September 14, 2023

Building a BioBarrier: Modern Defense Systems in the War Against Salmonella

By Arjun Ganesan, CEO @ Ancera

The poultry industry stands on the precipice of transformation.

Skyrocketing production costs and heightened public vigilance, fueled by documentaries like Netflix's "Poisoned", underscore the urgency for new approaches. Amidst these challenges, companies grapple with transitioning from legacy systems to meet new regulatory standards.

Tragically, many still lean on disjointed and outdated methods. The problem is akin to the United States’ challenge to secure the Southern border with thousands of miles of concrete and chainlink fences to complement the thousands of CBP agents manually patrolling inhospitable desert. Anduril and a coalition of Silicon Valley data geeks found bi-partisan support for a more modern, effective, and fiscally responsible solution in a “Virtual Wall” — a network of sensor towers and analytics systems to alert and deploy limited CBP resources precisely when and where they were needed.


Today’s modern poultry supply chains face a similar challenge, where a network of overstretched lab workers armed with petri dishes test 1 in a few tens of thousands of chicken carcasses. In the modern era of big data and advanced biotechnology we can and should do better. And we need to do better because new regulations may require producers to monitor for Salmonella before birds enter the plant.

That’s where Ancera comes into the picture. In the face of such a complex microbial landscape, we contend that poultry producers need more than just patchy defenses. They require a robust "BioBarrier", fortified by advanced digital surveillance and analytics, to guard against the myriad threats looming in the food industry.

Decoding the Contemporary Landscape

Compliance: Beyond just regulatory checkboxes, the escalating costs and resources associated with compliance weigh heavily on poultry producers. Traditional testing methods are proving insufficient—they are hindered by tedious processes as well as results not synchronized with context can lead to deep consequential operational interruptions.

Productivity: Initially a food safety challenge, Salmonella now also impacts productivity and financial performance. Resources for sanitation and interventions are thinly stretched, resulting in a sub-optimal response.

Brand Equity: The ripple effects of a single product recall, amplified in our digital age, can tarnish a brand's reputation for years. Beyond the immediate financial implications, businesses wrestle with long-term legal repercussions and a dwindling market trust.

Current strategies, fragmented and reactive, resemble a frail fence more than a formidable barrier. The significant resources, often to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, funneled into post-harvest solutions and sanitation often miss the mark due to diagnostic methods that lack sophisticated testing strategies and real-time precision.

Designing the Modern BioBarrier

At Ancera, our philosophy resonates with the belief: "Measure it. Now fix it. And do it again!"

Our innovative approach combines rigorous science with data analytics to produce tangible results:

Comprehensive Surveillance: Drawing inspiration from how intelligence agencies map every nook and cranny before deploying troops into combat, we adopt a granular approach to Salmonella detection. Armed with state-of-the-art CRISPR-SeroSeq technology, we identify multiple variants of Salmonella, revealing concealed risks in your supply chain.

Real-time Feedback: Moving beyond the sporadic data points of traditional diagnostics, we deliver a continuous stream of analytics, providing clients with the insights they need to recalibrate their strategies promptly. Our customers have an enormous operational footprint and need to know precisely when and where threats occur, as well as the outcome in each intervention.

Operational Supremacy: Acknowledging the dual threat posed by Salmonella, our solutions are designed to drive both safety and profitability. Our customers today are focused on improving their USDA FSIS Salmonella category, investigating transmissions between breeders and broilers, and identifying production optimization opportunities at the plant. Whether it’s resource optimization or yield enhancement through data insights, our arsenal is comprehensive.

Pioneering the Future of Salmonella Defense

For too long, the industry and public perception have viewed food safety and productivity as inversely related functions. We know that with superior data and insights food safety and productivity should be mutually reinforcing, allowing companies that simultaneously improve the efficiency, safety, and quality of their products. Objective 3rd party information has the power to reduce waste in our production systems and ultimately reveal what control programs are working and their level of efficiency. However, when it comes to adopting these information systems, the poultry industry is at a disadvantage compared to the manufacturing industry due to the complex nature of living organisms, requisite industry expertise, and a shrinking workforce.

Inaction can be as dangerous as regression. We argue that, without detailed data, instant feedback, and operational supremacy, companies risk microbial intruders that threaten consumers and business outcomes. It's easy to live with age-old practices, but in doing so, you may find your moats and drawbridges cost more than they secure.

At Ancera, we’re dedicated to simplifying this digital journey. Our on-demand model ensures seamless integration into your system without additional overhead expenditure. If you’re intent on fortifying your operations with the market’s most advanced "BioBarrier", let’s collaborate. Your feedback will be instrumental in safeguarding the industry’s future.