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Cargill invests $8 million in meat packaging plant


Cargill invests $8 million at its Fresno beef production facility for recently completed projects to expand its already extensive food safety efforts, and to renovate and expand some packaging lines.

 

An approximate $3.8 million investment involves the complete renovation and expansion of some ground beef packaging lines at the Fresno facility.  Finished products include packages of fresh ground beef that are transported by refrigerated trucks from the Cargill facility to distribution centers, then directly to grocery store meat cases.  New equipment has been installed in the production area, which enables the packaging lines to operate more effectively and efficiently to meet customer needs.

"Investing in our facilities is good business," says John Niemann, vp and GM. "Food safety is a top priority at Cargill that we take seriously every minute the facility is operating. Our shared goal, together with others in the industry, as well as federal regulatory agencies, is to continuously develop and implement new and better measures that further improve food safety."   

 

A $4.2 million expenditure, involves the installation of a hide-on-carcass wash that closely resembles a carwash for cattle in which the hides of animals are scrubbed with spinning bristles and a mild bromine solution that kills bacteria at the beginning of the harvesting process. This process helps better assure removal of dirt and debris while washing the animal's exterior, thereby minimizing the potential for contamination from bacteria that potentially pose a health risk to humans.


Used in concert with numerous food safety measures already in place that are aimed at reducing bacteria such as E-coli O157: H7, the hide-on-carcass wash provides Cargill's Fresno facility with another tool to reduce, and potentially eliminate, these randomly and naturally occurring bacteria.

 
The hide-on-carcass wash is a collaborative effort between WMR (Water Management Resources) and Cargill.  Using resources from both companies allowed Cargill to install a highly innovative piece of equipment that Cargill says could become the benchmark for the meat-packing industry after all final adjustments were made. Installation and testing of the hide-on-carcass wash was completed in late September and packaging line renovation work was recently completed.

Established in 1939, the business located at the Cargill site in Fresno eventually became Beef Packers, Inc.  Cargill purchased the Fresno beef facility in 2006.  The 60-acre facility currently harvests cattle during one shift Monday through Friday, with certain types of meat production and packaging taking place on multiple shifts during the week.  The facility's annual payroll was approximately $30 million in 2009, and more than $90 million was spent locally on goods and services (operating expenses) to support its operations last year.

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