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Fresh produce quality control app
Good fresh produce quality control is integrated into every facet of the farmsoft / Producepak food quality control app.
The Producepak / FARMSOFT suite 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
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.
Fresh produce 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.”
Color and quality control in fresh produce: Traditional solutions vs AI
September 4, 2020
Editor’s note: Devendra Chandani is co-founder and head of US at Intello Labs, based in New Jersey. Headquartered in Gurugram, India, Intello Labs uses machine learning tech to grade the quality of agricultural produce. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a critical ingredient for food companies that make anything from juices and smoothies through to sauces, pastes, and pulps.
The characteristics of fresh produce differ by variety and season, unlike with many other raw materials. This variability creates challenges in the manufacturing process, and in delivering the quality customers expect in finished products.
Measuring quality in fresh produce
Defining fresh produce quality parameters and their measurement for acceptance is more complex compared to other raw ingredients. Uniformity, ripeness, color, gloss, and absence of defects are just some of the components of quality. Evaluating them can be subjective — in other words, done manually — or objective, when handled by a machine.
But the visual appearance of fruits and vegetables is universally accepted as the first quality determinant.
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Color is an important parameter because it directly affects the appearance of the final product. If there is color variance in fresh produce, corrective actions in the manufacturing process become necessary to ensure the perception of quality in the final product.
In short, failure to meet fresh produce color criteria can adversely impact cost and quality in the finished product. This applies to a wide range of food industry items.
Obstacles to identifying color
The biggest challenge to determining the color of fresh produce is heterogeneity. A fruit or vegetable may not be one color, but different shades of the same color. A single piece could also feature different colors blending into one another.
A good example here is tomatoes. A single tomato may have red, orange, and light green colors and still be acceptable as an ingredient. Another example is apples, which may have different shades of red depending on variety.
The color heterogeneity in fresh produce makes it difficult to set and measure acceptable criteria. Right now, the food industry utilizes a battery of equipment to measure color in both ingredients and finished products. Most often, this equipment includes colorimeters, spectrophotometers, and image-based color identification machines.
Though made for myriad food (and non-food) ingredients, these traditional instruments mostly fail in measuring acceptable color criteria for fresh produce:
- Colorimeters are best for gauging homogeneous solutions or solids. When faced with heterogeneous solids they, at best, can indicate an average color. This often results in inaccurate identification.
- Spectrophotometers are most appropriate for input in a liquid medium and for homogeneous products.
- Equipment that processes high-quality images in a controlled environment appears to be the ideal choice, at least among existing solutions for fresh produce. These go beyond average color measurement to offer percentage composition of colors.
The latter can detect, for example, that a displayed tomato is 80% red and 20% light green. But when shown five separate tomatoes together, where one appears light green and the other four red, such instruments fail. Since the combined composition is still 80% red and 20% light green, this will often lead to the one light green tomato getting accepted erroneously.
In the last few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has widened the lead it has over all prior technologies for accuracy in visual identification of fresh produce. It has also surprised us in the plethora of tasks it excels at within image processing. It has beaten previous benchmarks in object detection, classification, and segmentation.
To explain these three tasks, let’s take the example of tomatoes again:
- Object detection is the ability to identify different objects in an image. In this case, all the individual tomatoes that are presented.
- Classification is the ability to organize an image into one of many classes. In this instance, the classification of a tomato can be 80% red, 30% red, and so on.
- Segmentation is the ability to distinguish the composition of an image into the different features that are present in it. For example, the tomatoes, the table they are on, the piece of paper next to them, and so on.
Two factors enable AI to achieve excellence in these tasks. First, a large dataset of images labeled to meet acceptable and non-acceptable parameters of fresh produce. Second, sizable amounts of computing ability in the form of powerful microprocessors.
In a nutshell, AI fixes the issues riddling color for fresh produce accurately and much better than ever before.
Advantages of AI
AI-based solutions have the unerring ability to eliminate color issues in a heterogeneous scenario and color acceptance criteria for almost all fresh produce. But that’s not the sole benefit. It can do so in a wide variety of lighting conditions.
Fresh Produce Quality Control: Traditional vs. AI-Based Solutions
Fresh produce is a critical ingredient for food companies that make juices, sauces, pulp, paste, smoothies, etc. Here, fresh produce pertains to both fruits and vegetables.
Their characteristics vary by variety and season, which creates challenges in the manufacturing process.
Measuring quality in fresh produce
Defining fresh produce quality parameters and their measurement for acceptance is more complex compared to other raw ingredients. Uniformity, ripeness, color, gloss and absence of defects are just some of the components of quality. Evaluating them can be subjective (manually) or objective (machine).
But, the visual appearance of fruits and vegetables is universally accepted as the first quality determinant. Color is an important parameter because it directly affects the appearance of the final product.
If there is color variance in fresh produce inputs, corrective actions in the manufacturing process become necessary to ensure the quality of the final product.
In short, failure to meet fresh produce color criteria can adversely impact the cost, quality or both. This applies to a wide range of food industry products.
Obstacles to identifying color
The biggest challenge to determining the color of fresh produce is heterogeneity. It means that the color of the fruit or vegetable may not be one color, but different shades of the same color. It could also be different colors blending into one another.
A good example is tomatoes. A single tomato may have red, orange and light green colors and still be acceptable as an ingredient. Another example is apples, which may have different shades of red depending on the variety.
Traditional solutions for identifying color
The color heterogeneity in fresh produce makes it difficult to set and measure acceptable criteria. Right now, the food industry utilizes a battery of equipment to measure color in both ingredients and finished products. Most often, they are colorimeters, spectrophotometers and image-based color identification machines.
Though made for myriads of food (and non-food) ingredients, traditional instruments mostly fail in measuring acceptable color criteria for fresh produce.
· Colorimeters are best for gauging homogeneous solutions or solids. When faced with heterogeneous solids, they at best provide an average color. It often results in inaccurate identification.
· Spectrophotometers are most appropriate for input in a liquid medium and homogeneous products.
· Equipment that process high-quality images in a controlled environment appears to be the ideal choice. At least, among existing solutions for fresh produce. These go beyond average color measurement to offering percentage composition of colors.
For example, in the case of tomatoes, they can detect that the displayed tomato is 80% red and 20% light green. But, when you show five tomatoes together, where one is light green and four red, they fail. Since the combined composition is still 80% red and 20% light green, it would lead to the one light green tomato getting accepted erroneously.
Innovative solutions for identifying color
In the last few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has widened the lead over prior technologies for accuracy in visual identification of fresh produce. It also excels at image processing, and beaten previous benchmarks in object detection, classification and segmentation.
To explain these tasks, let’s take up the example of tomatoes again:
· Object detection is the ability to identify different objects in an image. In this case, all the individual tomatoes presented.
· Classification is the ability to organize an image into one of many classes. In this instance, the classification of a tomato can be as 80% red or 30% red.
· Segmentation is the ability to distinguish the composition of an image into different features that are present in it. In this example, tomatoes, table, piece of paper, etc.
Two factors enable AI to achieve excellence in these tasks. One, a collection of a large dataset of images labeled to meet acceptable and non-acceptable parameters of fresh produce. Two, sizable amounts of computing ability, i.e., powerful microprocessors.
In a nutshell, AI fixes the issues riddling color for fresh produce accurately and much better than ever before.
Advantages of AI in identifying color
AI-based solutions have the unerring ability to eliminate color issues in a heterogeneous scenario and color acceptance criteria for almost all fresh produce. But, that’s not the sole benefit. It can do so in a wide variety of lighting.
On top of it, with cloud processing, the solution becomes highly portable. It means one can conveniently access the powerful technology through a handheld device like a mobile phone.
Also, cloud computing allows easy integration of the solution with the rest of the user’s applications such as mail and messaging. These qualities make AI-based solutions far lighter on a user's pocket than the bulky, traditional equipment used for color identification.
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Quality Control Tailored for the Produce Industry
Inspections for All Types of Fresh Produce
- Berries and cherries: blueberries, blackberries, cherries
- Tropical fruits: mangos, pineapples, asparagus, kiwi
- Traditional fruits: apples, pears, avocados, grapes, lemon, orange, clementines
- Other fruits and vegetables: lettuce, tomatoes, chilies
- Beans, corn, nuts, grains, cereals
Solutions for Produce SafetyFresh produce quality control app
- Quality check (color, maturity, firmness, shape)
- Weight and diameter check
- Defects check (including amount and seriousness of defects)
Produce Supplier Audits
- Hygiene audits (GHP)
- Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
- Ethical audits
- Food Safety Audits & Certification
QIMA Helps Monitor Every Step of the Produce Supply Chain
Inspections (bulk and packed) at reception,
process and dispatch
Inspections for shipping companies before / after shipment
Inspections (bulk and packed) at arrival, re-packing and dispatch supervision
Inspections at reception in DC's and stores
Dedicated Produce Inspection Report
A detailed report with inspection results and photographs will be delivered to you by email on the same day as the inspection is performed.
The report will also be available in your personal QIMA dashboard, accessible online and on mobile, giving you the flexibility to make informed decisions for your shipment – any place, any time. Access to reports can be shared and controlled between retailers and suppliers.
Comprehensive Produce QC at the Source or Destination
Our specialized inspectors will check your produce to ensure its quality before and after shipping:
- Condition of inventory: ensure that products can be shipped safely
- Temperature control: check and monitor post-harvest temperature and storage conditions for your produce
- Orders supervision: to help you sort and dispatch your produce orders
- Re-packing supervision
QIMA produce inspectors follow detailed inspection protocols, prepared by our experts based on international regulations, standards of your destination market, and your own requirements.
Our sampling process strictly follows the ANSI/ASQC Z1.4 (ISO 2859-1) international sampling procedure and the guidelines of the Codex Alimentarius.
In 2016, Produce Inspectors of America (PIA) has joined the QIMA group to form the Fresh Produce Quality Control team of QIMA.
PIA had grown since the early 2000's to become a leader in fresh produce quality control services, opening offices in North America, Latin America and Europe.
QIMA is a global leading quality control and compliance service provider that partners with brands, retailers and importers in the consumer goods and food sectors to secure, manage and optimize their global supply chain.
QIMA operates in 85 countries; with over 2,000 inspectors and auditors classified by product range and account managers speaking over 20 languages, QIMA is Your Eyes in the Supply Chain!™
As any supplier of fresh produce will be well aware, food items such as vegetables, fresh fruit, berries, beans, corn, nuts, grains, and cereals must be shipped and stored swiftly after harvesting. This type of produce must also be stored in a protective environment to ensure that it does not start to spoil before it reaches consumers.
Thanks to the time-sensitive nature of fresh produce, therefore, any disruptions to a producer’s supply chain or problems surrounding food storage conditions can impair product quality and cause a raft of new problems surrounding health and safety and consumer satisfaction. In this way, it is vitally important for suppliers of fresh produce to ensure that they double-check the state of the items they intend to sell both when they leave the packaging facility or form and, indeed, when it arrives at its destination. They must also attend to any problems that may hinder the supply chain and rectify them as soon as possible.
For businesses hoping to purchase containers of fresh produce as part of their goods and services offering, it is important to double-check that this produce is fresh, delicious and safe to eat. This is where we come in.
At Global Inspection Managing, we provide a range of services for those involved in the fresh produce sector including produce testing and produce supplier audits. Indeed, our team of lab experts is committed to ensuring that clients’ produce is free from contaminants and suitable for consumption. This means that we thoroughly check the quality of produce before and after it is shipped, offering clients peace of mind in regards to the safety and quality of the items they sell.
We offer specially-tailored produce inspection services for food items including:
- Vegetables, corn, and beans
- Fresh fruits and berries
- Nuts, cereals, and grains
We only hire the most knowledgeable experts
All of the lab technicians who work at Global Inspection Managing have unbeatable produce inspections expertise. This means that they are able to follow meticulous safety and inspections protocols based on individual client requirements, international regulations, and the legislative regulations set out by the relevant destination market. For example, to ensure that all samples collected during product audits are representative of their wider shipments, we make sure to adhere to the ANSI/ASQC Z1.4 (ISO 2859-1), an international sampling process, and the rules set out by the World Health Organisation’s Food Code (also known as the Codex Alimentarius).
Before any produce is loaded onto a vehicle for shipment, our meticulous inspectors will double-check its condition. This means ensuring that it is packaged and labelled correctly and is of high quality. Once the shipment arrives at its intended destination, the team will be ready and waiting to conduct a comprehensive produce inspection, making sure that your goods have not been spoiled or tampered with during transit.
We offer detailed inspection reports
Our team of experts is committed to writing up same-day inspection reports to help organisations make well-informed and quick decisions about their supply chain. Global Inspection Managing also offers clients an online tracker that provides real-time data about a given supply chain. With this data, clients can monitor trends and benchmark certain suppliers.
How is produce safety determined?
We determine the safety of produce using the following solutions:
- Weight and diameter check to ensure a degree of uniformity across a supply chain
- Quality check to monitor the maturity, colour, shape, and firmness of a given product
- A check for defects including those that are merely cosmetic
- Microbiological tests to determine food safety
- Physico-chemical tests to determine the presence of chemicals such as pesticides
We offer detailed supplier audits
Our detailed supplier audits help clients to stay on top of the safety and compliance credentials of their produce suppliers, thereby helping them to identify areas for improvement. We offer a range of different audit types including:
Farm and greenhouse audits
These audits look for potential contaminants that may appear during produce growth. This means ensuring that proper protocols are followed surrounding the use of fertiliser, water usage and irrigation processes, pest control, food security, land usage, and employee hygiene and safety.
We will investigate suppliers to ensure that they comply with the rules surrounding workers’ rights and conditions.
Food safety audits
Food safety audits help to ensure that suppliers use stringent quality management systems to keep their supply chain safe.
Harvest crew audits
We will ensure that employees involved with harvesting produce are kept safe and that working practices are hygienic.
Why opt for Global Inspection Managing?
We offer clients a range of benefits including:
- Online audit reports that can be accessed quickly
- Quick report turnaround
- Global coverage so produce from all corners of the world can be safety tested
- Unbeatable inspection expertise from highly-trained agricultural professionals
- Industry expertise
- Stringent sampling procedures to ensure your whole supply chain is covered