A new method for detecting meat contamination that was developed in central Iowa is winning national acclaim. With the greater emphasis on consumer safety, many contraptions have emerged lately, but the inventors of the “Scat Scanner” say their item is different as it check for contamination during processing.Dr. Mark Rasmussen is a microbiologist at the U-S-D-A’s Agricultural Research Service office in Ames. Together with researchers at Iowa State University, Rasmussen developed the device, which scans for fecal material on meat using a beam of light.The scanner has been awarded a “2000 R-and-D Award” by R&D Magazine which is considered one of the “Oscars” of applied science. Dr. Rasmussen says the device has a fiber-optic probe that shines a pencil-thin beam of light onto the meat sample. A meter indicates the level of contamination.Rasmussen and his team hope the technology will soon be put to use in meat packing plants in Iowa and nationwide. About 30-Billion pounds of red meat are produced each year in the U-S and he says most methods for fecal contamination detection are only visual.
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