron for purists – it releases 150 powerful volatile chemical compounds which screams to your body that pure tongue titillation is just a bite away. While there will be more on this later, it’s sufficient to say for now that bacon is the leading food that causes vegetarians to go back to meat. And why not. A study from researchers at ETH Zurich has revealed that niacin could help you live longer. A niacin-rich food menu includes not only bacon, but also sun-dried tomatoes, paprika, and peanuts. The average American eats 18 lb. of bacon a year – that’s around 5.76 billion lb. total of bacon strips – at a value of about $4 billion, with around 45 percent of all Americans eating bacon within a two-week period. In the States you can start your bacon-day with the standard American breakfast of bacon and eggs, and end it at night with a martini made with baconflavored vodka. In between you can have bacon cheeseburgers, bacon in your salad, bacon wrapped around your scallops, bacon donuts,

bacon ice cream, and bacon dipped in chocolate. Want something a bit different; you can sign up for bacon of the month clubs, guaranteeing something tasty every month. And, oddly enough, the most creative of these clubs isn’t in the USA but South Africa. Bacon festivals are the rage in the USA with most sponsored by major players such as Hormel. During last year’s San Diego BaconFest – an annual week-long event – there was an international bacon film festival as well. This year they decided to pass on the films, it seems they got in the way of eating bacon. Not enough for you? If you want to take your bacon love further, there is bacon-flavored toothpaste, bacon clothing, bacon-shaped condoms, bacon deodorant, and even baconflavored sexual lubricant. You don’t want to love bacon in private, US food giant Oscar Mayer has started an actual bacon-lovers matchmaking site called Sizzl On the hit US comedy Parks & Recreation, office director Ron Swanson keeps a slab of bacon in his office desk drawer for emergencies. He also provides members of the public with tips and advice should a potential bacon-pocalypse comes to pass. It is truly a nation gone bacon mad which is great for the industry.

November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 25



very time bacon is put on a fastfood sandwich, it is incremental growth in sales," said Ron Plain, an agricultural economist at the University of Missouri. A knock-on effect can follow. Most people find the taste of bacon on fast-food sandwiches

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to be appealing, and that may influence their purchasing decisions at the grocery stores, Plain said. From 2002 to 2012, the number of restaurant menu items that included bacon grew by about 60 percent to around 3,000 items, according to the National Pork Board. Pork bellies prices have surged 174 percent since hitting a five-year low in April, according to wholesale prices from the US Department of Agriculture. The price reached $1.6968 in August this year, a one- year high. “It’s really demand that’s driving this,” says Ryan Turner, a risk management consultant at FCStone Group in Kansas City, Mo. “People are putting bacon on anything.” Bacon-centric food items are fueling sales at Wendy’s which added bacon fries, and McDonald’s with its sausage and bacon breakfast sandwich. Other culinary wonders include the bacon veggie burger. One reason for this enthusiasm for all things bacon is that, at least until recently, it was relatively cheap and plentiful, according to Brian Grete, editor of the Professional Farmers of America newsletter in Cedar Falls, Iowa. While prices for pork-belly were decreasing earlier this year, prices for beef, a competing protein, reached a record in May. Still, pork has become a boom-and-bust market. Prices surged in 2014 as a virus killed more than 8 million piglets, after which farmers expanded output. This year’s rally isn’t expected to last as summer winds down and pork-belly demand abates, according to Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa. During the outdoors grilling season, Americans tend to eat more bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, and top their burgers with rashers. Bloomberg reports that hogs are once again flooding the market, with pork production rising 15 percent in June from the prior year. Wholesale pork has plunged 29 percent from a year ago. For Oscar Mayer, along with Hormel, and Smithfield, bacon is an important part of their companies’ profits and they see no sign of it slowing down. “As America’s top-selling brand of bacon, the industry is very important to our business. This is why we challenge ourselves to constantly adapt and meet the needs of bacon lovers, from both a product and brand activation perspective” Eric Dahmer, marketing director at Oscar Mayer, tells MPJ. “We haven’t seen evidence yet that the bacon craze is waning. That’s why at Oscar Mayer, we always stay tuned-in to what our fans want, and pride ourselves on bringing smiles to our fans

by way of innovation. The bacon craze may be everywhere, but with Sizzl [bacon dating site], we combined the immense passion for bacon with a tool that consumers can actually use to bring more smiles to their daily lives.” What is helping to bring on these “smiles” is that US bacon manufacturers have considerably upped their game over the last 10 years. While there is still bargain basement bacon out there which will leave a frying filled halfway to the top with grease, for the most part a real sense of pride seems to be coming over the bacon industry. Todays bacon with less salt, less fat, and more flavor is something consumers can serve to their families without guilt. “We truly believe that bacon can bring people together – especially bacon of the highest quality – and this focus on quality has definitely helped fuel the bacon craze,” says Dahmer. “To us, ‘better bacon’ means bacon that is made with no shortcuts, and that’s why we cure and smoke-house our bacon for 12 hours each. Our fans trust the Oscar Mayer brand to be the bacon for bacon lovers, and we think that has helped our bacon fans remain passionate.”

26 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

the dark ages


ut, it wasn’t always this way. Indeed, for many years bacon was seen as the lowest of the low-end products of the US meat industry, ranking only slightly above hot dogs made with questionable cuts of meat. High in fat, salt, and nitrates, it was the bane of every nutritionist who wanted to find that smoking gun behind every disease known to mankind. Forget that the generation who went off to war in 1941 grew up on a breakfast of bacon and eggs; eat that double whammy of fat and cholesterol and you might as well buy your grave plot today. And truth be told, US bacon producers were far from putting their best efforts into making a quality product. Anyone old enough to remember cooking bacon in the 1950s through 70s would recall always saving an empty coffee can to pour the prodigious amount of bacon fat from the pan. No wonder the high fat in bacon was seen as one of the causes that led to President Dwight Eisenhower having heart attack after heart attack (never mind the fact he smoked like a chimney). It could only get worse for bacon and it did. The health food industry, which started as a movement in the late 1960s, was leaped on by major manufacturers in the 1980s, sensing a buck. They started pushing diet soft drinks, skinless chicken breast, turkey bacon, low-fat and no-fat yogurt, and other bland


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November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 27


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and uninspired food like McDonald’s McLean. Turning its back completely on bacon, the US Pork Marketing Board launched its ‘Pork: the other white meat’ campaign, trying to get consumers to think of pigs as a chicken in disguise. With farmers growing hogs which were much leaner and lighter – why grow a pig with a big belly which won’t sell – they might as well grafted wings on to see if pigs could fly. But in a way pigs did start to fly in the 1990s thanks to Hardees. There was nothing unique about putting bacon strips onto a cheeseburger when Hardees ‘came up’ with the idea. In 1963, A&W root beer introduced the Burger Family, which included a Papa Burger, Mama Burger, Teen Burger, and Baby Burger. Leave it to rebellious Teen Burger to have two strips of bacon added on. But, while A&W was the first chain to offer a bacon cheeseburger throughout its system, none of the other fast food chains followed suit. And, truth be told, A&W was never a major chain but more of an afterthought you’d see while driving through small towns. According to Bloomberg's, Larry Cizek, the retired head of food service marketing at the Pork Board, was in Orlando at an industry conference in the early 1990s, having a drink with Bob Autry, then president of Hardee’s. Cizek was complaining about trying to get restaurants interested in bacon, because everyone wanted lean products. “Well,” Cizek recalls Autry saying, “everyone says that you have to have the lean stuff on your menu, but by God, I only sell three, four lean sandwiches a day!” Cizek began telling Autry about the Sisyphean task of trying to move pork bellies, and Autry said, “I’m gonna come up with a sandwich with grease dropping down their chin and we’ll see what they say!” 28 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

Hardees came out with the Frisco Burger in 1992, a line of sandwiches which featured bacon. While it was extremely successful, other chains didn’t pick up on the idea immediately except for special one-offs. The problem was that while Hardees was willing to cook bacon fresh at each of its chains, the big players such as Burger King and McDonald’s balk at the idea of having a massive bacon grease mess to clean up every shift. While the American Pork Board, bacon producers such as Swift and Hormel, and agriculture universities worked on coming up with a bacon solution for food chains which required a precooked bacon slice, another revolution was taking place. While the Atkins diet had been around since the 1970s, espousing a diet of high protein and fat, it seemed to have faded away until 1998 with diet creator Robert Atkins founded Atkins Nutritionals to promote and market his diet. The Atkins diet came back with a vengeance generating profits of over $100 million. And part of this diet – bacon. Not only could people indulge in this most delicious of foods; they could as part of a diet. As processing equipment caught up with demand from fast food chains, the fortunes of pork belly started to improve. When McDonald’s does anything, it does it big. When it started its Egg McMuffin, it overnight became the world’s largest buyer of eggs. Potatoes? World’s largest buyer. And the same for chicken, beef, and pork. When a behemoth such as this and Burger King starts adding just two slices of bacon onto a burger, big things are going to happen. Pork bellies, long dormant, began moving up in price, from under 30¢ per pound in 1989, to almost a dollar in 2006. Sensing this momentum, the National Pork Board began using the catchphrase, “Bacon Makes It Better.” While at first this was mostly the fast food restaurants fueling the fire, regular restaurants started pushing bacon-themed meals. Bacon became not only good; it became fun. Consumers who had never quite given up on bacon were no longer having to hide their purchases in brown paper bags but could trade recipes and spend hours getting comfort from watching YouTube videos of nothing but bacon frying in a pan. While some doomsayers say that the bacon boom has lost is sizzle, far from it according to what Hormel and Oscar Mayer’s tell MPJ. Both companies are introducing more flavors, using different hardwoods for smoking, and coming up with bacon products that can take on the world. Truly, we are all living in the Golden Age of the pork belly.

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Back to

bacon basics


S commercial bacon making is a simple process that involves the pork belly being injected, massaged, smoked, chilled, and sliced. Over half of a pork belly is made up of fatty tissue. You would think that going with a leaner pig would produce a better bacon but this isn’t always the case. Leaner pigs tend to have more softer fat which has a lower melting point than normal pork fat. This in turn makes it more a challenge to slice since during processing when there can be an increase in temperature and the fat begins to melt. Pork bellies are first sorted by size and fat percentage at the processing plant and then trimmed to specification - either a rectangular or square shape.  Most bellies are then injected with a combination of water, salt, sugars, nitrate and/ or nitrite, sodium erythorbate and/or ascorbate and phosphates.  Spices and flavorings can be added at this stage for specialty bacons such as jalapeño.  To allow for the brine solution to be distributed throughly, the pork belly needs to be completely thawed and about at 40°F (4°C ) to avoid food safety issues. This should also be the same temperature of the brine. Pork bellies need to rest for curing to take place which is when the color of bacon is developed. For injected bellies, the curing stage takes between one to five hours. Vacuum tumbling can be applied to injected bellies to assure a better ingredient distribution and speeding up the cure.  Some believe that the protein extracted during this step gives 30 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

bacon a more attractive appearance after smoking. However, tumbling can damage tissue. Pork bellies are hung using bacon combs, which are pushed into the belly on the lean side, making sure the cutaneous trunci muscle (or CT Muscle) has been penetrated. Proper combing is important to produce slabs that are more regular in shape, which ultimately results in higher slicing yields. Hung bellies are then taken into the smokehouse. Bellies should be cooked and smoked until they reach an internal temperature of 124°F to 132°F (51°C to 55°C).  The cooking and smoking process usually results in a 10% to 12% cooking loss.  Depending on the type of product desired, cooking cycles can go from one to two hours to a day and a half, especially for artisan bacon. The US leading bacon manufacturer, Oscar Mayer, smokes for 12 hours. Depending on the smokehouse being used, smoking can be natural from burning hardwood – such as hickory or cherry – or liquid applied by spraying.  Smoking gives bacon the traditional aroma, and also stabilizes and sets traditional color, both in the lean portion and the outer surface. The way bacon slabs are chilled and tempered will influence the pressing and slicing steps.  Bacon slabs are quickly shower-chilled right after the thermal process and taken to a refrigerated area, where they should reach an internal temperature of 40°F (4°C) in 24 hours, and chilled to 10°F (-12°C) afterwards. During pressing, bacon slabs should be crust frozen at a temperature ranging from 28°F to 30°F (-2°C to -1°C). This will allow for a better shape, resulting in better slicing and increased slicing yields.

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150 Reasons why we

love bacon


n drug enforcement, a gateway drug is one that leads to another, usually something stronger. For vegetarians, bacon is their gateway drug, making them forsake kale and soy mush for steak and prime rib. But what defense do they have from bacon? Scientists say that there are 150 volatile chemical compounds which are released when bacon is cooking. This reaction between amino acids in the bacon and reducing sugars in the fat stimulate pathways in the brain. When the compounds reach the nose, they stimulate particular pathways in the brain, making people physically crave bacon. Known as the Maillard reaction it’s particularly powerful in the case of cooking bacon. Elin Roberts, science communications manager at the UK’s Center for Life Education Center, says: "The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There's something deeper going on inside. It's not just the idea of a tasty snack. There is some complex chemistry going on. "Meat is made of mostly protein and water. Inside the protein, it's made up of building blocks we call amino acids. But also, you need some fat. Anyone who's been on a diet knows if you take all the fat from the meat, it just doesn't taste the same. We need some of the fat to give it the flavor." She added: "Fats mean that there are some reducing sugars in there as well. When it's really hot – that's when the Maillard reaction starts." She says that the reaction released hundreds of smells and flavors but it is the smell which reels in the eater. "Smell and taste are really closely linked," she said. "If we couldn't smell then taste wouldn't be the same." Some of the major flavor players are the result of the pork belly's fat breaking down, says Guy Crosby, food scientist and science editor at America's Test Kitchen. It's not just the white marbling that's in play. The cell membranes of the muscle tissue contain fatty acids that disintegrate during cooking to yield a bouquet

of flavorful compounds like aldehydes, furans, and ketones. By themselves, some of these molecules have distinct tastes or smells – furans have a sweet, nutty, caramel-like note, aldehydes a green, grassy note, and ketones tend to be buttery – but whatever they are doing together seems to be key. If any of these classes of molecules were missing from the overall bacon flavor, you would notice it. The diet and breed of the pig affect just which specific fatty acids are present in the meat, and hence which molecules will result when they break down. The curing salts that are applied to the pork belly affect flavor too, in part by changing the course of the chemical reactions the fats can take. They arrest progress down certain routes and shunt the bulk of the molecules down others. When the cured pork bellies are smoked, they take on another set of flavor compounds. The smoldering wood releases acrid-smelling phenols as well as sweeter-smelling compounds, including the evocatively named maple lactone. “It's the combination of those two – the acrid and the sweet – that creates the real flavor of smoke,” Crosby says. “You really don't have the flavor of smoke without both of those.”

32 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

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Coming soon to a town near you They’ve got bacon, bacon, and more bacon. No wonder bacon festivals are sweeping the world.


or all doomsayers who believe the bacon craze is over, close your eyes, plug your ears, put a clothes pin on your nose, and what ever you do, don’t go outside because no matter where you live in North America the sweet smell of frying bacon is drifting by; a nearby bacon festival is proving you wrong. “The bacon craze will be over when bacon is no longer good,” says Robert Esparza, cofounding ‘hog’ of San Diego’s Bacon Fest. “And when is bacon no longer good? That’s never going to happen.” In North America this year, starting in January and ending in November, will be at least 70 bacon festivals – and maybe more by year’s end. The largest, Blue Ribbon BaconFest in Des Moines, Iowa, drew around 14,000 bacon lovers from 42 US states and seven countries; it started in 2008 with 175 visitors. Recognized as the ‘Mecca of all bacon festivals’, it’s organized and promoted by the Iowa Bacon Board, offering participants: extensive bacon sampling, bacon lectures, bacon-inspired dishes, bacon competitions, an annual bacon queen, bacon awards, live entertainment and most importantly – bacon fellowship. And bacon festivals are just not a USA/ Canadian phenomenon. The oldest bacon festival is probably one in Serbia which has been going strong on since 1988. Sydney, London, and even Reykjavik, Iceland, all had a bacon festival this year. Most bacon festivals are tied to a local charity, with a portion of all gate sales going to the charity, and a good number are sponsored by either a pork board or a company such as Hormel. According to Hormel, besides drumming up publicity for their bacon products, it also allows them to do market research with new bacon flavors. 34 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

While beer usually goes hand-in-hand with bacon festivals, how each festival goes about local alcohol regulations makes each different. Many, such as Des Moines, bill themselves as a ‘family event’ and cater to all ages. Others, such as San Diego’s, have decided it is just easier to limit attendance to those over 21-years-old which eliminates the need for each beer vendor to check IDs, have a system of wrist bands, or separate beer zones. “Strollers get in the way, especially the double wide variety, and crying babies can interrupt that special moment you will be having with every bite of bacon inspired goodness,” says Esparza. “If we let in any Bacon Bits, we would have to section off the beer and spirits in a fenced off area, otherwise known as a ‘beer garden’. We hate those. This a day for adults. You deserve it. Well, maybe you do, but we're not here to judge you. Only Santa Claus gets to do that.”

sd bacon week


an Diego’s bacon festival has been running for three years and ties itself to International Bacon Day which takes place in the USA the weekend before Labor Day, putting it in the last week of August or first week of September. Organized by PushPins Media, it runs for a full week in various parts of the city, culminating in Bacon Fest. This year a sell-out crowd of 2,500 attended the Saturday event, paying $60 for general admission and $100 for VIP tickets. A ticket gives a bacon fiend unlimited bacon, bacon-themed dishes, beer, spirits, and water. “Bacon Fest is an all-inclusive event, granting you unlimited samples from all our beverage and food vendors. We want you to be double fisted throughout the entire day. Bacon in one hand. Beer in the other. It's hard to maintain a level of double ‘fistedness’ when you have to reach for your wallet every couple of minutes,” says

blue ribbon bacon

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Esparza. Esparza and his team, consisting of his wife Amber and good friend Gus Thompson, admit that it’s been a learning experience. “The first year we ran out of water and shade,” says Amber. “That’s not a good combination to run out of in hot, sunny San Diego.” According to Esparza, they were searching around the internet looking for an idea of a new food festival to organize when they saw a bacon festival in Omaha. What caught their eyes was that it had sold out in eight minutes – that’s faster than music festivals. “We looked for a sponsor and contacted Hormel Black Label Bacon. They have been fantastic, in fact, they have been the best sponsors we have ever worked with. Hormel was very positive with the idea and have been a huge help. “We have eight booths that serve straight bacon – Hormel has five different flavors – and we have local bacon producers as well. There are also 28 different food vendors with baconthemed products, many with more than one item.” While you would think that in San Diego, home to 110 microbreweries (as of 1 Sept)

Above: Going bacon-crazy at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Iceland

that most people are coming for the beer, but Esparza says that isn’t the case. “When people first come in they go straight for the bacon; it’s not towards the end of the day that people start going more for the beer,” he says. “For us, this is a food event, San Diego has other festivals for beer. We limit the amount of breweries to around 20 and a much smaller amount of spirit companies.” PushPin Media does not hold a liquor license and uses the the license that co-sponsor charity All the Kids Foundation holds. Even so, PushPin cannot submit the application to the California Alcohol Beverage Control Board until 30 days prior to the event’s date. While ABC has always approved, asking for small changes to some procedures, it is a nervewracking time while waiting to see if a festival they have spent close to a year preparing for, gets shot down in the last week. During the week leading up Saturday’s grand finale, bacon events take place at various restaurants. “Last year on the deck of the Midway [an aircraft carrier converted to a museum] we had an international bacon film festival attended by 400 people. It was such a success, we decided not to do it again,” he says laughing. November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 35

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Going bacon-bonkers

in South Africa People in the USA think they’ve brought new meaning to the expression ‘bacon crazy’. They think that they created all the wild and crazy bacon flavors out there. They think that anything new and original in bacon lore has come from their shores. But MPJ will let you in on a secret, nobody can hold a candle to a trio in South Africa who’ve started the continent’s first bacon-of-the-month club

Africa. “Neil does amazing charcuterie and superb bacon,” says Friedman, the third person in her family to run Môreson Farm. “But it’s really difficult to find good bacon in South Africa, even though there are a lot of people here who really, really love bacon.” At first, the idea was to do a “Pork of the Month Club”, which would allow subscribers to buy a whole pig and get a different piece of meat throughout the year. But Friedman says that after looking into it, it was decided that the cost was prohibitive. In addition, the logistics of shipping fresh produce in South Africa is quite difficult; a nightmare the country doesn’t have the infrastructure for. “Suddenly I was thinking about what does ship,” she says. “Bacon.” And so began the Bacon of the Month Club. Despite a one-month subscription costing R350 ($26) – this decreases to R175 ($13) a month if you sign up for a year – and that you have to go to collection points to get your monthly rashers, it’s proving popular. While Friedman admits that she doesn’t plan to retire on it – yet – and is putting everything she makes back into the business, the project broke even a few months in. It’s also proved so popular that it led to the opening of the Bacon Pop-Up Bar where she 36 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

serves a bacon-infused menu, including bacon brownies and bacon chocolate chip cookies. An advantage Friedman says of doing this in South Africa is that it’s cheaper in developing the concept. Once that’s achieved, bacon lovers keep your eyes open for what might be coming your way.



t all began at Môreson winery in South Africa’s Franschhoek’s region with some disgruntled bacon lovers. Môreson’s Bread and Wine restaurant’s head chef Neil ‘His Royal Porkness’ Jewell and Nikki ‘Baroness of Bacon’ Friedman were complaining about the state of bacon in South

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Q& A

Bianca ‘The Countess of Crackling’ Davies

In going over your website [www.] especially the blog, completely bonkers comes to mind. Does it help being a bit crazy to run something like a bacon club? A little crazy maybe, but a lot of fabulous fun for sure. While most people would assume bacon clubs are all in the States, yours is in South Africa and I suspect greatly you’re the only one there. How did you come up with the idea of introducing something like this to SA? Our Baroness of Bacon, Nikki Friedman, came up with it on your average week night, sipping on some Môreson bubbles and munching on a rasher of Neil Jewell’s hog finery. We’re tired of the supermarket version that has become the norm in SA because, let’s face it, it’s not bacon, it’s bacon’s ugly step sibling and a poor substitute for this the noblest of pork products. In the US, Canada and Europe, people have such a preconceived idea as to what bacon should taste like, they think you’re stepping over the edge if you use cherry wood instead of hickory for the smoking process. You’re in a completely different universe, coming up with flavors such as Christmas, Cajun, Porcini, and Sage & Onion. Where do you come up with your ideas? The bacon is all cured by Neil – His Royal Porkness – Jewell. He comes up with our weird and wonderful flavors with some input from the peanut gallery. Brined, rubbed, hung, dried, and smoked the old fashioned way that takes anywhere up to two weeks. Our bacon is whimsical and playful but dead serious when it comes to mouth-watering flavor.

pairings is something we are seeing all over the country and in the Cape in particular. We have an incredible food culture here that is seriously innovative and chefs and businesses are all pushing themselves and the boundaries of creativity to produce exceptional food experiences. Again, looking at your website, as a customer I can only get what you’re creating that month. If for some reason I had a hankering for Christmas bacon in July, I’d be out of luck. From a marketing perspective, what’s the thought behind this? Change is like a holiday. So in a way our bacon is sending you on holiday once a month. From Asian bacon to Chardonnay & Vanilla bacon we are sending you and your taste buds on a journey. What you get each month is a surprise and we don’t like to repeat flavors. A large dose of imagination is what keeps our subscribers baconed away! Do you use the belly, loin or shoulder to make your bacon? We like to mix it up. It can be different from month to month but the majority of the bacon is from the belly. Streaky goodness is a firm favorite and a very versatile number for cooking, baking, wrapping, candying, dehydrating and anything else you’d like to experiment with in the kitchen. Neil did a fantastic rolled bacon and spiced it with fennel and chili. it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! You use collection locations – ‘collection points’ where people can pick up their bacon instead of shipping it to via mail or courier. Why?

We have a melting pot of cultures and cuisines and this provides us with some off-the-wall inspiration. I also think being bold and brave with non-traditional flavor combos and

The infrastructure is not quite there yet in this beloved country so to send goods that need refrigeration door to door country wide without the costs becoming prohibitively expensive is impossible. So partnering up with collection points allows us to send our hog finery across the country without having to add on a substantial delivery charge. It is also a great opportunity for our subscribers to check out some cool restaurants, delis, and butchers that we have partnered with and support them when collecting their bacon.

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In South Africa you have a real blend of cultures and flavors, and everything from curry to sausage has a different approach. Do you think this SA make-up frees you to experiment with different, very non-traditional bacon?

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Beef bacon

worth a fry The idea behind No.1 Foods beef bacon came during a near-death epiphany for Maqsud Khan. MPJ investigates if it’s possible to make a non-pork bacon which leaves you wanting for more, or whether some dreams should stay just dreams.


n the realm of non-pork bacons there seems to be no winners. Turkey bacon tastes like a high-sodium impostor; most beef bacons have a flavor like they’re unsure of what they’re suppose to be; and a new vegan bacon being touted with huge publicity can only be enjoyed by someone who has never tasted meat – any meat – in their lifetime. That said, there is a beef bacon that has a taste, flavor, and texture which can knock your socks off. The only problem is, good luck finding No 1 Foods outside of south London halal butcher shops. Maqsud – ‘call me Max’ – Khan was and still is a police officer for the Met in London. As part of a weapons team, he’s guarded everyone from British prime ministers to Bill Gates. But then in his young 40s he suffered a brain aneurysm. During the five months he was off work, he reflected how close he came dying and decided to take stock of his life. “I wanted to do something different with my life; something completely different,” says Khan, “and I remembered this beef bacon I had in Dubai. It was pretty good.” While Khan is proud of being a Muslim and equally proud of his heritage, ‘devout’ would never go in front of his religion box on a form. Though Khan sidesteps the question with a ‘no’ shake of his head, you have to suspect strongly with him being a police officer, with long hours spent in police canteens where the food choice is limited at best, this is a man who knows what real bacon tastes like. The fact that his taste buds remembered this beef bacon tasting good says something. “I Googled beef bacon in London. I could find other people looking, but no one making it.” Khan brainstormed the idea with his two 38 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

brothers, one who is a very devout Muslim and well in-tuned with what is available at halal butchers. None could remember ever seeing beef bacon for sale in London. “What we found with the halal market – it’s crap. You look at what passes for a halal beef sausage; you only need to have a meat content of 33 percent and you can call your product a beef sausage. The standard for halal is rubbish. “We thought then of the modern British Muslim family. Most are now second or even third generation. The husband and wife both work; neither has time to cook, but they have enough income to choose quality – if there was any. In Asian markets there are only ‘value-line’ products; nothing better. There’s no reason why halal can’t be quality and give people a real choice.” While the UK does not have the size of a Jewish community as found in the USA, there are 250,000, with the majority in London. Although Orthodox Jews do not see halal food as an alternative to kosher, moderate and secular Jews would when it comes to beef bacon, especially those who feel uncomfortable eating pork. And, there are other groups in the UK which for one reason or the other do not eat pork.The potential is there for a large market. None of the brothers were butchers or had experience making beef bacon. It was a period of massive trial and error with much on the error side. They finally came up with a product and taste-tested in on English friends who definitely knew what real bacon tasted like. It was a hit. With council approval, No.1 Foods was first set up in a building in Khan’s backyard where the three brothers worked there for 1.5 years, while still working their regular jobs. With sales increasing, a year ago they were able to move into an industrial estate in Essex, east of London. “The rent was cheap here but it was

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Where it all begins. Maqsud Khan holding a halal certified beef brisket

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for a reason,” says Khan, “the place was a tip [dump]. Where we’re working now didn’t even have a toilet.” The brothers make three types of beef bacon: traditional, sweet, and smoke flavored. At their present location they cannot put in a smoker and cook, and with the three bacons, this is their weakest, having to rely on smoke flavoring which does not have the same punch. All of their beef bacon, as well as all other products sold by A1 Foods, starts out the same, as halal certified brisket from Ireland. The cattle are raised for 24 months before slaughtering and Khan has visited the supplier Liffey Meats. A problem the brothers have, however, is a lack of consistency from the supplier. At present they are buying only a half metric ton of brisket a month which in the big scheme of things makes them a small buyer. Until they get their order up to at least one MT a month and be taken more seriously by Liffey, while each box always has the correct total weight, the size of the briskets inside can vary considerably. This in turn makes it time consuming to be having to constantly be adjusting slicing equipment for the different size briskets. On average 10 briskets a day are cut for optimum slicing size, cured, and packed in a vacuum bag. They are then aged in the cold room for 10 days, with the bags flipped over so the cure will be distributed throughout the brisket evenly. The briskets are cold washed and crust frozen 40 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

Above: At the top is uncooked A1 Foods beef bacon, bottom is turkey bacon

with a Foster blast freezer to make it easier to slice with the Bizerba slicer which has a portion weigher. The sliced beef is packed by hand, with a minimum 205 grams going into each 200 gram retail pack. With an ability to pack around 15 to 20 packs a minute, each brother could have a future as a Las Vegas card dealer. The packs are then vacuum sealed using a Henkelman Falcon 80. Besides the three types of beef bacon, No. 1 Foods makes beef sausages, using a Reiser Lucky Linker and Colfan collagen casings. Beef meatballs are made by hand and a recent order for 6,000 took three days by hand; if they had a meatball machine, the order would have taken two hours. “Somedays we start at 9am and go to 3am, just to come in the next day and do it all over again,” says Khan. While all profits are being put back into the company to develop and new equipment is definitely on their list, they find the costs involved to be off-putting. “Equipment is expensive to buy but if you go under, you get only peanuts for it,” says Khan. Frozen beef burgers are turning into a success as is a breakfast patty which has a very similar taste to breakfast pork patties and indeed in a taste test, if MPJ did not know the breakfast patties were beef, we would have assumed they were pork. The beef bacon itself tastes much more like steak than pork bacon and while it

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tastes very good next to eggs, it makes amazing sandwiches putting most BLTs to shame. Like regular bacon it fries very quickly but does not crisp-up. The color, too, resembles cooked steak as opposed to the color of pork bacon. Marketing as been a challenge. Where originally they were going to call the the beef bacon ‘bacon’, the word ‘bacon’ brought too many questions at halal butchers so now it’s called ‘beef rashers’. Although ‘rashers’ is a very common British term for bacon, for some reason shoppers at halal butchers do not find ‘rashers’ as questionable as ‘bacon’. On the packs ‘halal’ is prominently displayed and the brothers are fairly sure they will reduce this in size to attract more of a general public. Because, unlike kosher’s status in the USA, halal in the UK – and unfortunately in many other places as well – does not necessarily mean a quality product. Potential non-Muslim customers who would welcome a beef bacon experience, could very well turn away from a pack with a large halal certificate on it. In addition, some non-Muslims refuse to buy halal products due to the way the animals are ritually slaughtered [see MPJ January 15]. Tesco’s – the UK’s leading supermarket change – contacted No. 1 Foods about stocking its beef bacon, but it never went anywhere, much to the relief of the Khan brothers who have heard too many stories from Tesco’s suppliers as to what a nightmare the company can be to work with.

Above: Cooked beef bacon (lower left) and cooked turkey bacon. Which would you rather eat?

Fat Burgers hamburger chain in the London area is using No. 1 Foods sweet bacon to go on its burgers and the beef bacon is Fat Burgers most requested side item. In addition Royal Blue, a private airline favored by rich Arabs, uses No. 1 Foods beef bacon on its flights. From MPJ’s perspective, No. 1 Foods is nearing a make or break point. The brothers need to hire staff but because the company has been such a labor of love, they doubt if they will be able to find anyone with the same passion and are afraid quality will drop. A larger space would allow them to have improved processing equipment which would give them an ability to process larger orders. However, investing in a new space and equipment is a risky gamble. The current market in the UK, however, MPJ believes favors No. 1 Foods. Unlike changes in US bacon over the last decade with has resulted in bacon with better quality and new flavors, British bacon is tired and stale. For those in the UK who want an alternative to pork bacon, the only choice is Mattessons turkey bacon which is nothing to write home about. It’s hard to believe that when non-Muslim Brits sink their teeth into a bacon/lettuce/tomato/baguette sandwich made with beef bacon, they will ever want anything else. Can the Khan brothers and No. 1 Foods break out of the halal market and go mainstream, that is the question which as of yet, has no answer. November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 41

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bacon equipment Injector has improved brine recovery technology Townsend Morel’s injection technology is designed for injecting brine or flavor-enhancing fluid into fresh boneless pork and beef products and, according to Townsend Marel, its IN 33-430 Injector offers improved brine recovery technology. A ‘bathtub’ design allows all excess brine drain back to the pickle-holding reservoir. This helps save 10 to 15 percent of pickle waste over the Model 1450 Townsend Injector. The IN 33-430 Injector also includes a smaller 52-gallon tank, which saves brine during changeover and shutdown. A level sensor lets you run down to 25 percent capacity, and a sectioned filter tank acts as its own reserve tank, so processors don't have to shut down to clean the main filter. While brine savings are huge, the IN 33-430 standard deviation numbers stay right with the standard deviations achieved by the Model 1450. Product is loaded into and out of it by means of a conveyor or other automatic loading mechanism. An operator uses a computerized touch screen, which has the ability to store up to 40 recipes, to control the machine and to monitor injection performance. A set of closely-spaced injecting needles distributes fluid uniformly into the product. The fluid control system maintains constant, accurate injection percentages. A multiple stage filter system can run an 8-hour shift without a full system clean and individual filters can be cleaned during operation.

Increase yields with new belly line Fusion Tech of the USA says its new pork belly line came about when a client came in and said they needed a new process to consistently flatten, scan and weigh, waterjet, cut, and sort pork bellies. Upon meeting with the client and visiting the plant, the Fusion Tech team designed and fabricated a complete system to press, skin, cut, and sort the pork bellies. The company says that it designed, manufactured, and installed: Model entire floor of plant Belly roller press conveyor Belly flattener conveyor Belly skin conveyor Belly sortation line Skin patch conveyor Chutes and hoppers Vat dumper Whizard knife mounts Ergonomic stands Fusion Tech says the company is experiencing increased yields, improved quality and consistency of flattened pork bellies, automate sorting of pork bellies by weigh/mass/cost, and the entire system is easier to clean than what they were using before.

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Bacon can last 4 months in cold chain

Weber csays that its new bacon slicing system increases your bacon slicing throughput, yields, and slice quality. The Weber system provides an electronic adjustment that controls the distance between the blade and orifice, allowing you to produce slices from 0.5 to 50 mm at speeds up to 1500 RPM. Slice quality and on-weight portion consistency are further assured by Weber innovations that optimize the involute blade specifically for bacon. Weber says its touch screen controls will add to your efficiency, by quickly assisting product and presentation changeovers. The computer-controlled system also adjusts pre-sliced product, both vertically and horizontally, for slicing position and transfer onto conveyors. Its compact design requires only 38 sq ft of floor space and can be combined for added efficiency and hygienic operations with Weber robotics and with all major packaging equipment.

der Wouw

Compact bacon slicer

Avure Technology’s high-pressure processing (HPP) machines inactivate pathogens and spoilage organisms by creating intense pressure, up to 87,000 pounds per square inch, or about five times the pressure at the bottom of the ocean. This allows a product like uncured bacon to be preserved without adding nitrates or nitrites. Many consumers today are looking for products with clean labels; products without added preservatives like nitrates and nitrites. That means bacon hardly ever makes it into the grocery cart – but not now. “As long as the product is kept in a cold chain, bacon treated by HPP can last up to four months,” according to David Peck, Senior Food Scientist at Avure Technologies. “This gives an uncured bacon product commercial viability by expanding the number of markets available to a producer.” The bacon is packaged and then put into the HPP machine. Pressure and hold times are carefully calculated and constantly monitored to ensure safety and quality. After HPP, the bacon is kept refrigerated until it shows up in the grocer’s cooler. Another benefit of uncured bacon treated by HPP is the lower sodium content. Many brands contain half the sodium of cured bacon, another plus for the label-savvy consumer. “Many of us are trying to watch the amount of salt we consume on a daily basis,” says Peck. “A lower sodium bacon has lots of appeal to those buyers looking for high quality, healthier options.” Avure’s HPP equipment and services includes manufacturing, engineering, procurement, parts, and customer services operations based in Middletown, Ohio USA; Global Headquarters and Customer Center in Erlanger, Kentucky USA; a parts distribution center near Amsterdam, Netherlands; and a global network of Avure Certified HPP Laboratories and independently operated Tollers and Service Providers.

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Bemis bacon packaging wins award

Falcon and lion cuts bacon in the fast lane Treif’s portion cutting machine Falcon Power boneless works at a fast speed while at the same time remaining extremely precise, as you have come to expect from the Falcon machine models, says the German-based company. Product is loaded in continuously, end to end without a gap – without the need for a gripper hook, thereby delivering power, speed and a high yield. The proven 4D camera system for product measurement guarantees the machine‘s excellent results. The driven contour downholder guarantees that the product remains secure and stable during the cutting process, leaving virtually no trim. Whether frozen, raw, cooked, or smoked, with rind or without – Treif’s Lion “sets the bar” when it comes to slicing bacon (down to -1.4 deg F/-17 deg C), says the company. Because it was designed specifically for slicing bacon, even two stacked products can be loading into the chamber and still be sliced with precision using a blade which works at a speed of up to 300 rpm. Slices can be either shingled continuously or arranged in shingled groups of, eg, 10 slices.

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Bemis Company has been recognized by Hormel Foods Corporation with the 2014 Spirit of Excellence Award. Each year, Hormel Foods honors a limited number of suppliers with this welladmired award. Bemis was selected for providing insights and transformational packaging, delivering sales and customer support, and technical service to the plants − which ultimately enables Hormel Foods to succeed in the marketplace. “There are only a handful of suppliers who earn this award,” says Eric Winters, corporate purchasing buyer for Hormel Foods. “We understand that packaging plays an important role in the company’s growth. We recognize your hard work behind the scenes and strong partnership with our company.” Bemis provides Hormel Foods with branded packaging for food and meat products, including: Lloyd’s barbeque ribs, Hormel REV wraps, Hormel  Natural Choice  deli meats, Hormel Compleats microwave meals, Jennie-O turkey bacon, and more. The company’s Curwood Curlon films medium and high-barrier Curwood Curlon structures provide exceptional shelf life, protection, aesthetics and convenience for a premium bacon package with outstanding retail appeal, says Bemis. “Films run seamlessly on our bacon packaging equipment and any bacon machinery. Drive Market Evolution with Value-Added Options Deliver bacon that’s easier and less messy to prepare with pre-made tray and lid systems, semi-rigid and flexible forming/ non-forming films, pouches or microwavable films,” says Pete Bruehl of Bemis. “As the world’s leading supplier of bacon equipment and films, Bemis can help make your next package a hands-down success. Whether you want to streamline your traditional operation, or shake up the category with exciting new features.”

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Multivac’s R 565 is ‘most-sold’

J&G Foods installs fifth Reiser. Reiser is pleased to announce that it recently installed at J&G Foods in Sutton, Massachusetts, a fifth Repak RE20 in-line form/fill/seal vacuum packaging machine. The Repak horizontal form/ fill/seal packaging machine produces vacuum and modified-atmosphere packages (MAP) from flexible and semi-rigid materials, as well as Vacuum Skin Packages (VSP). “Our five Repaks are reliable, versatile, highperformance packaging machines used for our case-ready meat programs,” said Bill Leva, Chief Operations Officer at J&G. “We also rely on Reiser and their capable and responsive staff for prompt support and service whenever we need it. Reiser is an important partner to the growth of J&G Foods.” Roger Reiser added “J&G Foods has been a valued customer of Reiser since the early 2000s and we congratulate them on their incredible expansion and success.” J&G Foods is a custom fresh meat provider specializing in organic and grass fed beef, Australian lamb, organic chicken, natural pork and beef, and a variety of marinated meats. J&G achieves superior customer satisfaction by partnering with supermarket brands to provide high quality products that meet today’s consumer demands. US-based Reiser is well known in the international bacon industry with its Reiser Bacon Packaging System. With printed and registered top and bottom films, the ability to run with or without a carry board, superior seals, EZ peel film, and a package that can withstand HPP, the high-speed Reiser form/fill/seal packaging machine brings the newest technology to a bacon packaging line.

German-based Multivac says that its thermoforming packaging machine R 565 is the company’s most-sold machine for packaging bacon. The machine is equipped with an upper web chain guide and heating at the top which guarantees the production of high-quality packs as well as process reliability. It features an intuitive, easy-to-operate HMI 2.0 control system, with a choice of 40 languages, and is suitable for integration into automated packaging lines. The open IPC 06 control system enables the integration of handling modules, quality inspection and labelling systems, slicers, and other equipment. The R 565 can be completely washed-down, inside and out, due to its hygienic design. The removable side panels and cleaning spaces permit a thorough cleaning of all the areas of the machine. Multivac says the R 565 has maximum reliability and machine running time with innovative lifting units, along with being a very safe machine to operate. The R 565 is designed to use Isopak skin films. Isopak - a Multivac system for the production of vacuum skin packs - is ideal for bacon. Skin and additional perimeter- sealing ensure the top film fits tightly around the product, and guarantees impressive product presentation. How it works: Sliced bacon is placed in the shallow, thermoformed pocket A cut made above the corner of the bottom film, before sealing, facilitates pack opening by consumers later on The heated top film is skin-sealed to the bottom film around the product in a vacuum Perimeter-sealing the pack rim provides additional protection of the vacuum The advantages of using Isopak are numerous. Multivac customers say that it is easy to obtain an attractive pack, for example, by using the bottom film with a gold/silver metallic effect. By using a skin-tight top film the entire product is visible. This film also provides a longer product shelf life, thanks to moisture not being lost.

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30,000 visitors can’t be wrong

IPPe 2016

Get your most comfortable shoes ready - you’ll be needing them at the 2016 IPPE show in Atlanta. This is the yearly show that if you are serious about succeeding in our industry you need to be at.


he world’s largest annual poultry, meat, egg, and feed show is gearing up for its yearly January bash in Atlanta, Georgia. So far the 2016 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) has surpassed 1,040 exhibitors but with a few months remaining, this number is expected to rise. Comprised of three integrated trade shows – International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo, and International Meat Expo – IPPE has also secured more than 430,000 net square feet of exhibit space. “We are seeing an increase in the number of exhibitors, as compared to last year at this time, and are pleased with the level of exhibitor participation. We anticipate more than 28,000 attendees at the 2016 IPPE, with the Expo providing an excellent location to learn about new products and services for the protein and feed industries,” says Charlie Olentine, IPPE show manager. According to show organizers, the Expo will highlight the latest technology, equipment and services used in the production and processing of feed, meat and poultry products. IPPE will also feature dynamic education programs addressing current industry issues. Consisting of three shows, IPPE is a collaboration between the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), North American Meat Institute (NAMI), and US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) – representing the entire chain of protein production and processing. While long-time visitors still know it as the ‘Chicken Show’, IPPE covers all meats which exhibitors tell MPJ makes the show even a bigger draw. “Putting meat together with poultry has been a good idea,” says Jim Thomas of Thomas Pumps.

46 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

“I’ve been coming to the show for 30-years, 2015 was the best show ever. We had over 300 leads on both Tuesday and Wednesday, with at half of those numbers legit people we should see.”

breaks record


ast year’s show broke all records. Over 30,000 registrants at IPPE n Atlanta, Georgia, spent three days working their way through three enormous halls – with one so large it had a mini-bus service – in an attempt to see all 1,200 exhibitors. Joe Casper of Cantrell believed that last year’s big draw came from the success of the poultry industry in 2014. “The producers enjoyed success in 2014, making good money, and now they’ed shared it with us,” he says. “This year [2015] was the best one we’ve seen but even in bad years you need to be here.” Brian Perkins of Provisur said that in the first hour of the 2015 show they had 40 genuine leads. “In 2014 with the bad weather we maybe had 40 leads during the entire show.” While new leads are great, for many of the exhibitors the show gives them the opportunity to touch base with established customers and to showcase new products. Jay Ray of Marel, says: “For us we don’t necessarily find new customers, but we see old customers who are interested in seeing new products from Marel.” However, the shear size of the Hall B makes it a challenge. Location-location-location was everything for exhibitors in 2015 and those who were on the outer fringes of the halls saw no where near the foot traffic as those located along a series of ‘roads’ that criss-crossed the hall. This coming show will be no different.

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venue Georgia World Congress Center 285 Andrew Young International Blvd. NW Atlanta, Georgia 30313-1591

show times Tuesday, January 26, 10am – 5pm Wednesday, January 27, 9am – 5pm Thursday, January 28, 9am – 3 pm

Caption needed Caption needed Caption Yes, those are road markings inside IPPE's massive B Hall at 2015's show. Watch out for the taxi!

November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 47

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“In 2015 we put off deciding to come here fairly late,” an exhibitor from last year tells MJP, “and we paid the price for it. If we had booked earlier and got a stand closer to the ‘road’, we would have had at least four times the amount of attendees passing our stand. Live and learn.” First time exhibitor Ernie Santorelli of Ammeraal Belt Tech, says that he is happy with the response of visitors to his company during the 2015 show, but agrees that you need to be in the right location to draw the right number of people. “Look at Thomas Pumps. They were in a great place and they had the right attitude. Being a New Orleans company, they were handing out Mardi Gras beads and getting college kids to do a dance in front of their exhibit which brings people over.” The 2015 IPPE featured more than 7,245 international visitors from over 103 countries. 48 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

Latin American/Caribbean countries represented the largest region of international visitors, but there has been continued growth in numbers coming from Europe. Canada represents the largest single country outside the United States with regards to number of attendees. Still, not all exhibitors are willing to take advantage of this. “Oh, I don’t know, to figure out EU regulations seems like a lot of work,” a poultry disinfection company tells MPJ. “We’re aware that elsewhere people are having the same problem with pathogens and trying finding non-bleach ways of treating processed birds, but we’re just a US company.” But Bob Sabdo of Multisorb completely disagrees with this view. “You’re limited in the USA. If you want your company to grow, you have to think globally.”



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ones to watch

Meyn Poultry Processing


POSS Design

Meyn Food Processing Technology is the reliable and committed partner of renowned poultry processing companies in over 100 countries worldwide. The Dutch company is widely recognized for its ability to support its customers around the world in their ambition for higher capacity and increased yield and efficiency. “We focus on our customers' ambition to create end-products of the desired quality, while realizing the best financial results. For this purpose, we present solutions that allow the customer to manage either individual pieces of equipment, specific quality aspects, whole departments, or even the entire process - literally ranging from wall to wall. For reasons of flexibility, equipment can be operated stand alone, or it can be integrated, now or later, into larger systems or into completely integrated factory management systems,� says Meyn.

Hot water is a constant requirement at meat processing facilities. However, due to increased production a Tennessee meat processor was having difficulities in providing enough hot water during cleaning when demand was at its peak. Existing boilers were already at full capacity so the addition of a new four-pass wet back boiler seemed to be the only option. Upon consulting Resource Recovery Company, they were able to solve this problem with a 7.5 million BTHU MaxiMizer hot water heater to augment the existing system. This facility now generates all its hot water needs with the MaxiMizer with an average 35% reduction in hot water heating costs. The VP of engineering said: that thanks to the MaxiMizer unit, they were able to save enough capital to have paid for this heater several times over.

With over 36 years of experience, POSS Design Limited has proven to be the world leader in quality separation solutions for turkey and other meats. There are currently 780 machines running in more than 58 countries worldwide, with over 210 installations in the USA alone, and more than 50 in each of the former East Bloc countries, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. More than 500 of these machines are designed to process conventional chicken mechanical deboning. 100+ more are running turkey deboning, primarily making USDA ground turkey from bone in turkey drums. The remaining are being used for pork deboning and beef shank de-sinewing, as well as various niche applications including pork skin de-fatting and boney trim to recover high value coarse ground product.



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When the doors first open at IPPE it seems like you have all the time in the world to see all thousand-plus exhibitors. That feeling leaves you within an hour and for the rest of the show you do a mad scramble just trying to see those on your 'must see' list. To help you out, here is a listing of products and manufacturers that have caught our eye at MPJ. Enjoy the show

Budenhein Budenheim specialty phosphates provide high solubility, lead to maximum yields, deliver excellent color stability and improve texture. Whether boiling, smoking, tumbling, curing, drying, fermenting, or heating, Budenheim supplies solutions to support every meat processing application. For example, the specialty ingredient ABASTOL 305 maximizes cook yields and reduces package purge. It helps in emulsion stabilization, pH stabilization, and water retention capacity. Budenheim has production sites in Germany, China, Mexico, Spain, and the USA. The company site in Columbus, Ohio, where the North American sales office is located, significantly increases the services it can offer to its North American customers. Its strategic location facilitates the efficiency of the customer proximity required to provide individual product solutions.


Marel Stork Poultry Processing


With the most complete product range and the largest installed base worldwide, Marel Stork Poultry Processing offers in-line poultry processing solutions for all process steps and all processing capacities. It has dedicated processing systems for broilers, turkeys and ducks. “For decades, we have supported processors all over the world to find better ways to optimize their processes. It’s our conviction that the best way of doing this is by offering state-of-the–art, innovative technology. That is why we invest much more than the poultry industry average on innovation. To us innovation is more than a trendy word: It’s our passion, part of our DNA.” Marel Stork systems are modular, can be combined with other equipment and with manual processes. The company offers solutions for complete in-line processing up to the highest possible production capacities at the desired automation level.


Unitherm is known for its innovative approach to the design and creation of thermal food processing equipment and systems to maximize yields while enhancing safety and profitability. While most other food processing equipment suppliers are known for the breadth of lines, Unitherm has grown its business by focusing on efficiency and safety in the thermal processes that matter most. From cooking and chilling to pasteurization and freezing, Unitherm provides best-of-breed continuous thermal food processing equipment to maximize quality, production efficiency, and safety. Combining innovative product design with quality craftsmanship allows Unitherm to guarantee product outcomes that are safe and efficient. It also pioneered impingement technology for freezing, and introduced a continuous crusting process to dramatically improve the efficiency of log slicing.


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Handtmann The High Vacuum HVF 670, Handtmann’s whole muscle workhorse, and SV 425 cutting valve give producers a solution for exact weight portioning and depositing into thermo-forming machines. Vacuum feeding and vane cell precision deliver both thorough evacuation and gentle product handling with Intelligent Vacuum Management that monitors hopper vacuum levels to ensure production occurs at its precisely specified vacuum set point.  The Handtmann VF 620/PVLH 246 automated linking and hanging solution operates efficiently with all casings, all products and all volumes – with fast, simple changeovers and no chains. This AL solution features Handtmann vane cell portioning accuracy with manual and automatic casing loading, automated 1.7 second casing changes, and the flexibility to reliably link and/or hang collagen, artificial and natural casing products.  VF 600 Series portioners featuring Handtmann’s adjustable vane cell design for simple operation, longer parts life and lower lifecycle costs will also be on display at IPPE.


Ferrite Microwave Technologies Ferrite Microwave Technologies designs its industrial microwave systems with three primary factors in mind - generation, application, and control. Well-designed and built microwave systems provide for the uniform application of microwave energy. “Our systems are designed to provide maximum power efficiency between the microwave generator and the application cavity. Our programmable control systems allow for precision and automation, simplifying the task of operating and maintaining the equipment. Our unique contribution to this market is our deep understanding of the science behind these systems.” With standard-setting technology such as polarized feeds and the experience which comes with over 500 systems in the field, no other company is better prepared to address your needs. “Our products represent decades of experience developing solutions which employ microwave energy in the heating and drying of food products. Our microwave tempering systems enable higher product yields, quicker process times and smaller equipment footprints than traditional methods.”


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Prime Equipment Prime Equipment Group is a USAbased manufacturer of poultry processing equipment that has earned the trust of the industry by supplying innovative, reliable and hard-working solutions for nearly every point on the modern processing line. The Group designs and builds stand-alone machines, as well as customized equipment systems and equipment from brand partners for processing plants all over the world. Its team members also offer engineering assistance, hands-on field support and a quality selection of spare and replacement parts for multiple industries in over 15 countries. “Our corporate headquarters, product development and primary manufacturing facilities are located in Columbus, Ohio, and are made up of a talented team of engineers, designers, executives, fabricators, builders, service techs and sales reps. To help with supporting our growing international client base, we’ve also recently added additional sales & distribution offices in Chapeco, Brazil; Moscow, Russia; and San Louis Potosi, Mexico.”


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Jarvis Products



Jarvis will be showcasing its latest automation and robotic technologies at this coming IPPE. Also shown will be equipment, such as saws, penetrating and non-penetrating stunners, and de-hiders, which support specific kill and cutting floor applications. Jarvis’ Poultry Division will display top-ofthe-line poultry processing equipment, specializing in pneumatic tools for eviscerating and performing several off-line processing procedures. Recent innovations in robotic control and recognition have made the use of robotics a reality for high-speed operation in the meat industry. As part of this development, Jarvis has developed robots for: hog head dropping; beef hock cutting; and beef breaking. It is also currently developing many more applications for the beef and pork industry which will lead to extreme consistency and high yield along with reliability – robots are on the job 24/7. The company’s product line is sold and serviced worldwide through 18 branch locations, and Jarvis' J26 Federation of Distributors. Jarvis has service technicians available providing free customer service, including equipment installation, service calls and employee training.

Shat-R-Shield, the Protective Lighting Company, is the original manufacturer of shatterproof lamps and has provided a full line of protective lighting solutions designed to ensure the safety of businesses, people and products for 45 years. As the leading manufacturer of protective lighting products, Shat-R-Shield offers a comprehensive list of safety coated lamps, waterproof LEDs, fixtures, and a conformal coating service. All products are designed for optimal performance in industrial applications exposed to harsh environments such as food processing and food manufacturing. Hygiene and safety are paramount in these facilities and Shat-R-Shield is the ideal solution to ensure that glass particles, plastic contaminants and other debris remain unexposed to your reputation. Shat-R-Shield’s IP68 Waterproof, Safety-Coated LED lamps have a thin layer of silicone coating that completely seals the lamp to protect fragile electronic components against moisture, corrosion and premature failure. These lamps, by using 75 percent less energy, can save you $55 over the life of the lamp.

Jungbunzlauer’s Sub4salt range is successfully used world-wide as a salt replacer in processed foods. The 1:1 replacement with Sub4salt leads to a sodium reduction of 35 percent without compromising taste or functionality in the end product. Sub4salt Plus 50 not only enables manufacturers to reduce the sodium content by 50 percent, but is also in line with WHO’s recommendation of a natural sodium/potassium balance. The Sub4salt range is completed by Sub4salt Cure which combines the benefits of sodium reduction with the technological functionalities of a curing salt. The Swiss-based international company, whose roots date back to 1867, specializes in citric acid, xanthan gum, gluconates, lactics, specialties, special salts and sweeteners. A worldwide network of sales companies and distributors with a thorough understanding of products, markets, and applications form the basis of Jungbunzlauer's high level of market and customer proximity.




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For 50 years, Reiser has been a leading supplier of processing and packaging equipment solutions for the sausage, meat, poultry, seafood, prepared food, bakery and cheese industries. During that time, the company has gained recognition for its high-quality equipment, innovative engineering, and outstanding service and support. Reiser is pleased to announce that it recently installed at J&G Foods in Sutton, Massachusetts, a fifth Repak RE20 in-line form/fill/seal vacuum packaging machine. The Repak horizontal form/fill/seal packaging machine produces vacuum and modified-atmosphere packages (MAP) from flexible and semi-rigid materials, as well as Vacuum Skin Packages (VSP). “Our five Repaks are reliable, versatile, high-performance packaging machines used for our case-ready meat programs,” said Bill Leva, chief operations officer at J&G. “We also rely on Reiser and their capable and responsive staff for prompt support and service whenever we need it. Reiser is an important partner to the growth of J&G Foods.”

Oxygen is detrimental to the shelf life of jerky; it can cause spoilage, mold growth, rancidity, and loss of color and flavor quality. However, Multisorb’s JerkyFresh oxygen absorbers offer an industry leading solution specifically designed to protect all types of jerky products. JerkyFresh irreversibly absorbs oxygen inside sealed packaging to less than 0.01 percent and maintains this level. It removes oxygen trapped in sealed packages, even after vacuum packaging and gas flushing, and then continues to help protect your jerky, combatting the effects of microscopic pores in packaging that allow oxygen to infiltrate over time. By reducing and maintaining oxygen levels below that of other packaging methods, JerkyFresh helps to better maintain quality and extend your product shelf life. JerkyFresh oxygen absorbers are manufactured by Multisorb Technologies in a cGMP compliant facility in the US, assuring a quality product.

Today the pressure to deliver fresher cut product means suppliers need to find ways in which to slice meat and poultry immediately after the cooking process is complete. VC999 will be showing what they are calling “the complete slicer” at the forthcoming IPPE. The SL600 delivers perfectly sliced meat or poultry without pre-chilling. Crust freezing is no longer necessary. The innovation comes in the form of a unique cutting process. An arched shaped blade cuts from the heart of the machine and rotates to meet up six lines of product almost simultaneously. VC999 says the blade design, cutting action and position dramatically reduces the amount of pressure necessary to slice, meaning far less pre-chill preparation. And it delivers consistent cuts to all kinds of different shaped, sized meats. The benefits being fresher produce, warmer pre-cut, less time in storage, no crust freezing, more capacity with greater consistency, reduced machine down time and less stress to the supplier. Superior in design and manufacture from VC999, a Swiss company with over 40-years’ experience, it is at the forefront of the packaging machinery.




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helP to FeeD the WorlD

Your challenges our solutions The world population continues to grow and the level of prosperity in upcoming markets is increasing rapidly. Global demand for animal protein is expected to grow accordingly. More mouths to feed means major market opportunities for your business, but it also brings serious challenges. How can you feed the world responsibly without jeopardizing your competitive edge and business continuity? Meyn has been fully dedicated to poultry processing for many years now. Our knowledge, equipment, systems and services are available all over the world. Today we are very proud to be the dedicated business partner of numerous renowned poultry processing companies in over a hundred countries. Working with Meyn means you can rely on intelligent, innovative, customized and sustainable solutions that enable you to meet the challenges of today’s market and tomorrow’s society.

Your success is our goal. Every day, all over the world. Come and visit us at IPPE Atlanta, booth B-4843, B Hall

JanuarY 26-28, 2016 georgia WorlD congress center atalnta, ga

Meyn America LLC / 1000 Evenflo Drive / Ball Ground, Georgia 30107 / USA /


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Hitachi America

MPS meat processing systems is a global provider of automated slaughter lines for pigs, cattle, and sheep, cutting and deboning lines, intra-logistics systems for the food industry and industrial wastewater treatment systems. Our specialists are looking forward to meet you and inform you about our latest developments in red meat slaughtering, CO2 stunning and blood collection (Butina), carcass splitting technology (Durand), cutting and deboning (KJ), food logistic systems, order picking systems and industrial waste water treatment (AQUA)..

A world renowned authority in packaging machinery, MultiVac has provided countless packaging solutions across a host of industries and applications. In its 50 plus year history, the company has designed and implemented over 30,000 automated packaging systems globally. MultiVac leads the market with innovative packaging solutions, strategic consultation, technical design and exceptional service. “We call it better packaging, our customers call it success.” From its North American headquarters, located in Kansas City, Missouri, the US division of MultiVac employs over 300 people, nearly 150 of which are engaged in field sales and service.

Hitachi America is a leading manufacturer of marking and coding product solutions used in packaging applications throughout North and South America. The company’s industrial continuous inkjet printers have delivered state-of-the-art technology with exceptional reliability for over 35-years. Hitachi’s innovative lineup of marking and coding products help support end user’s track and traceability requirements via date code, expiration, and barcode serialization on any productpackaging surface. The latest Hitachi RX Series high-speed printers are easy to use and efficient, reducing typical fluid usage by nearly 50 percent.


Hawkins Since 1994 Hawkins has been manufacturing food ingredients for the meat industry. In 1995 Hawkins was granted a patent for a liquid sodium phosphate system and the company has invested in multiple expansions at its Minneapolis location and built a second facility in Illinois in 2008. The Hawkins’ teams are experts in the area of acid based reactions to produce liquid salts and have been expanding its antimicrobial product lines for the meat and poultry industries. “Our growth and investment in product development benefits you. We align ourselves with industry, academia, government, and laboratories to bring science solutions to you. Both our Food Ingredient production facilities are SQF and ISO certified.” Hawkins’ Food Ingredients Group brings shelf-life science innovation with Ingredients Works; providing functional blends, flavors, and antimicrobials that address the overall challenges surrounding shelf-life. Hawkins’ Ingredients Works supports your needs with solutions for: yield and moisture management; color stability and flavor protection; and food safety, pathogen control, microbial suppression, and texture modification.



BANSS America BANSS is a custom design and manufacturer of slaughtering and meat processing systems for pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, and lamb. The company offers customer specific, custom automation equipment / systems and accessories, ranging from stand-alone process equipment to complete turn-key facility systems, as well as storage and cooling room conveyance systems. “We attribute utmost importance to animal welfare, quality, safety, hygiene and ergonomics, so that every installation - independent from its automation level - meets the highest standards. Each plant is optimized to make the best use of human and capital resources.  “Our 140+ years’ knowledge with design and manufacturing of slaughter/ harvesting equipment for worldwide facilities allows us to offer the best and latest technology. With offices in Germany, Demark, Spain, Russia, China, Spain, Thailand and the USA, we are able to fully support all our worldwide customers.”


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B6118 inkjetprinters

Controls more sizing lines Computerway Food Systems (CFS) is a world leader in integrated plant floor and enterprise-level information systems designed specifically for food manufacturing, processing and handling operations. Incorporated in 1986 and located in High Point, North Carolina, Computerway modules include precise recall and traceability, real-time production control, accurate and aged inventory of products and packaging, and scanned shipping and receiving operations. In overhead sizing, the Computerway Wolf (Integrated Sizing System) is the most technologically advanced concept in overhead sizing line controls ever built. The Wolf Integrated Sizing System can control more sizing lines with greater capacity, superior overall accuracy and unmatched reliability. This revolutionary system dramatically impacts plant efficiency and profitability. The CFS IPPE exhibit will feature new technologies developed specifically for poultry, egg, and other food manufacturing companies for enhancing production efficiency while improving quality and food safety.


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ALLMEAT Solutions

CSB-Systems International

Belgium company STEEN will be showing its specially designed STEEN ST700K chicken skinning machine at IPPE. The machine can be adapted to suit specific needs of the customer in order to provide flexibility and optimize yield. It’s capable of processing wet or dry chilled products at high speed. The STEEN ST700K skinning machine can be a dual lane fed machine, which in some circumstances, allows the processing of two different products at the same time.. “The entire STEEN machine range embodies an advanced industrial concept for an efficient way of processing fish and poultry, hinging on our 50 years of experience in mechanical engineering, meeting at the same time all the technical requirements of the rapidly changing modern food-processing industry.”

ALLMEAT Solutions specializes in high quality mechanical separators and service for the meat processing industry. With over 15 years of experience in the design and manufacturing of mechanical separators, our innovative equipment is simplified and practical, resulting in ease of use and high level of performance. Designed to withstand the harshest processing needs, our equipment is built heavy-duty and is extremely durable and robust. Our equipment is made in Brampton, Ontario, one of the most developed manufacturing hubs in North America. We have a 22,000 sq./ft. manufacturing facility capable of producing all of our equipment from start to finish under one roof. As a result, we have full supervision of the manufacturing process and therefore can provide equipment produced to the highest standards set by our customers. We also provide on-time delivery for replacement parts, rapid turnaround on equipment repairs, and service on all our customers’ existing equipment.

The requirements to be met by meat processing companies are constantly increasing and competition is getting tougher – both nationally and internationally. To manage your company efficiently and economically, you require innovative information technology which can cope with growing market needs – today and in future. As a leading IT industry specialist, CSB-Systems have been standing for meat industry expertise for 35 years. From procurement to slaughtering, cutting, production, recipe optimization, integrated price labelling, and efficient picking – with the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for the meat industry by CSB-System you profit from having a single system for managing all business areas and you realize lasting competitive advantages for your company through optimization of your processes..


Provisur Technologies Provisur Technologies is committed to bringing value to its customers by listening to their requirements and delivering technology that drives line performance and productivity. From raw material to finished product, Provisur provides operational efficiencies, greater line throughput and yields, uncompromising quality, a commitment to food safety, all at the lowest cost of ownership. “Our team of food scientists and engineers will help develop your products and design a complete line solution tailored to your needs. Whether you’re looking for an integrated system or a single piece of equipment for grinding and mixing, separating, forming, coating and cooking, freezing, slicing or auto-loading, Provisur has the right solution.” Equipment on display at IPPE will include the new NovaMax660, the next-generation in Formax slide-plate forming technology. Provisur Slicing Solutions displayed will include the CashinEDGE Bacon Slicer with Servo Card Dispenser..



Meat Packing Journal Meat Packing Journal is the only international magazine covering the slaughtering, processing, packaging and distribution of meat and poultry. It is distributed to some 5,000 slaughterhouses and processing facilities around the world and seen in print by more than 28,000 readers. The journal digs into the issues affecting the meat packing industry. It keeps readers abreast of the latest developments, trends, best practice and research. Published six times a year the magazine looks deeper into the industry and delivers the most up to date thinking and commentary. Come by and see us at our stand.



Bettcher Bettcher is pleased to announce a new business partnership with Alchemy Systems. Alchemy’s highly effective training, coaching and awareness programs provide a powerful method of “on-demand” applications for today’s dynamic workforce. Over the past decade, Alchemy has made a major footprint in the food industry, helping companies increase productivity, ensure regulatory compliance, foster safe working environments and produce quality products. Bettcher is currently developing a series of learning modules to be delivered through Alchemy’s solution covering the following key topics for our Whizard Series II and Quantum Trimmer systems: basic trimmer operation and safety guidelines; applications and “how-to” training to properly perform specific trimming applications; blade steeling; and ergonomics factors.


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Cashing in on

Saudi Arabia’s poultry affair You have an image of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in your mind; oil wells, desert sands, camels, and date palms growing around an oasis. It’s time to imagine again, especially if poultry’s your game. The country’s population is soaring, GDP is over $52,000, the government wants to invest in more than oil, and they love eating chicken - be it fried, grilled, barbequed, baked, or stewed. Sounds like a winning combination to us.


hicken consumption in Saudi Arabia is among the highest in the world, with each person consuming last year over 100 pounds per year – that thought alone is enough to turn all of us into a modern day Lawrence of Arabia if you’re part of the poultry industry. But it gets even better. Saudi’s population is rapidly increasing and around half of the population is under 25. And, unlike other countries which are in the same population situation, the Arab Kingdom has the money to invest in itself with billions being earmarked. The Saudi government has targeted increasing broiler meat production as one of the means to help achieve the Kingdom’s food security strategic goals. Yes, the opportunities are there, but truth be told, they’re not for the faint hearted. Despite Saudi Arabia being rated in the top 20 of countries easy to do business in, it’s not. Physically, the country will take a toll on you. During summer months the heat will suck the

life out of you, and if you’re by the coast, add to this desert blast close to 100% humidity. Air conditioning might offer some protection, but ultimately you’ll have to leave the protection of your car or hotel room. During winter months, while the day time temperature is moderate, once the sun sets it is freezing. Meetings you will find confusing, Arab timekeeping frustrating, and good luck figuring out who actually runs a company. Only someone with blinders on would say that Saudi Arabia is just like any Western nation. If you keep your ‘western’ eyes, you’ll see things that you’ll find questionable at best and disturbing at worse. Around a third of the population is made up of foreign workers; with the vast majority of these people living in conditions far removed from high-end expat communities. However, in its own way the country works and you’ll find some amazing companies there which are the envy of many. Unlike many businesses in the world which believe they have all the answers, Saudi companies seem

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to be aware of their shortcomings and aren’t afraid to bring in outside help, especially on the agriculture side. It’s not uncommon to have what looks like a mini-UN in a company’s management structure.

talking chicken


n 2014, total broiler meat consumption was estimated at about 1.4 million metric tons, and is forecast to increase by about 11 percent to 1.54 million MT this year, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Gain Report. Over all broiler meat consumption is projected to continue to grow at an average rate of five percent per year for the next few years. Key growth factors include increased population, changing consumption habits, growing preference for chicken meat by health conscious consumers, price competitiveness of broiler meat compared to other animal protein sources, and growing demand by the food processing sector. The Saudi poultry meat market has a cyclical nature, with demand drastically rising in winter season, during the holy month of Ramadan and Hajj season. However, consumption declines in the summer months, when millions of Saudis and expatriate workers leave the Kingdom for vacations. In recent years, poultry meat consumption has been steadily rising because of its affordable prices and the perceived healthier diet, compared to red meat. While most poultry meat consumption is in the form of whole broilers, demand for chicken parts such as leg quarters and breast has been rising. This is due to increased demand by households of workingcouples, rising demand for ready-to-cook poultry meals and continued expansion of food service sector. In addition, the continuing growth of hypermarkets and supermarkets throughout the Kingdom has helped increase the availability of different poultry varieties and thus boost the overall demand for poultry meat.

fresh wins


audi consumers prefer locally produced fresh broiler chickens and more than 80 percent of local broiler meat is sold chilled. Many poultry producers have switched their broiler meat production lines from frozen to chilled products, as it is more profitable for the companies. Saudi customers would not mind paying as much as 50 percent more for the fresh\chilled domestic broiler meat

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over the price of frozen imported broiler meat. In general, Saudi consumers prefer 32 to 39 ounce (900-1,100 grams) chickens, perceiving large broilers 42 to 50oz (1,200-1,400g) as being aged and not tender meat. Hotels and restaurants prefer 32 to 35oz (900-1,000g) to serve whole, in halves or in quarters and they prefer to buy a lighter weight birds at the lowest possible price. All imported broiler meat into Saudi Arabia is frozen, and mostly for the expatriates communities and the food service sector consumption. Brazilian frozen broiler meat is the most preferred imported chicken by restaurants as they offer plenty of smaller sized birds, which fit in rotisseries used by restaurants. The issue of halal slaughter is not a major concern for most consumers in Saudi Arabia, as they are assured by the government that all imported meat products, including poultry, are slaughtered according to Islamic rituals. However, some Saudis tend to believe that domestically slaughtered broilers are of higher halal standards than imported products from non-Muslim countries like Brazil and France. Total Saudi broiler meat production is expected to reach 700,000 MT in 2015, an increase of about eight percent from production in 2014. The production increase is projected to continue in 2016, as total production is expected to reach 780,000 MT, an increase of 20 percent from the production level in 2014. The main reason for the large increases in domestic broiler meat production in recent years is the ongoing expansion projects being carried out by the largest Saudi poultry producers, Al-Watania, Fakieh and Almarai poultry farms. Production cost of locally produced broiler meat currently ranges between $1.6 and 1.87 per kg on average dressed weight.

record high imports


otal broiler meat imports into Saudi Arabia is forecast to reach a record high of 900,000 MT, an increase of more than 13 percent, compared to 793,000 MT imported in 2014. In 2014, Brazil supplied 645,609 MT of frozen chicken, more than 81 percent of total Saudi broiler meat imports. In 2014, French broiler meat exports declined by 20 percent, to 122,275 MT compared to 153,393 MT exported in 2013. Imports from the US, the distant third broiler meat supply to Saudi Arabia, declined by about 30 percent to 17,490 MT (all chicken parts) in 2014. US fast food chains such as McDonald’s, KFC and their local rivals such as Al-Beck, Herfy, and Kudu depends mostly on imported chicken parts.

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Dragomir Nikolov

In figures Land area 830,000 sq miles Population 26m Foreign workers 8.5m Currency Riyal GDP (PPP) $52,800 Work week Sunday – Thursday Ease of business World ranking 22 Entry visa Required

Western casual dining restaurants including Chili’s, On the Border, Apple Bees, Fuddruckers, and TGI Fridays use significant quantities of chicken parts particular chicken breast. A large part of imported deboned chicken is destined for shawarma, a popular Middle Eastern style sandwich that made of boneless chicken meat or beef mixed with pickles, lettuce and mayonnaise wrapped with pita bread.

production goals


he Saudi poultry sector has been undergoing major expansion projects that will impact the long term production potentials and affect its contribution to achieve the Kingdom’s food security goals. Several years ago, Saudi Arabia’s government has stated a strategic goal of achieving full self-sufficiency in poultry meat consumption, a goal that most analysts believe is not practically feasible. Some poultry analysts believe that a more realistic goal of 60 percent self-sufficiency of poultry consumption would possibly be achievable. Reaching this target, however, would require a huge expansion in Saudi Arabia’s poultry production capacity, high costs of subsidized poultry feed products, and the implementation of a unified biosecurity system to help reduce chicken broiler mortality rates. In 2014, local broiler meat production was estimated at 650,000 MT, about an eight percent increase over production in 2013. This production satisfies about 46 percent of the Kingdom’s consumption needs, currently estimated at about 1.4 million MT. The Saudi poultry self-sufficiency ratio is expected to rise to about 50 percent in 2016. The recent surge in broiler production in Saudi Arabia is mostly attributed to ongoing expansion projects at the three largest poultry producers in Saudi Arabia, Al-Watania Poultry,

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Fakieh Farms, and Almarai Company that were started in 2010. In 2014, the three companies’ combined production was estimated at about 60 percent of total Saudi broiler meat production. The companies have been implementing production expansion projects that started in 2010 with total investment of more than $2.83 billion. Poultry analysts expect the three companies to continue their production expansion for the coming years, although at different levels of intensity and to account for about 70 percent of the total domestic broiler meat production by the end of 2017.

production costs


roiler meat production costs in Saudi Arabia are relatively high because of the heavy reliance on imports of poultry feed products, poultry vaccines and equipment as well as the high costs of controlling temperature in the chicken houses under extremely hot weather conditions year-around. In order to help local poultry producers cope with the high production costs, the Saudi government has been providing various types of production support that include subsidies for animal feed, interest-free loans and rebates on the purchase of certain poultry equipment. Feed costs account for about 70 percent, on average, of broiler production costs in Saudi Arabia. The growing cycle for broilers in Saudi Arabia varies between 28 to 35 days, with an average bird weight gain of 50 grams per day. The average live weight for broilers when marketed is about 1,350 grams, while the average ready to cook broiler carcasses weight when marketed is about one kg. The average feed conversion ratio (FCR) is estimated at about 1.70 kg.

al-watania poultry farm


l-Watania is the largest poultry producer in Saudi Arabia, accounting for more than one third of the Kingdom’s broiler meat production. All of the company’s facilities are located in Buraydah, Qassim Province. In 2010, Al-Watania embarked on an ambitious expansion program to double its annual broiler production capacity by 2015, from 500,000 broilers per day to one million broilers. However, for some technical and other reasons, the company has not been able to meet its production goals for 2015. According to poultry analysts, the farm has increased its 62 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

annually production to 180,000 MT in 2015, an increase of more than 31 percent compared to production level in 2010. On the other hand, the company is constructing a new mega poultry farm in Bisaita in Al-Jouf Province. The Bisaita’s project, which is expected to be operational by 2020, will have a total production capacity of one million broilers a day. About 80 percent of Al-Watania’s broiler meat production is sold fresh\chilled, while 20 percent sold frozen. In addition, the company is the leading Saudi fresh broiler meat exporter to neighboring Gulf countries. In 2013, Al-Watania was the first company in Saudi Arabia to introduce the vacuum-packaging technology to extend shelf life of chilled broiler meat. Most of the company’s broilers are sold as whole-bird, but there are significant quantities of chicken parts, such leg quarters, breasts and drumsticks that are sold by the company. Al-Watania is also becoming a major poultry processor, through producing more than 150 fresh and frozen value added products such as marinated chicken, sausages, hot dogs, chicken popcorn, meat balls, salami, chicken nuggets and a wide range of microwavable poultry products. The company also runs a fast food chain Al Dajen Restaurants, which was established in 1996 and currently has 14 outlets in major cities of the Kingdom.

fakieh poultry farms


akieh Poultry Farms is the second largest broiler meat producers in the Kingdom. It is currently undergoing a huge broiler production expansion projects ($800 million) to increase its annual production from about 430,000 broilers a day or about 124,000 MT a year to 1,000,000 broilers a day or 288,000 MT by 2020. In 2014, the Fakieh increased its production to 500,000 broilers per day, an increase of 16 percent compared to its production level in 2010. The firm expects its daily production to reach 550,000 broilers a day by the end of 2015, an increase of 10 percent compared to production level in 2014. About 80 percent of Fakieh’s broiler meat is sold fresh and 20 percent frozen. The firm wants to increase its fresh/chilled chicken production as much as possible because of high and increasing demand for fresh/chilled chicken meat by Saudi consumers. Local broiler meat processors prefer fresh/chilled production and distribution due to short payment terms. Chilled chicken meat suppliers get paid in less than a week, while it takes 60 days to get paid for frozen broiler meat by retailers and other buyers.

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top tips

Fakieh has recently started producing new high-value chicken meat products such as chicken nuggets, chicken burgers, chicken Kebab, and sausages. The company exports about 10 percent its table eggs, frozen broiler meat and further processed broiler meat products to the GCC countries. It also exports 100 MT of chicken feet a month to China. Fakieh Poultry was the first poultry company to open and operate a fast food chain that uses broiler meat produced exclusively on its own farms. Fakieh’s brand name ‘Taza Barbecue Chicken’ which was first opened in 1989 now has more than 110 outlets throughout Saudi Arabia as well as branches in Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arabia Emirates. Taza Barbeque Chicken outlets use 50,000 chickens a day.

almarai poultry farm


his poultry farm is owned by Almarai Food Company, the leading food processing company in Saudi Arabia with business interests in dairy, bakery and baby foods production. Almarai entered the broiler meat production business in 2009 by purchasing the former Hail Agricultural Development Company (HADCO) poultry farm. Since acquiring HADCO, the company has been engaged in a major broiler meat production investment projects estimated at $1.1 billion. This investment should increase Almarai’s Alyoum broiler meat production from 20,000,000 birds in 2009 to 150,000,000 in the next few years. In 2015, Almarai reportedly produced 75,000,000 million broilers. Almarai’s broiler meat production is sold 100 percent fresh\chilled and currently the company exports significant percentage of its production to the GCC countries. Almarai poultry is one of the few poultry farms in Saudi that are able to reduce broiler mortality rate below the national average of 25 percent, allowing it to constantly increase productivity and reduce production costs.

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All aspects of life in Saudi are governed by an absolute belief in the teachings of Islam and an adherence to its tenets. No business deal will ever be discussed without reference to the Almighty and His Prophet Mohammed. Age is worthy of respect and honorable visitors will display respect to older people – therefore it is good to have some older heads among any delegation going to Saudi. Try to find out the relationship tree of any company you wish to do business with. Power may not reside with a functional head if that head is not a family member or has poor relationships at the top Meetings can involve sitting in rooms with unknown people who are simultaneously meeting your contact. In effect, several meetings may take place at the same time. Initial meetings can be very timeconsuming and appear to deliver very little in terms of tangible returns. Time is very flexible and meetings may start very late (if at all) and last for many hours. It is difficult to schedule a series of meetings on the same day. Saudis do not like to say no or deliver negative news. It can be very difficult to fully understand exactly how interested people are in your propositions. Only perseverance and patience will reveal the true picture. Loud and aggressive discourse denotes engagement and interest – not anger or hostility. Do not be frightened or worried if the noise levels in meetings start to grow. Levels of eye contact are very strong and strong eye contact denotes sincerity and trustworthiness. Avoid touching anybody with your left hand or pointing feet at people as both of these are seen as extremely rude behavior. Do not comment on the political situation in the Middle East or make any adverse comments about the influence of Islam. Women play little or no active role in business life and it can be very difficult for women to even get a visa to enter the country on business. (Source: World Business Culture)


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Frozen planet


The development of technologies to freeze meat and value-added products has opened a growing range of opportunities to the industry and this is especially true for poultry production and processing around the world. MPJ’s technical editor, James Chappelow, reports in this freezing primer

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he figures don’t lie. World chicken meat and broiler meat production has increased rapidly since 2001 to reach 98.3 million metric tons (MT) and 85.3 million MT respectively in 2014. A staggering 10.7 million MT of this chicken meat (with comparable figures for broiler meat) is exported. Around 7.2 million MT of this meat is produced in the Americas – predominately from the USA and Brazil. Inevitably, either before or after processing, much of this will have been frozen prior to consumption both at home and abroad. In this growing and highly competitive market quality, efficiency and economy rule. The initial freezing process is of critical importance. Consumers will not accept discolored meat and flavors that are tainted. They want a reliable product that is easy to cook and reasonably priced. Confidence that a frozen product will be as good as the fresh equivalent needs to be established and maintained. Producers also demand a high quality endproduct. This will result from a quick freezing time, a low temperature for storage and few temperature fluctuations. Dehydration losses should be minimized. Above all the freezing system needs to be reliable, safe and durable. To maintain good hygiene the system will need to be designed for easy cleaning and be constructed of non-corrosive materials. The economic gains of using a freezer system should more than compensate for the initial outlay and the running costs. Labor intensive systems will be unpopular while space saving solutions will be at a premium. These factors provide the motor for change in the freezing industry. Yet new technologies take time to win acceptance. In less developed parts of the world change has been slow. It is still possible to find that cold stores are used to freeze poultry. The drawbacks suggest that this is a very poor solution: Freezing times will be slow with the consequent formation of large ice crystals which lead to a deterioration in the quality of the meat and loss of liquid on defrosting. There will be fluctuations in temperature due to overloading and the introduction of additional products. Flavors from warm products will be transferred to already frozen products More labor is required to move products around. Cold storage rooms are simply not designed to be freezers. Blast freezing was developed to improve upon the cold storage rooms. As in the cold stores, cold air is the agent that freezes produce,

the simple difference being that it is circulated at high velocities. The Stationary blast cell freezing tunnel is the most basic model. They are insulated enclosures with refrigeration and fans to circulate the air in a controlled way. Products on trays are stacked on racks so that there is space for the air to move between them. The racks are moved in and out using a pallet mover. This creates a good universal freezer, but product loss through damage, spillage and dehydration can be high. Various fairly low-tech changes have been made to improve the efficiency of the tunnels. Push through trolley freezers, which places the racks on rails to allow hydraulically or electrically powered movement, are as effective as the stationary model in terms of freezing but they also save on labor costs and product handling times are reduced. They are widely used to crustfreeze wrapped packages of raw poultry. The process was mechanized further through the addition of a straight belt conveyer and better heat transfer resulted from the introduction of a controlled vertical airflow with better contact with the product. For poultry processing these freezers were well suited for diced chicken. There are two stages to the freezing process: the pre-cool section at 15 degrees F to 25 degrees F, and minus 25 to minus 40 degrees F in the freezing section. Between one and fifty tons of product may be effectively frozen per hour with freezing times of between three and 50 minutes. For longer freezing times the multi-pass straight belt freezer may be used. As the name suggests, these freezers stack belts on top of each other to allow a product that requires a longer freezing time to pass backwards and forwards within the freezer. This is space saving. It also allows for surface freezing at the top of the freezer and for closer stacking as the product completes its passage through. A further development of this idea is the spiral belt freezer. These can make use of either the cold air convection system or cryogenics (see below). They are commonly used for products with a longer freezing time – from 10 minutes to three hours – and they suit products that require gentle handling. This might include chicken portions, breast meat, nuggets, chicken chunks, and breaded chicken parts. The capacity of these freezers is considerably greater than other belt freezers and the airflow pattern is energy efficient, cuts down freezing time, increases production rate and reduces weight loss through evaporation. Spiral belt freezers have a small floor space, high capacity, automatic loading and unloading and low maintenance costs. Convection freezing using cold air is also

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used for fluidized bed freezing, but this type of freezer is mainly used for products such as fruit and vegetables.

conduction freezing


he use of conduction to freeze foodstuff, including most forms of poultry products, is achieved through the use of plate freezers. Foods are frozen by putting them in touch with a metal surface that has been cooled either via cold brine or through the use of a refrigerant such as ammonia. Foodstuffs are usually packaged and then rest on, slide against or are pressed between cold metal plates. As with blast freezing, many different methods have been tried to make such freezing more efficient or to fit the needs of a particular food process. Indeed, it is a characteristic of the freezer manufacturers of all types that they to design systems – albeit as variations of a theme – that best suit the needs of individual processors. Double contact plate freezers are commonly used to freeze processed foods in retail packages which includes many poultry products. Automatic plate freezers accommodate up to 200 packages per minute. The plates make firm contact with the top and the underside of packages but the effectiveness of the heat transfer is directly proportional to the thickness of the package. This is often limited to between 50 and 80mm. Plate freezers are economical, minimize dehydration, they are easy to defrost, and they do not suffer from package bulging. The packages do, however, have to be of uniform size and the rate of freezing is generally slower than other more modern methods. A popular variation of contact freezing is liquid immersion freezing. This was first used for poultry in Canada. Several different liquids may be used in this process: calcium chloride and sodium chloride brines, and glycols such as glycerol and propylene glycol. The chlorides are inexpensive, of low viscosity, and have good thermal properties. Their disadvantage is that they are corrosive and calcium chloride is considered to be toxic. Propylene glycol is mainly used in spray form in a slightly different process. Whole eviscerated birds are frozen by this method. They have first to be sealed in plastic packaging to avoid contamination and the coolant has to be washed off at the end of the process. The aim is to reduce the temperature of the entire surface of the bird uniformly which means that sprays are used to deal with any sections that may float above the surface of the liquid. If the packaging is tight then the rapid uniform 68 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

freezing will also preserve a uniform color. The aim of this process of liquid immersion is to rapidly achieve a frozen outer shell before transfer to a blast freezer for the completion of the process. Excess coolant has to be washed off and the higher priced coolants can be recovered. The technical details of temperatures and freezing times show a wide variation depending on the design of the immersion method. Liquid spraying of coolants is also a common solution and the outcome - to freeze just the outer shell prior to blast freezing – is the same. As with other methods of freezing, the individual needs of a particular processor determine the exact nature of the solution offered. The major manufacturers of freezing equipment pride themselves on finding the best solutions for individual processors. A good example of this may be found in the product of Weuthen Engineering Germany, which, in this field, specializes in IQF tunnel freezing and spiral freezing and all their products are custom built. In the 21st century it is in the field of cryogenic freezing that most technological change is being made. The principle of cryogenic freezing is to use liquid Nitrogen or liquid Carbon Dioxide as the freezing agents. This provides very rapid freezing as foodstuffs are exposed to the Nitrogen or Carbon Dioxide as they reach their boiling point and change from liquid to gas. Cryogenic systems have several advantages over other systems: Dehydration loss from the product is usually much less than 1%. Oxygen is excluded during freezing Individually frozen pieces of product undergo minimal freezing damage The equipment is simple, suitable for continuous flow operations, adaptable to various production rates and product sizes, and is space saving. Initial costs are relatively low. Cryomechanical freezers, combining cryogenic with blast freezing, provide a further application of this technology. The cryogenic freezer products of The Linde Group provide outstanding examples of the modern applications of cryogenic technology that are having a major impact on poultry processing. Linde's White Paper, High-efficiency cryogenic freezing for food processing offers a clear explanation of the nature of cryogenic freezing and its advantages over other solutions. Modern cryogenic processing offers faster freezing in greater volumes in limited space. Protein products, including poultry, can be brought to the desired equilibration temperature which reduces the need for holding freezers, thus lowering the costs. Cryogenic systems offer greater hygiene

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Clockwise from above:: A DSI horizontal plate freezer; CAT 2 chiller-pickups; a compact plate freezer installed in Mauritius.

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which, together with the high speed of freezing at very low temperatures, create better lines of defense against foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella and E. Coli. Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen gasses may be used in other plant operations – such as protecting packaged foods with modifiedatmosphere packaging (MAP) – and thus economies of scale may be possible. The particular advantage of cryogenic systems for freezing meat results from the way in which water is frozen in proteins. With slower freezing methods there is a danger that as the temperature drops the water inside cells may push through cell walls into the space between the walls. This water will then form large ice crystals which push back on the cell membrane and damage the meat. With cryogenic freezing, as the process is so fast, the water will freeze inside the cells as microcrystals which have no impact on the internal structure of muscle fiber. Linde's White Paper gives full details of the theory of cryogenic freezing and it also points to the many advantages that the company sees for cold processing within a food processing plant. Neither Nitrogen nor Carbon Dioxide are corrosive – unlike Ammonia – and both offer fast freezing that preserves quality. The systems offer the opportunity for higher capacity and favor high value products including marinated poultry and individually quick frozen (IQF) meats. The modern freezers are carefully designed to improve hygiene and have easy access for cleaning. Full safety training is necessary but comprehensive manuals and recommendations for proper use are available. The shipping of bulk gasses to processing plants is straightforward. The range of Linde products is impressive and shows them to be a leading manufacturer in the US and around the world. Among their products are Tunnel freezers, IQF freezers, Immersion Freezers, Spiral freezers, Immersion spiral freezers, Cryomechanical freezing systems and Sauce and Pellet freezers. The Linde Impingement Freezer offers significant opportunities to poultry processors. It is billed to “produce three to five times the capacity of a conventional cryogenic or ammonia-based tunnel freezer in the same linear space.” It is ideal for a range of poultry products. Linde is also developing cryogenic means for chilling. The advanced ACCU-CHILL® chills products in mixers/blenders from the bottom up using liquid Nitrogen or Carbon Dioxide. This improves the speed or repeatability of forming operations and may improve freshness and color. Additionally, Linde produces new automated systems for the for making of Carbon dioxide snow on demand. This eliminates the need to 70 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

purchase and store dry ice pellets and water ice. Linde, alongside other leading companies, is helping to change the face of the frozen food industry around the world. Technically advanced cryogenic solutions are showing the way forward for the food processing industry, including poultry processing. From the processors point of view it has become possible to reduce weight loss through drip and dehydration loss. The look of the products has improved with little discoloration and no freezer burn. Within the EU, the Netherlands based ADVANCED Cooling & Freezing Systems also demonstrates the impact of high-tech solutions for poultry freezing. In a world-wide market, ADVANCED Cooling & Freezing Systems offers a full range of freezing equipment with Carton Box Freezers, Spiral Freezers, Impingement Freezers, Contact Freezers, Crust Freezers and Hardening Tunnels among its leading products. Their custom-made solutions offer poultry farmers quick installation, and greater efficiency on production lines. ADVANCED favors the use of a modular design which leads to a fully automated freezing process. Hence, before entering a spiral freezer, products pass through a contact freezer. A special foil carries the product over a unique design of cold plate which freezes the underside of each portion. Product appearance is improved as belt marking is avoided, there is less weight and drip loss and the freezing time is minimized. As with other modern and forward thinking companies ADVANCED Cooling & Freezing Systems prides itself on continued innovation and a high emphasis is placed on hygiene. The flexibility of ADVANCED products has made it a leading supplier to food manufacturers of all sizes, not least to poultry processors. Further technological advance may be seen in the application of computer software to monitor freezing processes within the food industry, not least for poultry processing. In this field the CAT² systems serve as a good example. This provides real time data from the plant floor, real time reporting from farm to fork traceability. CAT² enables poultry processors to check on the changes in yield in products before and after freezing – effectively overseeing the efficiency of the freezing process. The system works with both air chilled and water chilled processes. With the use of such a system the processor gains full control of the plant and is able to make adjustments as necessary. CAT² is designed to work in all likely environments such as wet, humid and cold. The system features are: it captures counts, weights, and grades of birds entering and existing the chiller; it captures water pickup percent for birds exiting the chiller; it captures chiller

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Clockwise from above: Liquid Nitrogen; LindeLNA-3005 cryogenic tunnel crust freezer; Koma Industry blast freezer; part of a Weuthern Engineering spiral freezer

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temperatures; it uses hopper scales to ensure correct data and it includes real-time reporting for primary processing data including yield. An interesting example of the practical impact of CAT² came with the advent of avian bird flu. Bandit, a company that had installed the CAT² system was able to trace all its poultry stock right back to the farm, flock and breeder and was thus able to prove that all of its suppliers were free from bird flu. The tempering of frozen poultry is a process that is also benefitting from high tech solutions. In the USA, Ferrite Microwave Technologies lead the field in the use of microwaves to bring frozen products up to temperatures high enough to allow further processing. This approach has brought the process of tempering into the 21st century in one bound. The process is both quick and clean. It requires less labor and spoilage is all but eliminated. In his 12 Reasons To Switch To Microwave Tempering Ferrite's Fraser Tibbetts highlights the value of the company's application of microwave technology. The qualities that make the system so attractive include: Consistent results that accompany uniform temperature changes which include enhanced flavor, aroma and juiciness. Up to 4% increase in finished yield due to the virtual elimination of drip loss. Temperature control, which is particularly important for ensuring high quality in ground meat products. Reduced floor space with the ability to 72 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

Clockwise from top left: SAB Engineering spiral freezer; a plate freezer from Nantong Sinofreezer; TST spiral freezer; Unitherm cruster

expend systems within the same foot print and at low cost. Product handling is kept to a minimum thus saving on labor costs. The system works quickly – minutes instead of days – giving increased flexibility in production planning. According to Tibbetts, the speed of tempering leaves less time for bacterial growth and consequently quality and taste are improved, shelf life is longer, and there is less danger of contamination. The processing plant will be cleaner and levels of hygiene will be easier to maintain. There is no protein loss from the product which means that the finished cook yield should improve. Properly tempered products will not damage other processing equipment and controlled tempering enables close control of portion weights Microwave Tempering does not make a mess so cuts down on unproductive cleaning time and helps ward off the Government Regulators. From the point of view of the consumers, frozen products are improving in taste, reliability and convenience. Although there is still a preference for fresh poultry when consumers are surveyed and given taste tests, the perceived differences between fresh and frozen products are becoming more marginal. In blind tests these differences tend to be less obvious. Reliable and speedier freezing technologies continue to develop as, indeed will methods for defrosting. The poultry industry will build on its successes with frozen products and market growth will undoubtedly continue.

Lower costs, higher yields, better quality Marel introduces, DeboFlex, a groundbreaking new way of de-boning and handling pork fore-ends. Increases “knife in meat” time The DeboFlex system is in-line and uses an overhead conveyor and specially designed carriers to transport fore-ends past operators who carry out individual deskinning, defatting, de-boning and dividing operations.

No heavy lifting Focus on specific process tasks Improved food safety; longer shelf life Better factory floor logistics •

The efficiency in the production hall has risen, the transport of products has become simpler and the cutting process has become easier.

Production Manager, Menno van der Post at Compaxo Meat Ltd

Traditional tempering methods like tempering rooms cause product spoilage and require labor-intensive cleanup and management. They also take a long time. All of these problems add cost. Microwave tempering has become increasingly popular because it solves all of these problems. Here are the top 10 reasons companies are adopting microwave tempering:

THE MIP 12: - Capable of tempering up to 17,000 lbs. (7,700 kg) of product per hour. - Continuous tempering enables precise control of product temperature. - Product quality and yield are improved and drip loss is minimized. - Flavor and protein compounds remain in the product and are passed along to the consumer.

1. Consistent results 7. Regulatory compliance 2. Drip loss elimination 8. Better overall sanitation 3. Temperature control 9. Improved finished yield 4. Reduced floor space 10. Longer equipment life 5. Reduced product handling 6. Increased operational flexibility +1 800.854.1466

Using waste to save millions An Australian abattoir is generating its own power, reducing odor, while also producing cleaned waste water. Why aren’t you doing the same?


green energy plant installed by Australia’s CST Wastewater Solutions at a leading beef processing unit in Queensland’s Darling Downs is being recommended as a model for environmental and business efficiency for food producers worldwide. Not only will the abattoir now be able to generate a sizeable portion of its own energy needs, it will also clean waste water and even reduce plant odors. CST installed Global Water Engineering’s COHRAL plant at Oakey Beef Exports as part of a green energy initiative by its parent company, the Japanese meat processor NH Foods. Opened earlier this year by Australian Federal Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane, the plant will extract green energy biogas from the meat processor’s wastewater streams to replace millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed at the abattoir. Kelly Hawkins, Biogas Technician at Oakey Beef Exports in Queensland, says she is very satisfied to be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the plant, which also produces high-quality waste water as it replaces fossil fuels. “The most satisfying aspect of my role at Oakey is being witness to the technology and

processes involved in creating renewable energy within an existing production business. Globally, businesses are no longer in the position where infrastructure and productivity can be advanced without taking note of the damage it is causing the environment. It is especially exciting that this system is an Australian first,” says 24-yearold Hawkins. GWE’s COHRAL (COvered High Rate Anaerobic Lagoon) will produce 183.3 gigajoules of energy a day when it reaches design capacity through the combustion of produced methane. According to CST, the new plant delivers high quality wastewater by extracting organic waste content, which is converted into methane to replace fossil fuels. The GWE anaerobic digestion technology can remove more than 70-90 percent of organic waste content. Pat Gleeson, Oakey Beef Exports general manager, says that the green energy produced represents 40 percent of the facility’s current usage of natural gas and will produce direct ongoing savings year after year. The cost of construction is expected to be repaid within five years. He adds that the facility also benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved quality of wastewater, and greatly reduced odor emissions from the plant. According to Gleeson, burning the methane will save about 12,000 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to removing 2,700 cars from the road.

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In addition to reducing the plant’s dependence on increasingly expensive supplies of natural gas, the Global Water Engineering anaerobic digestion plant will simultaneously produce wastewater that is far cleaner than typical waste lagoons. Applicable to both livestock and cropping operations, COHRAL technology uses concentrated anaerobic bacteria to digest 70-85 percent of the organic matter (COD, or Chemical Oxygen Demand) in Oakey Beef Exports’ wastewater to produce effluent of far higher quality than typical open lagoons. Closed tank (reactor) designs, where applicable, can achieve even higher digestion levels and efficiencies, with more than 90 percent achieved in service by GWE plants. Biogas will be stored at the Oakey Beef facility in a 6000m³ capacity flexible PVCcoated polyester fiber flexible storage balloon engineered to be permanently gastight with high operational reliability and optimum safety. While GWE’s anaerobic wastewater technology has been proven worldwide at more than 300 installations of totally enclosed tanks or reactors, this is the first time it has been applied to a covered lagoon, an application where it has enormous further potential in countries with strong agribusiness sectors. “In addition to the obvious waste-toenergy benefits, the process also helps curb odors that emanate from open lagoons in processing plants,” says Michael Bambridge, CST Wastewater Solutions’ managing director. “This is becoming a much bigger issue in Australia as urban encroachment means agribusiness and expanding communities are located much closer to each other than previously. “So instead of open lagoons being potential dumping grounds for environmental problems, closed installations such as Oakey Creek’s represent an outstanding contribution to good 76 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

community relations. “Yet another outstanding benefit is that anaerobic digestion produces reliable and predictable base-load power – unlike some other green-energy technologies – it is not dependent on the wind blowing or the sun shining. The environmental and cost benefits of COHRAL technology as deployed by Oakey Abattoir are outstanding and something we expect to attract world attention for agribusiness, including meat, dairy and crop waste processing,” says Bambridge. Methane biogas produced in covered anaerobic lagoons is not only prevented from escaping into the atmosphere (where it is many times more damaging than CO2 emissions) but is also harnessed to generate energy. Additionally, the process also helps curb odors that emanate from open lagoons in processing plants, a sensitive issue especially in urban areas where agribusiness and expanding communities are located much closer to each other. Continuously supporting innovation such as the new GWE plant since the initial purchase of Oakey Abattoir in 1987, Nippon Ham has invested more than $A100 million dollars to grow capacity from 300 head a day to the current capability of 1300 head a day. Their next phase of plant development is in the final design stage, and focuses on upgrading the existing cold storage and chilling capacity with a construction cost of $A50 million over the next two years. Established in 1956, Oakey Beef Exports is one of Australia's largest beef processing plants, employing more than 750 people from Oakey, Toowoomba, and the surrounding districts. It's hoped that annual production will soon increase from 298,000 cattle to 560,000. This will require almost doubling the work force to 1,400 and moving production to a seven-day schedule.

Clockwise from top left: equalisation basin; Biogas scrubber; Kelly Hawkins, Biogas technician near the 26 meter gas storage unit; wastewater in equalisation basin; power generator; Biogas dryer

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P ro d u c t s

Product news Self-stacking spiral oven The Stein GCO-II-1000 GYRoCompact Oven is a new generation spiral oven that has been redesigned from the ground up, keeping in mind the products being processed today, while also providing the tools to accommodate products of tomorrow. Better oven steam containment at high-circulation fan speeds maintains higher moisture content in the spiral stack. The ‘Right Process’ heat transfer mechanism at the right time ensures the shortest cook time, thereby improving product yields with enhanced and uniform color development. Stein says that there is up to a 30 percent reduction in maintenance expenses over previous models. The oven has an improved drive mechanism with a redesigned chain and lubrication mechanism. It has longer glide strips and rail life, with a simpler and robust steam control mechanism with its new Humitrol system.

Profit from bones An automated processing line that manufacturers stocks and sauces has been developed by a Finnish company. Coctio has launched an industrial bone broth process designed to help the food industry utilize bone remains instead of paying to dispose of them. In addition to stock and sauces, the Coctio method lets companies to use bone as raw material for industrial fat, dry pet food, fertilizer, heat energy, and natural gelatine. The line costs around €2.5 million ($2.86 million) and can be installed in a weekend, says former chef Kai Liskola who heads the company. The equipment can make numerous stock and sauce variants, using the bones from pigs, cattle, sheep, poultry, and fish, and can remove components, such as gelatine and fat, if required.

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Asset Integrity Program Foodmate US has announced the launch of a new service, the Asset Integrity Program (AIP), to offer its customers the ability to achieve more consistent operation, performance and yield. This program consists of a contractual service agreement with a customer, with the objective to complete a set number of service visits and rebuilds in a defined period of time on specific pieces of equipment. The parameters of the contract are set to best suit each particular plant’s need, according to its equipment and capacity. The program implements pre-scheduled quarterly rebuilds (parts/labor), and monthly visits with a designated customer asset manager. In addition, the AIP offers additional training for plant personnel, which reinforces continuous improved equipment performance. Foodmate is a leading poultry processing equipment manufacturer based in the Netherlands, with Foodmate USA covering the North/South American market.

P ro d u c t s

Intelligent conveyor system MagneMotion, a manufacturer of intelligent conveyor systems powered by linear synchronous motor (LSM) technology, has a complete set of configurable hardware and software monitoring technology which can replace conventional conveyor systems, increasing throughput and decreasing operating costs. Motorized track components, which include merge and diverge modules, offer endless layout options, allowing them to outperform closed-loop systems and reduce and synchronize process times. Software tools simplify system design and commissioning. With an expected lifetime of as long as 40- years, MagneMotion’s products help companies maintain productivity amidst evolving customer demands for new product iterations. “MagneMotion’s technology is uniquely positioned to provide flexibility for end-of-line grouping and distribution,” says President and CEO Todd Webber. “We are on the forefront, leading the industry toward the future to meet new market demands.”

Small batch vacuum skin packs Multivac’s R 105 MF thermoforming packaging machine is a compact machine for smaller batches of vacuum skin packs, for standard vacuum packs, and modified atmosphere packaging. It offers various equipment options and sets new standards for process reliability, hygiene and robustness, says Multivac. Featuring Multivac’s trademark Hygienic Design system, the machine can be completely washed down, inside and out. The easily removable side panels and cleaning spaces permit the thorough cleaning of all areas of the machine and the smooth, angled external surfaces - without recesses, corners or edges - are easy to clean. Intuitive, user-friendly control system with 30 available languages, it’s suitable for integration into automated packaging lines: the open IPC 06 control system enables the integration of handling modules, quality inspection and labelling systems, slicers, multi-head weighers, and other equipment.

Leak detection Ishida Europe is has a new leak detector which they say will help food manufacturers minimise spoilage in pre-packed retail products. Designed for use with a wide variety of foods including fresh, cooked and cured meat, and poultry, the Ishida AirScan uses advanced laser technology to identify leaks of CO2 from holes as small as 0.5mm in sealed modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) packs at speeds of up to 180 packs per minute. It has been designed to be easily integrated into existing production lines. “Compromised packaging can lead to bacterial spoilage, reduced shelf-life and a damaging rise in complaints and returns. This can result in increased cost of production, loss of brand image and reputation, and the heightened risk of retailer fines,” says Alan Mutch of Ishida.

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Q& A Brett T. Johnson


hile on a recent bacon fact-finding trip, MPJ’s editor Velo Mitrovich devoured an entire pack of Hormel’s Black Label Bacon at one sitting. In an attempt to justify this, Velo talks to Brett T. Johnson, brand manager, meat products at Hormel Foods to discover what is so special about bacon and most importantly, how to get ‘the job’. While no one can beat the Italians at making pizza or the French at bread, despite attempts by the British and Danes, no one can top American bacon producers. Why does US bacon taste so good? Our US bacon workforce is filled with skilled craftsmen working with high specifications to make one of America’s most popular food items, bacon. Here at Hormel Foods,our Black Label bacon brand team is dedicated to producing the most premium bacon in the 80 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

market. We use only center slices, and our pork belly is always fresh and never frozen to deliver exceptional flavor. Is it MPJ’s imagination or has the quality of US bacon increased greatly over the last 10 years? And if so, has this been consumer or industry led? Bacon has become a much more popular item over the last 10 years and consumers want to see bacon on more than just their breakfast plates. There is a demand for bacon in all meals and we love to see consumers wrapping their favorite foods in bacon too. Consumers are saying, “Bacon makes everything better,” and we couldn’t agree more. Being a consumer-led trend, people are also demanding more bacon, delivered in more ways. Bacon lovers have opened the door for us to get creative with flavor profiles and we ensure that each bacon variety is exceptional. Every day we see bacon lovers using our bacon in new recipes. They are having just as much fun as we are with flavor pairings.

b ac k

In talking with the organizers of San Diego’s recent week-long bacon festival, they said on the final day when a crowd paying $60 a ticket descends on the Bacon Fest grounds for an all-you-can-eat-and-drink festival, despite San Diego being ground-zero for microbreweries, people are there for the bacon. Does this surprise you? This absolutely does not surprise me! Consumers are very passionate about their bacon. Bacon festivals have been forms of entertainment that the Hormel Black Label has supported for years, and San Diego has been an annual event on our roster of sponsorships. It is incredible to see bacon enthusiasts flock to their local bacon festival and light up their social media profiles with photos of piles of our bacon. Every year we see new bacon festivals start up and we look forward to every opportunity to interact with our loyalists through some good fun and great eating. Hormel Foods is the lead sponsor at San Diego’s festival along with many others across the USA. Are these festivals more important to you for new product marketing research or for developing new customers? Both are big reasons why we are involved with these festivals. We want consumers to taste how great our new products are and it is great to make our brand known at these events for consumers that are unfamiliar with our bacon.


When we sponsor a bacon festival, we look forward to engaging with the bacon lovers through multiple channels. We provide our product, do free bacon giveaways, interact on social media, and also personally attend each event. We do all of this so that the guests can try our bacon and let us know how much they love it. Your website shows a huge selection of different bacons from cherrywood to jalapeno, but at local stores MPJ could only find the usual suspects. Is the problem shelf space at supermarkets or are bacons created for specific markets? We continue to work with our retail partners on shelf space to ensure it is a win-win for both of us. There are varieties of bacon that better align with regions, including those in our newest line of premium thick-cut varieties. For example, our jalapeno bacon is stronger in the Southern and Western regions as well as many consumers asking for it across the U.S. Is being the Hormel Black Label bacon tester the best job in the world and how do you apply? A job really doesn’t get any better than that! If we told you how to apply, we would be jeopardizing the current bacon tester’s position. Let’s just say, he would be devastated. We could never do that to him; it is indeed the best job in the world. November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 81

D ire c t o ry

Directory Accles & Shelvoke

Jarvis Products Corporation

Stork Poultry Processing

Services: Slaughter and stunning Species: Poultry, Pork, Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +44 (0) 121 313 4567 Email:

Services: Processing, Slaughter Species: Pork, Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +1 860 347 7271 Email:

Banss America

MPS meat processing systems

Services: Food safety and hygiene, Logistics and handling, Processing, Slaughter Species: Pork, Red Meat Region: North America Web: Tel: +1 407 930 3554 Email:

Services: Slaughter, Processing, Further processing, Weighing and portioning,, Waste treatment, logistics Species: Pork, Red Meat, Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +31 544 390500 Email:

Services: Further Processing, IT solutions, Labeling and packaging, Logistics and handling, Other services, Processing, Refrigeration, Slaughter, Weighing and portioning Species: Poultry Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +31 (0) 485 586 111 Email:

Dohmeyer Services: Cooling and refrigeration; further processing Species: Pork, Poultry, Red meat, Other Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +48 17 788 98 17 Email:


FRC Systems International

Prime Equipment Group

Services: Waste management Species: Poultry, Pork, Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +1 770 534 3681 Email:

Services: Processing, Slaughter Species: Poultry, Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +1 614 253 8590 Fax: +1 614 253 6966 Email:


Services: Packaging Species: Poultry, Pork, Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +1 716 824 8900 Email:

Services: Processing, Further processing, Weighing and portioning Species: Poultry, Pork, Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +49 7351 45 0 Email:

Provisur Technologies

Hyde Tools


Services: Further Processing, Processing, Slaughter Species: Poultry, Pork, Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +1 (508) 764-4344 Email:

Services: Further Processing, Labeling and packaging, Processing Species: Poultry, Pork, Red Meat Region: Europe, North America Web: Tel: +1 614 253 8590 Email:

Services: Further Processing, Processing Species: Poultry, Pork, Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +1 312 204 6042 Email:

Scott Technology Services: Further Processing, Logistics and handling, Processing, Refrigeration Species: Red Meat Region: Worldwide Web: Tel: +1 614 253 8590 Email:

Get your company listed in print and online

82 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

e v en t s

2016 26-28 January IPPE 2016 Atlanta, USA 16-18 February VIV MEA 2016 Abu Dhabi, UAE 21 - 23 February Meat Conference Nashville, USA 23-25 March ILDEX Saigon, Vietnam 18-20 April FOODEX Birmingham, UK 7-12 May IFFA GERMANY FRANKFURT 10-11 May BRITISH PIG & POULTRY Stoneleigh Park, UK 17-20 May EXPO PACK MEXICO Mexico 6-8 September VIV CHINA 2016 Beijing 8-9 November WORLD MEAT CONGRESS Punta del Este, Uruguay

November~December 2015 | Meat Packing Journal | 83

C O n tac t s

Velo Mitrovich

Rhian Owen



Velo Mitrovich

Jim Robertson

Editor +44 1442 780 591

James Chappelow

Technical Editor

Head of Sales +44 1442 780 593

Josh Henderson

Accounts Manager +44 1442 780 594


reby media

Jack Young

Reby House


Rhian Owen

Group Editor +44 1442 780 592

Jack Young

42 Crouchfield Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire HP1 1PA Great Britain

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without the express prior written consent of the publisher. Meat Packing Journal ISSN 2054-4677 is published bimonthly by Reby Media, 42 Crouchfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP1 1PA. Subscription records are maintained at Reby Media, 42 Crouchfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP1 1PA. Meat Packing Journal and its Editorial Board accept no responsibility for the accuracy of statements or opinion given within the Journal that is not the expressly designated opinion of the Journal or its Editorial Board. Those opinions expressed in areas other than editorial comment may not be taken as being the opinion of the Journal or its staff, and the aforementioned accept no responsibility or liability for actions that arise therefrom.

84 | Meat Packing Journal | November~December 2015

Jim Robertson

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