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Develop Imaging Technology for the Inspection of Poultry Products

Lawrence, Kurt
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
Start date
End date
  1. Evaluate the feasibility of imaging & other technologies for identification of surface contamination on poultry carcasses & processed meat.
  2. Determine optimal spectral regions & data preprocessing treatments for imaging contaminated meat.
  3. Develop algorithms to identify the site & type of contamination.
  4. Develop a real time on-line system for contaminate identification.
  5. Implement system to assist regulatory & industry personnel in attaining compliance, optimizing efficiency & providing a safe product.
More information
A real time on-line system will be developed to detect contamination of ingesta, feces, and other contaminants on poultry carcasses & processed meats. Visible &/or NIR spectroscopy will be evaluated with diode array technology using multispectral imaging techniques & with two-dimensional images using hyperspectral imaging techniques to determine optimum operating wavelengths and conditions. To aid in the evaluation of hyperspectral instrumentation & image processing techniques, collaboration with Institute of Tech. Development, Stennis Space Center, MS., & ARS Instrumental & Sensing Lab, BARC will be established. Once the optimum technique & spectral region are determined, algarithms will be developed to classify the type & location of the contaminate in real time. The system will then be calibrated & validated for carcasses contaminated in a processing plant environment at commercial line speeds. Cooperation will be established with FSIS personnel & processing plant management to ensure the technology meets their needs & standards.

PROGRESS: 2000/10 TO 2001/09

  1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it? Several deaths occur each year from public consumption of contaminated poultry and/or meat. This contamination by bacterial microorganisms has led the public to require more careful inspection of meat and poultry. Such microorganisms are most commonly found in the digestive tract of the animals and their excreted feces. Potential contamination can occur when feces or ingesta is deposited on the surface of the carcass. A hyperspectral imaging system has been built and a method, which can be used for further real-time processing application, has been developed for fecal and ingesta detection on meat surfaces.
  2. How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? Identification and separation of the birds contaminated by feces and/or crop ingesta is very important to protect the consumer from a potential source of food poisoning. To protect the consumer, FSIS has a zero- tolerance regulation for feces on poultry carcasses prior to the carcass entering the chiller. Identification and removal/cleaning of carcasses with contamination will also reduce further cross contamination during poultry processing. Regular machine vision systems are not effective in differentiating contaminated birds, because they have very limited spectral information which is necessary for positive identification. Therefore, new technology, such as hyperspectral imaging or imaging spectroscopy, which gives spatial, spectral, and radiometric information, could identify fecal and crop ingesta surface contamination on poultry
  3. How does it relate to the National Program(s) and National Component(s)? This research directly supports National Program 108 in Food Safety (Animal and Plant Products). The project is under Post harvest Activities: 2.1 Methodology, with Priority Objectives:, Develop methods for the automatic identification of pathophysiological, abnormalities, lesions, fecal contamination, ingesta and processing damage on animal carcasses.
  4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? A. Single Most Significant Accomplishment during the life of the CRIS: Fecal contamination on poultry carcasses is a potential source of food pathogens. We investigated imaging technologies for identification of fecal and ingesta contaminates on poultry carcasses. A method and an imaging system for near real-time fecal and ingesta detection on meat carcasses was invented. The invention has the potential to provide a science based inspection of carcasses on line for zero tolerance compliance. B. Other Significant Accomplishments: Nothing this fiscal year. C. Significant accomplishments/activities that support special target populations: Nothing this fiscal year.
  5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project including their predicted or actual impact. An imaging system and method was developed to provide a near real-time method of detecting fecal & ingesta contaminates on poultry/meat carcasses. The invention will impact industry by providing a technique to detect sources of potential food safety contaminates, by reducing subsequent slaughter plant stoppages resulting from contaminated carcasses, and by reducing the water usage within the plant.
  6. What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years? Final Report for CRIS 6612-42000-030-00D, Future plans listed on Annual Report for CRIS 6612-42000-034-00D.
  7. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints if known, to the adoption & durability of the technology product? After the patent has been filed (Docket No. 0164.00 Method and System for Real-Time Fecal and Ingesta Detection During Meat and Poultry Inspection) negotiations will be held with major poultry equipment companies to solicit an industry partner to transfer the technology.
  8. List your most important publications in the popular press (no abstracts) and presentations to non-scientific organizations and articles written about your work (NOTE: this does not replace your peer-reviewed publications which are listed below) Nothing to report
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
Project number
Accession number
Bacterial Pathogens
Meat, Poultry, Game