Addressing Your Bone Problem Head-On

If you talk to fans of the Winter Olympic Games about their favorite event, you’ll get a variety of answers, from curling to bobsled. If you ask about the most dangerous event, there’s an answer that comes up more often than almost any other: Skeleton. The near-perfect inverse of luge (high-intensity, feet-first sledding) skeleton features a competitor riding a slide headfirst down a track at speeds approaching 80 miles per hour. It is not an event for the faint of heart!

As we continue our series drawing comparisons between how FlexXray helps food producers tackle foreign material contamination and the excitement of the Winter Olympics, Skeleton brings to mind a problem we see as much (if not more) than any other—bone fragments in meat and poultry products.

Bone can be devilishly tricky to detect, particularly at the Skeleton-like speeds of inline detection equipment and processes. Bone density can vary widely, not just between origin species but from animal to animal. As experts in the foreign material space, we have a deep appreciation and understanding of how equipment sensitivity levels can impact rejection rates. 

In our experience, bone-related foreign material issues in finished products stem from one of two sources: (1) deboning equipment that is degraded or broken, or (2) inline equipment that hasn’t been (or can’t be) properly calibrated to detect it.

In the first case, the foreign material issue is typically detected when rejection rates rise but can sometimes come from the worst possible source—consumer complaints. If the former occurs, your processing volume can impact your ability to mitigate foreign material in-house. Hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds of food, can end up on QA hold due to rejection or end up needlessly disposed of. If the latter occurs, you may find yourself racing headlong towards a serious loss of product, a supply chain OOS crisis, or even a recall.

In the second case, where equipment hasn’t been or can’t be calibrated properly to find bone foreign material, density is a common culprit. If your equipment can’t detect bone cartilage, you can miss fringe foreign material that leads to consumer complaints. If your equipment is highly sensitive, you can end up wasting quality product.

Bone contamination in meat and poultry products is a major issue for producers. While inline detection technologies continue to improve, consumers are increasingly aware of the issues of foreign material in products, including bone, in nominally boneless products.

That’s why you need FlexXray as a partner. Your business needs to be racing forwards, so we “hit the brakes” for you. Our custom x-ray technology and processes combine to overcome the issues that prevent producers from resolving their bone problems. When you need a partner to keep you hurtling forward without risking your profits and reputation, you need FlexXray. Call us or email us today.

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