Birko BLAST System Installed at American Beef Packers: Antimicrobial Intervention System Safely Generates Hypobromous Acid

June 14, 2011

HENDERSON, Colo.—In response to the growing demand for greater food safety, particularly in meat and poultry, Birko has developed the Birko BLAST, a hypobromous acid-based intervention system for killing pathogenic bacteria during processing.

The BLAST – or Bromine Liquid Antimicrobial System Technology – safely generates hypobromous acid by automatically blending a liquid precursor, HB2, with sodium hypochlorite. The BLAST system injects the generated hypobromous into the water line, feeding a cabinet where the solution is applied in a high volume flood. Birko is a master distributor for HB2, manufactured by Enviro Tech Chemical Services, Modesto, Calif.

Elis Owens, B. SC, Ph.D., Birko chemist/microbiologist and member of the BLAST development team, demonstrates the hypobromous acid-based intervention system for killing pathogenic bacteria during processing.

Designed for use by large processors, the first Birko BLAST system was recently installed at American Beef Packers, Inc., Chino, Calif., and is being used in their bone dust wash cabinet, a primal spray cabinet and a trim spray cabinet.

“We are focused on having the very best food safety program in the industry and the Birko BLAST is part of our aggressive intervention process,” said Wade P. Carrigan, president of American Beef Packers, Inc.

“We are excited to work with American Beef Packers on their food safety and intervention processes,” said Mark Swanson, Birko’s chief executive officer.

The BLAST was installed at American Beef Packers’ Chino plant in mid-March.

“The Birko BLAST safely controls the risks and inconsistencies involved in generating hypobromous acid by automatically mixing the two precursor solutions,” said Dr. Elis Owens, who was part of the BLAST development team at Birko. “With this automated system, there’s almost no need for packing house employees to handle the chemicals directly. The BLAST is improving the safety of the food chain as well as the safety of workers. It’s taken a potentially hazardous process and made it as safe as possible.”

Hypobromous acid is a USDA and FDA-approved antimicrobial intervention with demonstrated efficacy against E. coli and Salmonella, with initial testing showing a
1-to-2-log reduction in E. coli O157:H7. It is approved for use on carcasses, offal and all primals, sub-primals, cuts and trim at concentrations up to 300 ppm.

The BLAST offers processors the ability to add another intervention step with little added cost.

The BLAST unit incorporates a Process Logic Controller with a remotely mounted touch screen control panel that shows real-time data on system status and operation. A password-protected secondary screen allows an operator to adjust system control parameters without having to connect a laptop to the PLC. It includes an audible alarm for system faults.

The current BLAST system is high capacity, delivering 300 gallons per minute of 300 ppm hypobromous acid. Birko is developing BLAST systems with a smaller capacity, intended for small-to-medium sized users.

About Birko

Birko is a leader in providing food safety solutions to the protein processing, food and beverage industries. Birko manufactures more than 250 cleaning, sanitation and production process chemicals, as well as specialized delivery equipment for meat, poultry, pork, produce and brewery applications. Birko also provides solutions used in antimicrobial interventions. Many Birko products are listed on the USDA NOP (National Organic Program) list of allowed products for use by organic processors, and many others are based on environmentally preferable or “environmentally neutral” formulas. Founded in 1953, Birko is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise and was awarded Supplier of the Century by the National Meat Association.

About American Beef Packers

Based in Chino, Calif., American Beef Packers, Inc., is a slaughterhouse and meat processing and packing operation. Headed by Wade “Pat” Carrigan, president, American Beef Packers is equipped to slaughter and process beef, pork, veal or lamb.