In poultry processing, chilling is undoubtedly a crucial step to prevent microbial growth, maximize both product safety and shelf life, and attain high-quality meat that conforms to the food safety standards. While the poultry chilling techniques and solutions have undergone a drastic makeover with advancements in technology, according to Bryan Johns, president of Morris & Associates, the shortage of talented labor to efficiently operate and maintain the chilling equipment continues to be a pressing challenge. Since 1949, Morris & Associates—a leading manufacturer of custom poultry chilling equipment—has been rising to this issue by designing and producing innovative, efficient systems for chilling poultry and producing ice for industrial applications. Johns notes, “We focus primarily on immersion chilling and pathogen control, and manufacture products that are capable of operating on their own, reducing the need for chiller operators in a plant. Our HMI products are highly intuitive and can function in various native languages without the help of a dedicated operator.” Besides, in an understaffed poultry market, Morris & Associates empowers clients with additional support by providing them with qualified personnel who can perform preventative maintenance and mitigate downtime.
Unlike traditional chilling systems, the company is focused on building equipment that does not rely on the skills of the operators in a plant. To that end, Morris & Associates brings in automated chilling solutions that eliminate the variation in yield amount. To address the variability issues in poultry plants, Morris & Associates has designed a robust MT Chiller to efficiently get rid of totes and combos. With its innovative chiller technology, the company has successfully narrowed down an otherwise wide standard deviation curve, both in terms of yield and temperature. In addition, Morris & Associates has patented its COPE (Continuous Online Pathogen Eliminator) technology to assist plants in complying with the FSIS whole bird and parts regulation for pathogen control by reducing salmonella populations in bird parts. In the early 2000s, as FSIS focused on strictly measuring whole bird salmonella numbers, Morris & Associates developed a product that could provide a desired and consistent residence time with specific application of biocide to help poultry processing plants mitigate salmonella.
Though the initial problem was addressed back then, within a few years, the challenge doubled when USDA started to separately investigate salmonella count on different bird parts. By leveraging its decades of experience, Morris & Associates customized its existing technology to better fit customers’ needs.
The previous technology, which operated with 140 whole birds in a minute, now targeted smaller bird parts—wings, breast tenders, thighs—to prevent salmonella infection in those targeted areas.
Beyond the poultry industry, Morris & Associates extends its services across the food and beverage sector. With its ingenious ice production solutions, the company has automated the ice weighing and dosing process in numerous bakeries. By automating the process, the company has reduced the occurrence of variable results in the bakeries caused due to the manual ice weighing process. Further, Morris & Associates has been able to replicate the success of the same technology in other industries, including fruit and vegetable and fish.
The uniqueness of Morris & Associates’ solutions stems from their adaptability and flexibility, which also accelerate the implementation. Yet another winning differentiator for Morris & Associates is its more than 70 years of experience in developing chilling, refrigeration, and ice production equipment and a culture of innovation and analytical thinking that it has cultivated over the years. The company’s agility allows it to develop and deploy major product redesigns in months where the industry standard is normally measured in years. However, nowhere is quality ever compromised. In fact, Johns says, “Every day, Morris & Associates strives to build equipment that is easier to operate and harder to break.”
Johns goes on to mention that Morris & Associates is an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) company, and each member is committed to continuously enhancing the company’s product and services. While the company intends to extend its process cooling knowledge into other markets, it has no intention of changing its ownership pattern in the coming days. Rather, Morris & Associates will focus on strengthening its existing capabilities and delve deeper into its area of expertise.
With each new endeavor, Morris & Associates continues to pen new chapters of its ongoing success story. Since its inception, the company has been delivering its innovative process-cooling solutions to help poultry producers across 50 countries achieve unprecedented results. Today, it has already carved a niche for itself in the market, developing superior-quality immersion chilling and other poultry chilling solutions. Led by an unwavering zeal for innovation, the company is laser-focused on designing improved chillers that can operate more efficiently without increasing the square footage.