Why We Need to Take the Human Contact Out of Produce Sorting
Human contact and contamination risk are key concerns for the produce sorting industry during the global pandemic.
The push to remove human contact from the produce grading process is highly warranted. Although profitability is always a priority, it’s far from the only driver behind the trend. The supply of picking and sorting staff has been severely reduced due to the state of international borders. With so many of these workers arriving internationally, other solutions are required to meet the labour demands. Because many workers are from overseas, other solutions are required to meet labour demands.
Regulatory standards have been increasing in markets all over the world in response to the global health crisis. As our understanding of food science, health and disease increases, it’s safe to say that these standards are here to stay. An obvious way in which this change has presented itself is an increase in the demand for supply chain traceability compliance. Increased transparency in supply chains ensures responsibility, thus making it far easier to detect the source of any possible outbreak. Compliance along the entire supply chain ensures that each component of the industry is working together to promote the same notions of safety and accountability.
Previous disease outbreaks linked to insufficient food preparation have set frightening precedents. E-coli and salmonella are of particular significance in terms of examples that typify the consequence of poor hygiene in food preparation.
For some time now, GP Graders has been working towards the development of a contactless packhouse. A packing floor which sorts produce without needing human input will not only provide organisations with advanced profitability but will also offer consumers safer and higher quality products. GP Graders’ AirJet Vision™ line of grading equipment is industry leading and advanced enough to grade produce faster and more accurately than human sorters. However, the drive to a contactless packhouse does not stop there. Equipment is designed to accommodate a highly sanitary cleaning process. This involves the production of easily accessible machine components.
Clean materials and the removal of staff from the packing floor are but one side of the equation. Allying with the right hygiene bodies is crucial to GP Graders’ promotion and exercise of sanitary operations and production. 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. (3-A SSI) is an independent not-for-profit whose mission is to advance “food safety through hygienic equipment design.” The organisation provides training, support and certifications to dynamic industries which produce our food and beverages. GP Graders’ move toward 3-A SSI hygiene compliance is a typifying symbol of the company’s commitment to industry-best practices.
The consequence of human involvement in the food sorting processes has never been more relevant. As global events continue to focus attention on hygiene, fresh produce organisations must adapt to new standards and supply chain compliance. For more information on how we are eliminating the risk of human contamination, reach out to the team at GP Graders.