Quality control for fresh produce
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Research And Implementation Of Safe Production And Quality Traceability System For Fruit
The main challenge in implementing the traceability process was ensuring compliance with the required MRL levels in order to deliver safe produce to supermarkets participating in the RAMA program. In addition, suppliers had to guarantee that only registered crop protection products were being used and good agricultural practices applied. Last but not least, there was the need to educate the fruit and veg growers so that they understood the program's necessity and requirements.
"The first step in capturing data for the new laws begins with obtaining the field data from the orchard or farm. Mobile scanning and printing allows the workers to gather the data needed right in the field as the product is being picked and loaded into the transport bins," says Bruce Stubbs, Director, Industry Marketing at Intermec Technologies.
Place labels on two sides of the pallet. Labels should be applied on two sides of a pallet (i.e., two sets of labels must be printed and applied to each pallet). If multiple Hybrid Pallet Labels are required to identify all the unique cases on a pallet, the labels should be stacked vertically (i.e. one above the other,not side by side).If shipping an over-wrapped pallet (e.g., wrapped in plastic), the same guidance as above applies; it is recommended the label be placed on top of the plastic, not underneath. This will ensure a better scan rate of the bar codes.
The philosophies of quality control are integrated into every facet of the FarmSoft food quality control software.
FarmSoft is a comprehensive and highly flexible food quality control software solution for food manufacturers and fresh produce processors and packers. Configure quality control tests for specific clients, products, suppliers, employees, and more. Configure quality control tests for simple pass or fail tests, weighted score tests where each failure adds or deducts a value from the total score, percentage of sampled defect, and range value tests. Unlimited categories can be configured to make large tests more user friendly.
Flexible food quality control software for quality control officers.
Quality control officers can easily capture photos and documents and link them to quality tests. These photos will be visible when looking at the quality control test results. This information can be very useful when dealing with suppliers that incorrectly state the quality of fresh produce or raw materials, or customers attempting to reject fresh produce because they have ordered too much. FarmSoft food quality control software also allows up to five quality control management staff to be sent emails containing the quality results of any tests that fail. This quality alert system allows management to make corrective actions or manufacturing decisions rapidly and increases communication between quality control officers and management.
Flexible configuration of criteria, categories and tests via FarmSoft food quality control software
Comprehensive food quality control software.
The FarmSoft suite is an integrated solution for fresh produce processors and food manufactures to manage every part of business operations (excluding finance and payroll – although FarmSoft can be integrated with external accounting and finance packages). Including inventory, processing and manufacturing, traceability, cost control, labor cost capture and monitoring, best manufacturing practice / good manufacturing practices, FarmSoft delivers comprehensive business management from the ordering of raw materials, through the entire quality, inventory, manufacturing, sales orders, sales, and dispatch processes.
Start improving your businesses traceability today with the FarmSoft food traceability software. Talk to a consultant for free.
FarmSoft food quality control software delivers higher quality food manufacturing.
Food quality control software for progressive food manufacturing enterprises.
FarmSoft food food quality control software is used by award winning food manufacturers and processors world wide. The FarmSoft food quality control software delivers a comprehensive solution that starts from ordering of raw materials such as fresh produce, ingredients, or additives, and ends after sale. This holistic business management approach helps food manufacturers deliver maximum efficiency and traceability while reducing waste and financial risk exposure due to reduced batch sizes, and smaller recall windows.
Reference: Less fresh produce waste more traceability Accurate inventory shipping Apple packing, pear packing, citrus packing.
FarmSoft provides cutting edge fresh produce quality control software QC, which guides employees through the best manufacturing and quality control process for fresh produce fruit and vegetable packing QC, processing and manufacturing.
FarmSoft Fresh Produce Quality Control QC can force fresh produce (and other inventory) to be “placed on hold” and automatically alert senior quality officers that a further inspection needs to be made (up to five quality control officers can be alerted for each individual Quality Program defined in FarmSoft Quality Control). During the additional inspection, the quality control officer can reassign the class and grade, product features, storage location, and make the produce available for packing, send to processing, quality rejection process, or sales. You can even integrate your fresh produce quality control with FarmSoft’s Farm Quality Control QC systems.
Fresh Produce Quality Control for food safety:
- Configure unlimited quality control programs, including specific programs for specific produce, variety, customer, or finished product
- Tests can be for almost anything, such as testing incoming produce, outgoing produce, pre pack, pre graded produce, Packhouse cleanliness test, employee performance, task quality control etc. You can define the subject (thing) that you are testing
- Each test can be a pass/fail, or range style test (ie: where results must be within the range of two numbers, or above or below a number)
- Automatically force produce to be put on hold if selected tests fail
- Manually put produce on hold for further inspection
- On screen alerts for produce that has been put on hold
- Set the number of tests to make the entire test program fail
- Set individual tests to make an entire test program fail
- Set the number of tests in a Category to make the entire test program fail
- Each quality control program can be configured to have unlimited categories
- Each quality control category can have unlimited tests
- Each quality control program can record important details such as version, manager, and quality control documentation can be directly attached to the quality control program
- Configure unlimited “classes” that can be assigned to produce
- Configure unlimited “features” that can be assigned to produce. There can be four sets of features, for example color, grade, size, pack, etc.
Flexible fresh produce quality control configuration allows you to specify which quality tests require information such as:
- Pallet number
- Inventory number
- Transport Company
- Task Number
- Storage Location
Fresh Produce Quality Control Software for external businesses:
- Easily configure QC Programs for the following companies (and more):
- Walmart Quality Control
- Woolworths Quality Control
- Coles Quality Control
- Aldi Quality Control
- Tesco Quality Control
- Marks and Spencer Quality Control
- ASDA Quality Control
- Sainsbury’s Quality Control
- Costco Quality Control
- PriceSmart Foods Quality Control
- Loblaw Quality Control
- Metro Quality Control
- Safeway Quality Control
- Kroger Quality Control
- Whole Foods Quality Control
- Wegmans Quality Control
- Save Mart Quality Control
- Shoprite Quality Control
- Pick ‘n Pay Quality Control
- Massmart Quality Control
Quality Control challenges for blueberry exporters and retailers
The global blueberry market has grown 40% since 2012, and is projected to surpass 1.4 billion pounds in 2017. Today, blueberries are grown in both hemispheres to satisfy the year-round demand of top consumer markets for this fruit, including the US, the UK, mainland Western Europe, and China. As newer ambitious blueberry exporters emerge on the market (Peru, Mexico, and Morocco among them), well-established producers, such as Chile and especially Argentina, are starting to feel the squeeze. With the increasing competition, product quality remains paramount for companies that wish to survive and succeed in this consolidating and rapidly maturing market.
“Advances in logistics, storage, and packaging solutions have drastically increased the shelf life of soft fruit in the last few decades,”. says Ignacio Santibanez, General Manager of AI PIA “Still, in a world where produce can travel for thousands of miles from where it was picked, it can be challenging to ensure optimal quality and freshness at every stage from farm to consumer. Blueberries in particular are a very sensitive product, and require close monitoring every step of the way.”
During the 2016-2017 harvesting season, AI PIA inspected close to 100,000 samples off fresh blueberries for growers, exporters and importers. The inspections found that only 43% of the fruit could be categorized as “good” based on the applicable quality standards. The “excellent” quality category remained largely out of reach, with less than 1% of all blueberries inspected making the cut. Some 44% of fruit were classed as “fair,” while “poor” and “bad” quality accounted for 11% and 1.7%, respectively.
Ignacio of AI PIA outlined the following key challenges that must be considered where the quality of blueberries is concerned:
- Variable Harvesting Conditions
Blueberry harvest often coincides with periods of high heat and humidity – both factors that contribute to quick spoilage of freshly-harvested fruit. High temperatures during blueberry harvest season promote ripening, but overripe blueberries are very prone to damage. Wet berries, in turn, are highly susceptible to disease organisms. While blueberry producers strive to ensure optimal harvesting conditions, outdoor farms are highly weather-dependent, as was shown by the 2016-2017 harvesting season in the Southern Hemisphere, when warmer temperatures resulted in an early harvest, making for a difficult season for growers and exporters alike.
- The Need for Prompt and Effective Cooling
Among the blueberries inspected during the 2016-2017 harvest season, PIA had to categorize fruit as “fair” or lower in 24.3% of cases due to decay, and 16.3%, due to mold. The most likely reason behind mold and decay in soft fruit is insufficiently fast or effective post-harvest cooling. Warm, wet, or damaged blueberries create ideal conditions for decay organisms. Cooler temperatures dramatically decrease the rate of decay and correspondingly increase the blueberries’ shelf life and transportability.
- Long-Haul Logistics
An unbroken cold chain during transportation is crucial for preserving blueberry quality in transit. Last import season, according to AI PIA data, two-thirds of blueberry shipments to the US, the UK, China, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands travelled by sea, while roughly a quarter was shipped by plane. Air shipping allows growers to sell their produce within 48 hours of harvest, but it is not without risk. The whole shipment may be compromised if berries spend as little as 15 minutes sitting in the sun, which may happen while the truck navigates the tarmac. Another issue is that fresh produce is often shipped on passenger planes, which carries its own risks. If a passenger makes a last-minute decision to bring a dog, the temperature in the plane hold would be increased – necessary for the animal’s survival, but detrimental for the produce cargo.
- Packaging and Presentation
Unlike many other fruit, packaging options are rather limited for blueberries. They are usually field-packed, and any additional handling is discouraged, so their very first container must provide sufficient protection and ventilation, and be suitable at lower temperatures during transportation. Producers experiment with different materials (such as replacing plastic with biodegradable materials) and extra features (such as absorbing and cushioning fruit pads), but shape-wise, the clamshell remains the industry standard. While it meets the functional criteria, this packaging does not lend itself to many marketing tricks, and manufacturers have to rely on the visible product to do most of the selling. This underlines the importance of high quality and good visual presentation for blueberries, as consumers usually make the decision based solely on the fruit’s appearance.
“For a perishable product like blueberries, every step of the supply chain is riddled with vulnerabilities, and a single mistake can be costly,” says Ignacio Santibanez of AI PIA. “We check the fruit’s condition and temperature along the entire way between farm and supermarket shelf. As with most products, the final approval or rejection is up to the consumer – but by safeguarding quality at each critical stage, we do everything to tip the scales in our clients’ favor.”
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