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CAAIN announces meat processing challenge recipients

Canada exports over half of its processed beef and 70% of its pork to international markets.

August 16, 2023

2 Min Read
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The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network has announced the two recipients the $5 million Beef and Pork Primary Processing Automation and Robotics Program it launched in March 2022 to foster the development and adoption of innovative technology-based solutions to challenges facing red meat processors.

“Our team is pleased to support these two projects as they seek to improve Canada’s red meat primary processing sector,” said Darrell Petras, CAAIN’s CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted ongoing industry issues associated with labor shortages, worker safety and productivity, and supply chain disruptions. Because we engaged beef and pork industry stakeholders in broad-based consultations and one-on-one discussions to determine key priorities, we’re confident the projects we selected will make a real difference. Both recipients will employ state-of-the-art technology to automate specific elements of small and medium-sized processing plants. In the long term, their efforts will advance the safety and profitability of Canada’s red-meat sector, thereby contributing to our country’s food security.”

CAAIN’s mandate from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is to focus its funding on technological advancements of importance to the agri-food sector. This announcement is further evidence of the organization’s commitment to supporting the development of technology needed to advance Canadian agriculture and primary food processing.

“The projects we’re unveiling today are seeking solutions to different issues,” said Petras. “One, led by Manitoba-based mode40, uses a meat quality management system to standardize and automate cooling of beef and pork carcasses. The other is run by Waterloo, Ontario’s, P&P Optica, and focuses on optimizing pork production by improving and integrating sources of data available from and to stakeholders along the supply chain. Despite their differences, both groups have two things in common. First, is their use of the latest technology, including artificial intelligence, to advance the sector. Second, is their shared goal of improving meat quality and food safety. Those factors, their attention to detail, and the quality of the partnerships they have created to deliver their results, tipped the scales in their favour, and convinced us to support the projects.”

When added to the $23.4M CAAIN expects to provide to the 23 successful applicants of its first three competitions, the $3.5M that will be used to support these beef and pork processing projects pushes CAAIN’S funding commitments to nearly $27M.

“Canada already exports over half of its processed beef and 70 percent of its pork to international markets. With increased demands for food security world-wide, these volumes will only increase in the future. These initiatives will advance technologies to help Canadian producers meet the needs of tomorrow globally," said Laura Kilcrease, chair, CAAIN Board of Directors.

To read about the mode40 project, click here.

To read about, P&P Optica project, click here.

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