The United States, Canada and Brazil, all major meat producers and exporters, have adopted technology at a slower pace than Northern Europe or Japan and lagged other industrial factories in automating their operations, according to a news report from Reuters. The number of COVID-19 incidents in the meatpacking industry in the Americas may have resulted from very close working conditions.
Accelerating the move to automation would increase food security and improve plant safety, says Reuters, but such plans may be unaffordable during tough economic times. In addition, workers may fear they are being replaced, not protected.
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According to the report, Cantrell Gainco, which sells Japanese manufacturer Mayekawa’s chicken deboning equipment, has fielded twice the usual number of inquiries since the pandemic spread to North America, said Russ Stroner, vice president of global sales. A Mayekawa statement revealed that global sales of its chicken deboning robot parts are set to rise from $32 million in 2019 to $45 million this year and $60 million in 2021, says Reuters, including North American sales this summer to Tyson, Sanderson Farms and Peco Foods.
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