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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory » Research » Research Project #440708

Research Project: Detection of Contaminants and Sanitation Inspection in Poultry Processing Environments

Location: Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-42000-021-009-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2021
End Date: Jul 31, 2024

There is a need to develop and implement technologies that can detect contamination, enhance food safety, and increase public confidence in the poultry processing system. The objectives of the collaborative research are to 1) develop a handheld portable imaging device with enhanced capabilities for Contamination and Sanitation Inspection (CSI) in food processing environments; 2) study the ability of CSI for contamination detection on processing equipment surfaces and on poultry carcasses; 3) validate the application of CSI as a tool for pre-op inspection in poultry processing and further processing environments.

An improved version of the portable handheld imaging device containing a user-friendly App for image enhancement functions/inspection management will be evaluated and validated in poultry processing environments. A study will be conducted to determine the ability of the developed CSI technology to detect indicators of potential pathogenic contamination on food-contact processing surfaces composed of different materials (stainless steel, rubber etc.). The imaging device’s built-in UV disinfection feature will be used with three different exposure times to decontaminate surfaces and subsequent pathogen survival will be analyzed (e.g., Listeria monocytogenes). After the laboratory studies, we will take the equipment to the Auburn University Poultry Processing Plant (includes further processing) to inspect processing surfaces before and after cleaning and sanitation operations. The plant is cleaned and sanitized by a commercial sanitation crew, mimicking standard industry practice. The device will also be used to conduct pre-op inspection to determine the cleanliness of the surfaces.