A technology originally designed to let working parents keep an eye on their children is set to revolutionise the UK’s meat sector.
In theory, it could ultimately eliminate the need for inspectors to visit factories to carry out audits, and enable supermarket executives to monitor their suppliers’ factories 24 hours a day.
US firm Arrowsight was in the UK last week to introduce key players in the supply chain to its Remote Video Auditing package.
RVA has its background in a service in the US dubbed ParentWatch, which was formed to allow mothers and fathers to watch their kids in the nursery live over the internet.
In the US food sector, RVA works though cameras installed by security giant ADT, a partner in the venture, at critical control
points in factories. Images from these are transmitted to computers manned by Arrowsight’s trained food technologists. They carry out random checks through the day to ensure safety and quality procedures are adhered to.
When they are not, or if something goes awry, then Arrowsight can pinpoint when the key event occurred and review the incident using the video images recorded.
These images can also be sent to authorised personnel - likely to include senior staff at the processor and also at supermarket HQs - by way of a hyperlink in an e-mail.
Third-party inspectors issue weekly reports on performance in a plant.
Last week, Arrowsight executives held separate senior-level meetings with a leading meat processor and one of the UK’s top three multiples. They also met inspection body Checkmate International to discuss third-party certification.
Arrowsight will initially target the meat sector, but RVA could be used in any kind of food plant, as well as in abattoirs to monitor animal welfare.
Richard Clarke