APRIL 3–SEBASTIAN, Fla.– eMerge Interactive, Inc., a technology company providing food safety services to the beef-production industry, says Excel Corp., a
U.S. beef processor and a wholly owned subsidiary of Cargill Incorporated, has entered into an equipment and technology license agreement for eMerge’s first
commercial VerifEYECarcass Inspection system (CIS).
VerifEYE helps meat processors detect the presence of microscopic levels of possible organic contamination that might harbor bacteria such as E.coli 0157:H7 and to verify extensive safeguards already in place to minimize the possibility of outbreaks of deadly pathogens at the commercial level. The CIS system provides automated, real-time inspection of each carcass at full line speeds up to 450 head/900 sides per hour.
The visual displays provide a virtual roadmap to aid employees in identifying and removing contamination and improving plant processes, while helping to reduce costly over-trimming. Long-term processing improvements can be maintained through the use of detailed data reports, helping to identify trends in real-time as they occur.
“We’ve engineered this system to accommodate modern, high-speed operations,” said David C. Warren, eMerge’s chief executive officer. “The system automatically scans carcasses on the rail, automatically rerouting any carcasses still showing traces of contamination to a trimming area. The system also pinpoints the tainted areas on a digital display, to assist with the eradication of those traces.
The system then routes these carcasses back through scanning for a final check prior to further microbial intervention.”
The system will be installed in Excel’s Schuyler, Neb. beef processing facility next month. The plant, which processes over 1 million head of cattle annually, has played animportant role the past 12 months in helping eMerge finalize production specifications.
“We are extremely pleased that our joint efforts over the past year have resulted in this commercial installation,” Warren said. “From the start, Excel officials have recognized the contribution VerifEYE technology could make to food safety. When it comes to quality control and food safety, Excel has always been one of the most progressive, innovative and pro-active companies in the U.S. This license agreement is just one more example of its commitment to delivering beef products of the highest quality.”
Terms of the license agreement were not disclosed, but eMerge officials said that the agreement reached with Excel, their development partner, is similar to what will be available to comparable beef processing plants in the
industry, which includes a three-year term, a one-time capital license fee of $200,000, payable up-front when the order is placed, and a $450,000 annual licensing fee that is payable monthly.
“We are very impressed with VerifEYE’s ability to flag possible contamination that’s invisible to the naked eye,” stated Bill Rupp, executive vice president of Excel.
Early field trials at the University of Florida have shown a high correlation between contamination detected by the VerifEYE system and microbial contamination on the carcass, which will be further examined in a meat packing plant.