Veterinary and public health professionals working on farms and in food processing have a fundamental role in safeguarding both public health and the welfare of animals under their care. An essential part of public health training involves undertaking placements within abattoirs and other food producing establishments. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain consistent placement training due to the closure of some abattoirs and production commitments limiting some facilities' ability to support visits.

Developed by public health veterinary professional at Scotland's University of Edinburgh Veterinary School, using Graphisoft Corporation software for architects, the virtual simulator can strengthen and enhance learning by allowing veterinary and public health students to explore a realistic online work environment without having to be at an abattoir or other food processing facility. It provides training through interactive learning in case scenarios that are based on current legislation and good manufacturing code of practices. Training is available in several areas of any industrial process, including production lines; hygiene and structural requirements; health and safety; and animal welfare. The case scenarios are easy to use, versatile and can be adapted to support any end-user environment.

Preliminary results from a validation and evaluation trial of the simulator for training and educating veterinary students show that the simulator offers the potential to enhance the learning experience for veterinary students in basic abattoir procedures, with improved training performance.

Benefits include:

  • Improved productivity and service, thereby reducing the impact of foodborne disease
  • Training can span farm to fork
  • Training can be made applicable to all employees
  • Training can be tailored to each operation's specific needs

Applications include training for veterinary students, public health professionals, and personnel in food processing plants.

IP Status: Copyright of the case scenarios embedded materials. Development Status: Case scenarios have been developed for cattle abattoir and can easily be developed to other types of slaughterhouse, farms, cutting plants and retail.

The University of Edinburgh is seeking potential industry licensees for this technology. For more information, click here.