The equipment sanitizes picking buckets and containers before harvesting proceeds to a different field, block or lot. The goal is to aid traceability and limit losses due to recalls, said William Kanitz, president of Venice, Fla.-based ScoringAg.
It costs about $7,400.
“We’ve been making additions to it,” he said. “In June we put in water saver panels so you could put it in the middle of a packing house floor with no drains nearby. You can take it anywhere in the plant on a forklift.
“People were asking us how to sanitize in their fields, so we made the decision in July to add a gas engine. Many packinghouses lack electricity too so we had to come up with a way to sanitize there.”
“There’s a huge missing slice of the pie,” Kanitz said. “Sometimes trace back stops at the packing house. They might think they can get to the field but they’ve been using the same containers all week with no sanitation.”
“The basic problem is that buckets are thrown in a pile and I might pick up one from somebody who didn’t wash his hands,” he said. “The GAP rule requires you to sanitize. If you don’t, you just have a huge commingling process. If you sanitize down to field, block or lot number, then you’re only going to lose that block,” he said, referring to the risks of contamination and recall.
Chips on harvesting containers can be scanned for time, date and GPS location of sanitation.
One company using the APM 100 is Vero Beach, Fla.-based Premier Citrus Packers LLC. “They change to a sanitized tray as they change blocks,” Kanitz said. “As they dump trays on a packing line, it takes those trays directly to the sanitizer.”
Video of an earlier version of the technology appears on YouTube.