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Transparency in food safety is a powerful desire of the consumer. This need for clarity is even more in demand in the meat and fresh produce industry, especially after the food scandals in the sector in recent years and months. In France, there are 265 slaughterhouses, yet little production information is available. IoT and RFID can change this. One question remains: is transparency really what the industry wants? Discover the benefits of RFID in slaughterhouses through the example of the Sénécal client.

Tracing animals from birth to the plate: Sénécal client case study

Sénécal is a poultry slaughterhouse based in Cahagnes in Normandy. We implemented a traceability and monitoring system in the poultry supplier's slaughterhouses using the UBI Supply Chain Food Track solution. The aim of traceability in the food industry is to control operations more efficiently:

  • Production;

  • Inspection;

  • Shipment.

This provides the consumer with greater transparency of information. Sénécal uses RFID technology to gain visibility of its poultry production chain. To do this, the company has installed: 

  • A complete RFID solution to trace the poultry from the farmer to the consumer.

  • Three cameras in the slaughterhouses to show the conditions in which the animals are killed.

The food traceability system

The complete RFID solution, provided by UBI Solutions to the poultry company, includes the following elements:

  • RFID tags corresponding to each batch of poultry to track their movements until shipment. It is positioned on the first chicken of the batch. A mechanical sensor shows the exact number of pieces in the batch, an end-of-batch tag stops the counting.

  • Mobile or fixed readers for employees to scan the RFID tags.

  • UBI Manager or UBI Cloud software to access information collected throughout the food production chain (e.g., number of birds in real time at each stage).

  • QR codes created to allow the distributor, but also the final consumer, to trace the steps or to obtain production information.

Deploying an RFID solution in the food industry brings benefits:

  1. Real-time tracking of food products: increase the traceability of products but also of operations throughout the preparation of poultry.

  2. Food safety: alerts in case of anomaly in the production chain. Shops or consumers are warned. They can therefore quickly find poultry that is not fit for consumption.

  3. Transparency of information: providing retailers and consumers with access to unprecedented information about poultry, such as the date the animal was slaughtered, the type of feed it was given and the conditions in which it was reared. This information is obtained by scanning the QR code found on the poultry's packaging.

Traçabilité des volailles Senecal

The video surveillance system of the slaughterhouse

Live video surveillance of the slaughter area is the second technological solution installed by UBI Solutions at Sénécal. In this customer case, three cameras were installed.

  1.  In the stunning box: to check the settings of the machines.

  2. In the bleeding box: to check that working conditions are complied with.

  3. During hanging: to ensure that no animal mistreatment takes place.

An RFID chip is installed at the beginning and end of the production line to trigger the camera as the animals circulate. Access to the images is via a web platform.

As well as asset tracking, video surveillance in slaughterhouses is beneficial in several ways:

  1. Ensuring food safety: the images collected can be provided to veterinarians to support their controls. You can also make them available to NGOs or to the farmers supplying you.

  2. Enhance the value of slaughterhouse work: show that a slaughterhouse can work properly if the staff are trained. Prove the application of laws on the treatment of animals.

  3. Raising awareness among employees: possibility of more controls on the work done in the slaughterhouse. The company thus ensures that all killing conditions are respected. That there is no animal suffering.

Transparency in the food industry with IoT: are manufacturers ready?

The 2018 Agriculture and Food Law had invited French slaughterhouses, on a voluntary basis, to set up a video surveillance system in their building. However, its application stays rare today.

Which data, for which actors ?

With the IoT, loads of types of information can reach consumers:

  • Region of rearing;

  • Date of birth of the animal;

  • Date of slaughter;

  • Video of the farm.

This data is sensitive, which is why it can be difficult for most manufacturers to communicate it. Making available the information on the production of meat erases any secrecy between the different actors in the chain:

  • The breeder;

  • The slaughterhouse;

  • The health services;

  • The distributor;

  • The consumer.

Good to know food safety in slaughterhouses

In France, the rules for killing animals are harmonised at European level by the EC Regulation N° 1099/2009. Slaughterhouse operators have a duty to take the necessary measures to ensure the protection of animals when they die. Although killing is involved, it must be processed without pain, distress, or suffering. A veterinary service is mandatory in the establishments to control the meat produced, but also the protection of the slaughtered animals.

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Transparency: a real asset for a company.

Developing transparency in the slaughterhouse allows an industry to support its competitiveness on the market. Food consumption trends are changing, today's customers want to eat locally, but also responsibly. By displaying data, companies provide consumers with what they are looking for: the truth about the processes as well as the products. For ethical, health and environmental reasons, they favour French breeding. Consumers want to eat quality meat, which is why they are looking for information on health controls.

 As a manufacturer, you gain by tracing but also by making your processes visible:

  • Reduction of administrative time: possible thanks to the automation of animal inventory processes or automatic data storage. You also save time during controls.

  • Increase in turnover: our customer Sénécal has noted an increase of 7%. This is the results of the time saved, but also the reduction of errors and a better customer experience.

  • Securing your products: if a health problem is detected, the information is sent to the Cloud. The product is then blocked at the supermarket checkout when the label is read.

With our solution, you always have control over the sharing of your production data. You can make your information available on demand and then select the information you want to track!

 Three key points to remember:

  • Our client Sénécal installed RFID chips to track its poultry. It has also set up a video surveillance system in its slaughterhouses.

  • Meat industries that are transparent about their processes are rare. Yet, the RFID solution offers benefits: customer experience, time saving, increased turnover.

  • UBI Solutions' proposal is adaptable. You choose which data is stored and then decide its access.

Thanks to our IoT technologies, you can meet the consumer demand for food transparency. Our traceability solution dedicated to the food sector is available for other sectors: dairy products, other meats, agricultural products... Find all the information about the UBI Food Supply Chain Track solution on our website!

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Renaud Munier

Renaud Munier