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Insect complaints RTE Salads, Fresh Produce

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    Grade - AIFSQN

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  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom

Posted 21 September 2023 - 07:11 AM

Hi, Industry Leaders!


What do you find most effective in terms of insect removal? What are your thoughts?


Our products are RTE Salads, baby leaves and sliced lettuce - mono, single or combination of leaves.


We use optical sorters - in particular, detection based on chlorophyll level, which has the best success rates in insect removal.

We use spotters - spotting tables with LED lights. They are removing a fair bit of insects; however, they tend to miss some every now and then. 


Our Wash line has an insect Drum removal - it's a rotating drum with holes that do not do much, actually.


For reference, a similar machine:


GEWA AF pre-washing machine – KRONEN | KRONEN GmbH 


It was pointed out that our washer does not create a vortex and hence does not re-attaching insects from the leaves well enough in order for them to be removed by the drum. 


Some of our customers treats insects as serious foreign body complaints (i.e. 7 insect based complaints for period of 10 months), whereas retailers does not even require a response for such complaint, of course if it is not spiking suddenly. 


Any thoughts what works best for you? 





    Grade - MIFSQN

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Posted 21 September 2023 - 04:12 PM

One thing we did, and it sounds like you can't dry the leaves per se, but when we had our product (leafy/flowering plant tops) over a screen during drying, typically the insects that would be on leaves would have the tendency to fall through the screen holes, leaving the product on top.  With more agitation, more insects would fall out, and you would lose slightly more product, of course, but that was pretty minimal.  It sounds like this is a bit similar to your wash line, but with air as the fluid instead of water.  I'm not at all familiar with washers, so I can't comment on them further.


Spotters (visual inspection/cleaning and sorting) can help, but as you said they can miss stuff, and that is quite labor-intensive. 


Optical sorting, in our limited experience, is much, much faster, and with the time savings, maybe you don't worry about losing a bit more product.

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