‘Maintaining traceability is absolutely key for abattoirs and meat processing sites; and improving efficiency is vital too. Seemingly minor issues, like a carcase tag failing or a barcode not scanning, can seriously slow things down. Small improvements in the performance of carcase tags take away the headache and keep the line running smoothly.’
Our customer is a market leader in meat processing. Working with some 35,000 farmers, they are dedicated to developing a sustainable business model; minimising the environmental impact of meat production.
Their vision is to be the best at what they do, and they are committed to quality, efficiency, traceability and sustainability. That means investing in continuous improvement and innovation in every area of the business.
The Customer’s Challenge
Carcase tags are a vital part of the traceability process; ensuring that each and every cut of meat can be traced from farm to fork. A torn carcase tag or a barcode that won’t scan, not only causes expensive line stoppages, but can jeopardise meat traceability too.
One of our customer’s sites, not currently being supplied by Piroto, was experiencing a particular issue where carcase tags were ‘slipping’ as they were being over-printed, resulting in unclear text and barcodes. In turn, this led to poor barcode scanning and frequent line stoppages.
As a supplier of carcase tags to the majority of our customer’s UK sites, we were called upon to find a solution quickly to improve efficiency and get traceability back on track.
Having gained a full understanding of the issue, we set about discussing solutions. The first step was to test our recommended carcase tag material which has excellent strength and tear performance. We have been manufacturing carcase tags with this material for many years and it has proved to be superior to other materials generally used throughout the meat processing industry.
We also needed to ensure we were using the correct ink formulation to support the overprinting process.
We produced a trial carcase tag for the site to carry out full testing. The tag functioned better than the existing tags and worked exceptionally well through the printer.
Alongside producing the carcase tags, a stock holding agreement was also entered into. This means that Piroto manage the stocks and manufactures of carcase tags, relieving the burden of stock control on the customer’s site, freeing up administration time and giving peace of mind that tags will never run out.
What we delivered
We delivered a total of ten variations of polypropylene carcase tags made from our recommended material. The tag material is stronger down the web than across, and acts as if there is a ‘grain’ running across the tag. What this means in practical terms is that, unlike standard carcase tags, the Piroto tag is tear resistant into the tag hole, so eliminating down time due to failed tags.
The new ink formulation prevented the tags slipping in the printer; this means that the quality of the over-printed barcodes is improved, and poor scanning is no longer an issue.
The carcase tag design meets the requirements of EU Regulation No 999/2001 amended by Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/1396 for red striped tags used to identify carcases over 30 months old, as well as the sites own procedure to use blue striped tags to identify those under 30 months. Plus, the tag material has ISEGA food contact approval and is BPA free.
The impact on the customer’s business
With technical knowledge and years of experience in the raw meat sector, the Piroto team were able to develop a carcase tag that resolved all the issues identified, as well as adding further benefits too. Specific benefits include:
- carcase tags that solve over-printing issues, thus improving efficiency on site
- carcase tags made from an ISEGA approved material for use in the food sector
- carcase tags designed to meet EU Regulations on colour coding carcase age
- A stock holding agreement to ensure peace of mind that the site won’t run out of, or be over stocked with, carcase tags
- cost savings and an agreement to hold prices for a given period to ease budgeting.