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Cargill invested $8 million at its Fresno, Calif., beef production facility for recently completed projects to expand its already extensive food safety efforts, and to renovate and expand some packaging lines.
The larger of the two expenditures, $4.2 million, 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.
“People expect safe food, and Cargill’s Fresno beef facility prides itself on producing safe, fresh, quality meat products,” said John Niemann, VP/GM. “It’s the meat that families of our 830-plus employees eat, and it’s the meat millions of additional consumers eat, so we work hard to deliver the safest products possible to all of our retail and foodservice customers. Our shared goal is to continuously develop and implement new and better measures that further improve food safety.”
Water used for the hide-on-carcass wash process is treated and reclaimed using cutting-edge wastewater treatment technology. “We are sensitive to regional water needs in California and the Central Valley, and feel it is important to ensure any water we use at our beef processing facility is properly treated, reused for other purposes and meets water quality and environmental standards when it is discharged,” Niemann explained.
A second $3.8 million capital expenditure 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 facility s is good business,” Niemann said. “We are responsive to customer needs and realize that we are in business to help them succeed. When our customers are successful and prosper, that translates into a stronger, mutually beneficial, business relationship and profitable growth for both organizations.”
Established in 1939, the business located at the Cargill site in Fresno eventually became Beef Packers Inc. Cargill purchased the 60-acre Fresno beef facility in 2006.