“You have to sanitize everything,” says William Kanitz with ScoringAg. “If you don’t protect your product, the consumer gets sick.” The company sells and produces sanitizing equipment for fresh produce and its packaging.
Due to the Coronavirus, things have changed. It’s increasingly important to reduce foodborne and human pathogens. That is certainly the case for containers in which fresh produce is shipped. “Whether the crop grows in a field or greenhouse, or under a tunnel, the containers need to be sanitized so that there are no human pathogens on them.”
Maintaining the integrity of the sanitation
Containers with freshly picked fruit often have dirt on the bottom, which can then get onto the produce in the one below. That’s why ScoringAg made a sanitizer that sprays 360 degrees. It’s not just one nozzle, there’s continuous sanitation on every angle of the object in the sanitizer. Both steam and organic or regular chemicals can be used. Peracetic acid provides a residue that keeps the container clean in its travels.
“Cleaning and sanitation, the most important thing from farm to fork,” says William. “A lot of supermarkets don’t even empty the crates anymore, they go right on the shelves.” Therefore it’s important to process the container in the right way before it goes off the farm, and again before new food is put in.
The company has sanitizers that are hand operated, push through systems and systems with belt conveyors. “Some even sanitize the belts, by getting it through empty a few times.” The sanitizers can be just for sanitizing, or for cooling as well. That’s done with ice water. It doesn’t work for COVID-19 unfortunately, because this virus doesn’t care about the cold.
The company has sanitizing equipment for containers from small to large. “Farmers come in all sizes, and so should our machines.” They also come as portable ones, to be used with a gas engine or a generator.