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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #343638

Research Project: Precipitation and Irrigation Management to Optimize Profits from Crop Production

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Documentation of 50% water conservation in a single process at a beef abattoir. Meat Science

Author
item Drennan, C - West Texas A & M University
item Deotte, Robert - West Texas A & M University
item Lawrence, Ty - West Texas A & M University

Submitted to: Meat Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/17/2017
Publication Date: 6/1/2017
Citation: Drennan, C.L., Deotte, R.E., Lawrence, T.E. 2017. Documentation of 50% water conservation in a single process at a beef abattoir. Meat Science. 131:183-186.

Interpretive Summary: Water availability from the Ogallala aquifer is declining. Beef slaughter is water intensive due to stringent food safety requirements. However, water use by slaughter facilities are high value use. Therefore, scientists in the ARS led Ogallala Aquifer Program from West Texas A&M University conducted a study at a commercial beef processor to demonstrate water conservation by modifying the mechanical head wash. The modified mechanical washer cleaned beef heads as well as the standard washer but used 48% less water. These results are of interest to beef slaughter plants using water from the aquifer.

Technical Abstract: Beef slaughter is water intensive due to stringent food safety requirements. We conducted a study at a commercial beef processor to demonstrate water conservation by modifying the mechanical head wash. We documented the initial nozzle configuration (112 nozzles), water pressure (275 kPa), and flowrate (152 L/head washed), then developed a 3-D CAD model to identify regions of water use redundancy. The mechanical head wash was modified by reducing nozzle count (72), decreasing pressure (138 kPa) and flowrate (78.4 L/head). To objectively document visual cleansing, heads were photographed at three locations post decapitation: 1) prior to manual wash, 2) prior to entering, and 3) upon exit of the mechanical head wash. Changes in red saturation between stations 1 and 3 provided an objective measure of relative cleanliness. Prior to altering operating parameters, the post-wash red saturation was 5%; after modification this increased slightly to 7.5%. Water use was reduced by 48.4% without altering head cleanliness acceptance.