To ensure water quality and safety under the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the amount of various types of nutrients that can be discharged from point sources into nearby lakes, streams, or reservoirs. For the poultry industry, this means reducing the amount of phosphate (the inorganic form of phosphorus) in processing wastewater prior to discharge.
Earlier this year I had the honor of participating in the University of Georgia’s Agricultural Economic Forecast Seminar Series (Georgia Ag Forecast). During the tour, which included stops in Gainesville, Cartersville, Lyons, Bainbridge, Tifton, and Macon, I was reminded of what a great community of people we have working in agriculture in this state. While each part of the state may produce a variety of different products from poultry to peanuts and cotton to corn, the people who produce them are largely the same — down-to-earth, hard-working, warm, and welcoming folks who are passionate about agriculture and its contributions to Georgia.
In order to reduce core temperatures and control microbial activity on processed poultry, carcasses are currently immersed in specialized chillers. These large tanks are typically filled with chilled water that cools the carcasses to temperatures needed to inhibit pathogen growth, which are typically around 4°C. The process, however, uses a considerable amount of water and energy along with the additional cost of chemical disinfectants. Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) are exploring the use of ice slurry as an alternative chilling medium.
Billions of gallons of water are used every year in poultry processing plants across the country. Water is used in just about every processing step, not to mention sanitation and maintenance tasks. Natural resource sustainability is a top priority of the poultry industry, and processors continue to look for ways to conserve, reuse, or recycle water.
Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) believe computer modeling tools may help by simulating plant water usage, giving processors a new tool to help pinpoint areas for water savings.
There are a lot of moving parts in the poultry and egg industry. To name a few, there are genetics research, live production, food safety, processing, sales, marketing, and distribution. And, although often overlooked, there are also major trucking operations within the industry. Many poultry firms have hundreds, even thousands of trucks on the road every day delivering eggs to hatcheries; feed, chicks, or poults to farms; birds to processing plants; and finished products to customers.
The food processing industry, although different from traditional manufacturing, has numerous similarities. Plants and processes are set up based on manufacturer’s needs; quality control measures are put into place; and metrics and return on investment are important to upper management.
So, how can food manufacturers, and especially poultry manufacturers, put measures into place to continuously improve?
On April 23, the Agricultural Technology Research Program (ATRP) held its annual Advisory Committee Meeting. Project directors provided committee members with an update on program research projects as well as technology transfer and outreach activities. A round-table session was also held where committee members provided feedback and discussed future research opportunities, challenges, and directions with researchers.
The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has released a new video that provides a look at how chickens and turkeys are processed in the United States. The video takes a behind-the-scenes look at today’s high-tech, highly efficient poultry processing plants and highlights the food safety and sanitation practices employed by the modern poultry industry
The video is viewable on USPOULTRY’s website, www.uspoultry.org.
October 9 - 18, 2015
Georgia National Fair
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