IBM tracks pork chops from pig to plate
Technology viewed as helpful in limiting or preventing disease outbreaks in animals
Computerworld - IBM is deploying technology that allows meat suppliers to track a single pig all the way from farm animal to pork chop.
If you are a vegetarian or a fan of Miss Piggy, you may want to stop reading here. But, otherwise, what IBM is working on in China may limit or prevent disease outbreaks in animals.
IBM is taking supply chain technology that it first used in the pharmaceutical industry to track pills from the manufacturer to retail stores and is applying it to the pork industry.
Pigs are identified with a barcoded ear tag. The tag is used to track the various pig parts as they pass through the slaughterhouse, processing plant, distribution center and finally to the clear plastic-wrapped package in a grocer's case.
If a consumer buys three pork chops in a package, "you know that these three pieces of pork chop came from pig number 123," said Paul Chang, who leads global strategy for emerging technologies at IBM.
The identification coding isn't on the meat, but on the bins used in the processing plant and then on the store's packaging.
For sausages, the system performs the aggregation that identifies the pigs that were part of the lot number used to make the sausage.
China's interest in the tracking technology stems from an outbreak in 2006-07 of blue-ear pig disease, an infectious reproductive and respiratory illness.
The swine disease led to a pork shortage and sent prices soaring as the government worked to control the outbreak. In the U.S. and globally, there was worry that the disease could spread.
IBM has built algorithms that can analyze the data and assess risk levels to try to quickly identify problems. It could categorize some shipments, for instance, from some suppliers as high risk and then target inspection and testing resources to potential problem areas, "and hopefully prevent an outbreak," Chang said.
Tracking system sensors also record the temperature and humidity of the pork at each step of the way -- anything that can affect the quality of the product.
The system being installed in China does not monitor the pig's health, such as the animal's temperature, weight and feeding habits. But Chang said the platform, which sits in a cloud as a hosted system, can do these health-monitoring measures and said there are companies interested in having them.
If you are monitoring an animal's eating habits and weight, you "can get some sense of whether the animal is healthy or not," Chang said. The technology will also identify the animal's physical location, and other animals it has come in contact with, he said.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Live Webcast Best Practices: How to Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization VMware solutions include a range of business continuity capabilities to help ensure availability for applications across your virtualized environment. Learn More>>
- Live Webcast
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!