Date Full Report Received


Date Abstract Report Received



Primary Investigator:

A research project focusing on in-plant and on-farm needle detection methods was initiated as a follow-up to several previous research projects by the PI related to needle strength and detection. A previous research project (NPB Project 13-055) found significant detection differences for X-ray machines across processing facilities. It was hypothesized that these differences were related to X-ray calibration procedures. Part one of this current project focused on developing X-ray calibration procedures that processors could implement to ensure consistency in detection. To accomplish this objective, X-ray technology available from SafelineTM was secured for testing under controlled laboratory conditions. The results from part one of this current study indicate that differences in prior X-ray detection performance was most likely the result of X-ray’s inability to consistently decipher bone from needle densities, rendering X-ray technology unsatisfactory for any bone-in product line. This finding, although not expected, is in fact supported by prior in-plant detection results from NPB Project 13-055, where unsatisfactory X-ray detections were, upon follow-up analysis, related to bone-in product lines across multiple processors. Therefore, calibration procedures from this current project could not be developed that consistently separated bone from needle, and if attempted to do so, resulted in significant false positives. As a supplement to part one X-ray testing, additional testing was conducted on advanced magnetic-based detection technology not tested in any prior needle detection testing. The results from this added testing indicate that new magnetic-based technology exists (SafelineTM Profile AdvantageTM) that successfully detected 100% of the needle fragments used in prior in-plant testing (NPB Project 13-055), compared with a 19.3% in-plant detection level measured where older detection technology was used (SafelineTM SignatureTM or SafelineTM ProTM).

Part two of this research focused on on-farm methods for detecting a broken needle completely embedded in tissue. A series of handheld metal detectors were secured and tested in a controlled laboratory setting from which two detectors proved worthy for on-farm testing. The two handheld detectors (Garrett, Inc Model THD and Garrett, Inc Model Pro-Pointer AT) were found to successfully locate completely embedded ¾” long 16 and 18 gauge needles, provided the needles originated from those marketed as detectable.

The results from this research project support the following statements:
• X-ray technology will not be able to detect, at a satisfactory level, a needle in bone-in product lines. This result agrees with past in-plant testing.
• X-ray technology will be able to detect, at a satisfactory level, a needle in boneless product lines. This result agrees with past in-plant testing.
• The SafelineTM Profile AdvantageTM magnetic-based technology is a superior detection technology for needles used in the swine industry, far exceeding in-plant detection testing results from the commonly used SafelineTM SignatureTM or SafelineTM ProTM series of magnetic-based detectors.
• Vaccination teams will need to have, on-site, a handheld metal detector proven from this project to identify and locate a broken needle.
• All swine producers must use needles identified and marketed as detectable and these detectable needles need to be available in 20g, 18g, and 16g sizes.