The business journal for meat and poultry processors • • September 2011                 Applying      ...
Cover Story        Fresher with pressure        Cargill’s Fressure line of fresh beef patties:        “A game changer” for...
FRESHER GROUND BEEF                                                                      Jan Hood and Jeff Dykstra pause i...
FRESHER GROUND BEEF                                                                                         Ground beef is...
Breakthrough                                                                                                Disinfection  ...
FRESHER GROUND BEEF                                              HPP makes a significant food-safety en-    without openin...
FRESHER GROUND BEEF        Besides labeling packages with the Fres-        sure logo, production and packaging is        t...
consider. They may pay a little more      the outsourcing arrangement works        cluding turkey, Martin says, “We’llup f...
FRESHER GROUND BEEF                                                                                             Fressure b...
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Cargill & Pascalistion of meat.

  1. 1. The business journal for meat and poultry processors • • September 2011 Applying Cargill puts freshness and food safety on the menu INSIDE: • The Annual Construction Report • Canadian Innovation • Small Business Matters • Robotic Revelations
  2. 2. Cover Story Fresher with pressure Cargill’s Fressure line of fresh beef patties: “A game changer” for food safety and quality BY JOEL CREWS AND BRYAN SALVAGE y investing in a post-packaging veloping and testing the technology, Fressure line. One K-Pak machine B high-pressure processing inter- vention to deliver fresher ground beef Cargill announced the implementation of high-pressure processing this past processes ground-beef chubs using product from its Vemag pump; the patties for its foodservice customers February. Initially supplying HPP- plant’s other pumps are auger fed. with enhanced food safety, Cargill treated, fresh ground beef patties as The beef facility, which sits on 78 Value Added Meats-Foodservice is a premium offering to the large-scale acres and spans a total of 106,000 sq. excerpting pressure in more ways than foodservice distributors and directly ft., has been a fixture in the small town to operators featuring gourmet-style since 1995, when it was operated by burgers on their menus, Fressure pat- Hudson Foods Co. It was acquired ties are currently processed exclu- by IBP in 1998, and later operated sively at the company’s Columbus, as Carneco Foods as part of a part-“The value and savings Neb., ground-beef plant, one day per nership with IBP and Lopez Foods. more than overcomes week. Operations at the plant include Tyson Foods assumed IBP’s share of two production shifts and a sanita- Carneco in 2001 when it acquired IBP. the additional costs.” tion shift. It currently employs ap- Then, in 2008, Cargill announced one. Besides applying pathogen-halt- proximately 359 employees. On the it would acquire Carneco to replace ing water pressure to its new line of 40,000-sq.-ft. processing floor, four the ground beef plant in Booneville, “Fressure,” fresh beef patties, Cargill grinding systems feed six Formax pat- Ark., that was destroyed by a fi re in is also pressing the rest of the industry ty-forming machines that are used to to achieve a higher level of food-safety produce patties for the frozen line in Above: Fressure patties are processed and packaged at Cargill’s Columbus, in its ground beef products. addition to another forming machine Neb., plant before being shipped to Mil- After more than two years of de- used for fresh patties, including the waukee for High Pressure Processing.20 • Meat&Poultry • September 2011 •
  3. 3. FRESHER GROUND BEEF Jan Hood and Jeff Dykstra pause in the plant’s employee information area where Cargill promotes its Fressure fresh ground beef, which utilizes HPP technology to extend shelf-life to 42 days. the spring of 2007. Ground-beef pat- ty production is also done at Cargill’s facilities in Butler, Wis., and Bramp- ton, Ontario. Adding the Fressure line to the processing mix at the plant has been relatively seamless, according to Jeff Dykstra, general manager of the Co- lumbus facility. From the raw mate- rial sources to the equipment used to mix, grind, form and package the patties, plant operations are, for the most part, the same on days when Fressure patties are being processed as they are when the facility is pro- ducing its traditional line of fresh and frozen burgers that are not treated using HPP technology. The Fressure product requires using a film that identifies the vacuum pouches with the Fressure logo, and in some cases customer-specific labels are added, but otherwise, the process is largely A Personal Ad the same as it is for processing the plant’s other fresh patties. From Patty Paper After vacuum packaging, Fressure patties are packed in boxes that are purposely not sealed with tape, and 100 FDA A % loaded into refrigerated trailers backed pprov up to the shipping doors behind the ed plant. From there, they are shipped about 580 miles east to a third-party HPP facility, American Pasteurization Company in Milwaukee. Conveniently, most of the ground beef manufactured at the Columbus plant – including fresh and frozen product – is also shipped to the Mil- waukee area, which serves as a distri- bution point for Cargill, therefore, di- verting a limited amount of the fresh supply packed in vacuum pouches to APC isn’t a significant detour. “We ship to distributors all over the coun- PPI The Safer Paper try,” Dykstra says. Raw supplies re- ceived at the plant are processed for fresh patty production and are typi- 800-782-1703 cally shipped within a two-day win- dow, which includes the test-and- hold period utilized for all ground22 • Meat&Poultry • September 2011 •
  4. 4. FRESHER GROUND BEEF Ground beef is made using some product from the Schuyler plant and from other suppliers in the Midwest and Southwest. of shelf-life initially, Cargill and its customers realize a signifi cant net gain as the shelf-life of most fresh patties goes from an industry average of 21 days without HPP treatment to 42 days after treatment. HPP, a non-thermal food-safe- ty intervention, has been used com- mercially for years to successfully denature pathogens in fresh juices, processed fruits and vegetables and ready-to-eat whole-muscle and deli meats. As for treating ground beef, products destined for Cargill’s food- materials from the neighboring op- Cargill is the fi rst company to ap- service customers. The Columbus fa- eration. Other raw materials come ply the technology, which uses wa- cility benefits from its proximity to from other Cargill plants and from ter pressure on packaged food prod- the company’s beef-slaughter plant other suppliers operating in the Mid- ucts placed inside water-tight vessels. about 15 miles east in Schuyler, as it west and Southwest. According to research published by receives product like chuck, Angus While adding the HPP processing The Ohio State Univ.’s department chuck and Certified Angus Beef raw step might cost the company a sliver of food science and technology, HPP has some limitations on the types of products that can be treated, but for those it can be used on, it extends re- frigerated shelf-life and can be used to eliminate the risks associated with E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria. Be- sides APC, a number of third-party providers of HPP technology have recently come on line, including a fa- cility at Ohio State, giving food pro- cessors the opportunity to outsource the process without investing in the HPP equipment, which can range in cost from $500,000 to more than $2.5 million per unit. HPP for hire APC was founded in June 2004. The ownership group includes Justin Segel, president, who was also president of Emmpak Foods when it was acquired by Cargill in 2001. “In 2004, Cargill did some reor- ganizing and I chose not to move to Wichita. So my former CFO and I founded APC that year,” Segel says. Segel affectionately calls HPP “the mother of all batch systems.” “I remember during meetings in 2002 and 2003…no one thought HPP could be used for fresh meat products;24 • Meat&Poultry • September 2011 •
  5. 5. Breakthrough Disinfection For these applications: Meat brine chillers. Poultry chillers. Other poultry processing. RTE disinfecting rinses. Other process water.APC’s Edmund Wabiszewski (left) and Cargill’s Jan Hood stand by as ground beef is How we do it:treated using HPP technology. Justin Segel, APC president stands just behind them. Our exclusive patented catalytic was being used only for ready-to- the HPP process is conducted), a Powerful SuperOxidants™eat meat products and some non-meat 5,000-sq.-ft. adjacent cooler and generated from the processproducts, such as salsa and raisins. 10,000 sq. ft. of dry storage, says Ed- water itself. “Hats off to Cargill,” he adds. “It mund Wabiszewski, vice president of Other bene ts:took [two years] of stringent testing [of operations and a seven-year companyFressure product] and a lot of valida- veteran. About 100 people work at the Automated operation.tion. Cargill never gave up.” facility on two shifts, five days a week. No expensive chemicals Vacuum-packaged Fressure prod- “We will have four HPP units op- to buy.ucts are loaded into a pressure cham- erating by Aug. 26,” he says. “We have No chemical dosingber and water is added before sealing two Avure 215 liter vertical units; each headaches.the chamber. The chamber is pro- has a capacity of 10 million lbs. an- No restrictive chemical contracts.grammed to increase the pressure to a nually. We also have two Avure 350predetermined level and sustain it for horizontal units [one was being in- Compact installation.a set period of time. The chamber is stalled in late August], that each have Exclusive real-timethen decompressed and drained and a capacity of about 15 million lbs. of disinfection ef cacy estimate.product is removed. Dialing in the product per year. We can treat close tocorrect pressure and dwell times to 1 million lbs. of all products a week.” Jan Hood, senior product manag- To learn more, please contact:achieve the food-safety goals with-out effecting the appearance or tex- er with Wichita, Kan.-based Cargill Dave Wildesture of the product is a prerequisite for Value Added Meats Foodservice, says VP of Salesfood products being treated. Packag- HPP makes a significant food-safety 608-838-0300ing is not damaged nor is the product enhancement for Fressure products dwildes@bioionix.comcrushed because pressure is equally and demand for product is increasing.applied to all surfaces of the product. Segel calls Fressure’s extended The ground-beef product is then shelf-life “huge” because it gives end-sent to the pack-off area where pack- users more time to get a high-quali-ages are dried off, labels are applied, ty, fresh product through the supply BioIonix, Inc.and packing, bar coding and pallet- chain. “Before Fressure, there was a 4603 Triangle St.izing occurs, before being shipped di- lot of waste,” he says, which forced McFarland, WI 53558rectly to Cargill’s distributors. many foodservice operators into us- 608-838-0300 APC’s facility consists of 25,000 ing expiring product to make lower- www.bioionix.comsq. ft. of refrigerated space (where margin items, such as chili or spaghetti • September 2011 • Meat&Poultry • 25
  6. 6. FRESHER GROUND BEEF HPP makes a significant food-safety en- without opening all product pouches. hancement to Fressure products. In addition, each pouch is marked with a code-date for traceability.” with meat sauce. “This allows folks Significant packaging parameters to use a fresh product that address- are not necessary for the HPP pro- es many of the issues that sometimes cess – as long as the package is flex- come with fresh ground beef.” ible and has the seal strength to with- The health-care industry, in par- stand 15 percent compression, says ticular, offers opportunities for Fres- Greg Zaja, vice president of sales and sure products. “Many health-care pro- R&D and a long-time member of the viders use pre-cooked patties today. APC team. “Almost any packaging Fressure patties yield a much better will work through the high-pressure eating experience plus they provide a process,” he adds. “Most standard clean label,” Hood says. barrier bags work. Even some mod- Cargill featured an easy-peel fi lm ified atmosphere packaging works across the Fressure package since early [but at a slower throughput]. It’s more on in the process. “We have improved challenging when you’re working with this,” she adds. “Vacuum pouches containers. yield one stack of patties at a time so “You have to marry the film struc- you don’t have to expose all products ture along with the container and the in the package. The package has easy- product head space during the 15 per- to-see perforations giving the operator cent compression,” he says. “If that the ability to easily divide the package seal strength and the body of the film26 • Meat&Poultry • September 2011 •
  7. 7. FRESHER GROUND BEEF Besides labeling packages with the Fres- sure logo, production and packaging is the same for fresh patty processing. structure does not withstand that 15 percent compression and bounce back to form, you’re going to have issues.” In recent years, many fi lm suppli- ers have developed packaging with reseal features that better withstand the HPP process, Zaja says. Gaining momentum APC’s entire business is approximate- ly 80 percent meat-related and in- cludes treating beef, poultry, turkey, chicken, pork and sausages as well as the meat products treated at APC are Promising future exports. “We’re doing quite a bit of ready-to-eat items and the balance is Segel is high on the future of HPP product lately for export to Japan,” raw. “This mix may change dramati- in the US. “We’re going to see ex- Segel says, including fresh Bratwurst. cally in the next five months,” Segel ponential growth in product treated “The Japanese do not want product says teasingly looking at Hood. “As the with HPP as people realize the value frozen and then thawed when it gets Fressure idea catches fire, we may see proposition,” he predicts. “There are there – it has to be fresh.” more than patties. I know the technol- costs to anything you do to a product, Segel says as much as 90 percent of ogy also works beautifully on chubs.” but there’s also the value proposition to28 • Meat&Poultry • September 2011 •
  8. 8. consider. They may pay a little more the outsourcing arrangement works cluding turkey, Martin says, “We’llup front for Fressure products, but best. Bringing the processing step in- take a look, but it likely does not workthen they also shouldn’t endure mark house, he says, is “beyond the hori- well for some of the case-ready prod-downs, yield loss, waste and supply- zon.” While Cargill’s recent recall of ucts.” On the retail front, maintainingchain issues. Likewise, you’re not hav- 36 million lbs. of ground turkey might the ideal color for HPP-treated grounding to do short production runs and beg the question of ‘why not use HPP beef is another challenge that has notyou can do a better job of risk man- to treat other ground products,’ in- been perfected.agement on raw materials. “When we first started seven yearsago, everyone was talking about cost,”he adds. “Now we’re having moreconversations on what do we do withpackaging, how logistics work, whattests are needed to run and how a com-pany can adopt this technology.” Like any new product introduc-tion, preparing to rollout the Fres-sure products posed some initial chal-lenges, while also allowing Cargill toimprove some processes as it workedthrough some of the logistics. For ex-ample, shipping the Fressure pattiesinitially required adjusting the tem-perature of the shipping containers.“When we first started,” Dykstra says,“we were used to frozen shipments,”and in some cases shipping temper-atures were too cold, resulting in afrozen crust forming on some of thefresh patties. Simple temperature ad-justments were made and this logisti-cal hiccup was quickly addressed. An-other opportunity that arose duringthe development of the Fressure pro-gram involved modifying the shape ofthe patty papers used to separate eachburger, from square to octagon shape,which eliminated sealing issues andimproved appearance, Dykstra says. Outsourcing the process to APCand introducing HPP-treated groundbeef patties fi rst to foodservice cus-tomers made sense for a number ofreasons, company representatives say.Not having the financial burden of in-vesting in the equipment has an ob-vious benefit, while the foodservicesegment stood to gain the most by ex-tending shelf-life and having fewershipments. “Given the capital invest-ment and expertise required vs. thevolume being processed and the ex-pertise of APC,” says Mike Martin,Cargill’s director of communication, • September 2011 • Meat&Poultry • 29
  9. 9. FRESHER GROUND BEEF Fressure beef patties are currently only available for foodservice distribution. ments. “There has been a mix of small operators and those who were using frozen patties,” she says, “and now even some of the chains.” Being able to extend shelf-life also allows food- service operators to offer a natural burger that maintains freshness. For foodservice operators with multiple locations, Fressure burgers can play a key role in their “regional efforts to make everything more consistent sys- tem wide,” Hood says. Acceptance of HPP by Cargill’s customers and among consumers is an obvious prerequisite for the seg- Improved food safety combined “We found that many users of ment to grow. “Getting the industry to with sensory-based research indicating fully cooked patties are focused on understand that it’s a game changer,” the product’s original taste does not food safety,” Hood says, which often Dykstra says, isn’t a huge leap of faith. degrade as its shelf-life approaches ex- comes at the expense of freshness. The “natural” aspect of HPP treat- piration, the value proposition shoots Since the rollout of Fressure, demand ment is also appealing to Cargill’s cus- up exponentially, according to Hood. has spanned several foodservice seg- tomers, whereas with some other tech- nologies, including irradiation, some stigmas still exist. “With HPP you don’t have to put a Radura symbol Fast • Accurate Dicing! on it,” Hood points out. In terms of value and ROI for Car- with CES/Foodlogistik Dicers. gill and its customers, the application of HPP likely makes the most sense • Fresh & Tempered Meat for those serving premium products. • Poultry “Because it’s a batch-based system, • Cheese some costs are going to be incurred,” • Roasting Meat Dykstra says. However, “in the grand • Sausages scheme, the value and savings more • Cold Cuts than overcome the additional costs,” which come in the form of fewer ship- Foodlogistik dicers are perfect dicing and portioning ments for distributors and less waste of fresh or tempered frozen for foodservice operators. meat (up to -4º) Meanwhile, improving food safe- ty serves as icing on the cake for this • MS 84.21 • MS 100.3 • MS 120.4 segment, Hood says. • MS 84.3 • MS 105.3 • MS 120.5 “At Cargill, food safety is not some- • MS 100 • MS 120JM thing we take lightly. We continue to HABLAMOS ESPANOL LLAMAMOS HOY look for ways to enhance the safety of our food, to invest in technologies and also continue to be an innovation leader in products and food safety. Fressure underscores Cargill’s com- For more information contact: Don Ballein mitment to product innovation and CES/Foodlogistik U.S.A. • 2128 M So. Grove Ave. Ontario, CA 91761 U.S.A. food safety,” she concludes. ■ Tel (909) 947-8511 • Fax (909) 627-0087 Toll Free 1-888-278-0885 We would like to hear from you – to comment on this story or to request reprints, contact us by email at • Meat&Poultry • September 2011 •