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ID NEWS: Five top beef packers add portable pathogen scanning devices

Five major beef companies responsible for production of 80% of the nation's beef supply have selected new food safety technology of eMerge Interactive, Inc., Sebastian, FL, to use in conjunction with existing inspection systems.

Cargill, Inc.'s, Excel Corp., Farmland Industries' National Beef, Tyson Foods Corp., Swift & Co., and Smithfield Foods, Inc.'s Packerland division will utilize the VerifEYE Solo system to detect microscopic surface contaminants. That is, the light-weight, portable machine-vision system, which costs $7,000 per unit, can detect-through a fluorescent response--microscopic fecal matter. It is this type of residue that could contain such pathogens as E. coli 0157:H7, salmonella and listeria.

eMerge is touting the applicability of the technology throughout the supply chain, to aid in quality control. "A distribution center, for example, might be interested in using these devices to check incoming beef through the plastic packaging," David C. Warren, emerge president and ceo, told ID.

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