chicken poultry

Cargill will introduce SonoSteam technology to its Hereford chicken processing plant as part of its efforts to tackle campylobacter.

The technology, which was developed by Danish company Force Technology and uses combination of steam and ultrasound to kill microorganisms, will be operational in the Cargill facility by the end of 2015.

“Cargill takes its responsibility for food safety very seriously, and we know that reducing campylobacter levels requires interventions across the whole supply chain,” said Chris Hall, fresh chicken director for Cargill Meats Europe.

“We focused initially on our farms and primary processing and analysing our results in the first half of this year we have seen an improvement year on year of approximately 38%. However there is still more to do.”

Cargill’s poultry processing rival Faccenda has been trialling Sonosteam technology since last December, and published results earlier this year suggesting the technology can reduce campylobacter on the neck and breast skin of fresh, whole chickens by more than 80%.

Food Standards Agency (FSA) director of policy Steve Wearne welcomed Cargill’s decision to introduce the technology in its UK plant.

“SonoSteam is an innovative and effective way of reducing Campylobacter levels and Cargill should be applauded for making this investment in the fight against the bug,” he said.

“We look forward to seeing lower levels of Campylobacter on chickens sourced from Cargill on sale in shops and supermarkets.”

Cargill has spent over £35m upgrading its Hertfordshire plant over the past two years, with investments including an £11million chiller and ultraviolet light (UV) finished pack decontamination equipment.