Case Studies & Field Reports
Field Reports

Organic mushroom producer automates track and trace

January 7, 2013
Ice Forming Freezer Slide
Producer meets PTI and FSMA objectives while elevating quality with a paperless electronic system.
 
Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms is a fifth-generation grower/packer and shipper of fresh mushrooms. Established in 1921 and operated by Arthur P. Yeatman, the company is arguably one of America’s oldest and largest certified organic mushroom farms. With the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) combined with FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act), North American produce companies are faced with a choice of how to address the demanding requirements of tracking incoming palletized produce; washing, grading and slicing processes; and finished goods packaging. Traditional paper trail systems are no longer viable in recall situations, and they’re expensive to maintain.
 
For these reasons, Mother Earth decided to invest in a solution that was proven in the mushroom industry and easy to use on the production floor. “We were able to visit To-Jo Mushrooms and see the SG Systems [SGS] Vantage solution, which had been implemented in December 2009,” says Meghan Klotzbach, quality assurance coordinator. “The solution proved to generate impressive financial savings and hit the PTI milestones at the same time. The management team at To-Jo recommended SG Systems and is a keen supporter of PTI, using it to drive business improvement. On this basis, we decided to make the investment with SG Systems and go for a 2012 implementation.”
 
The system—which consists of six SGS Vantage touch screen operator terminals, thermal label printers and barcode reader, scales and four handheld computers/scanners—enables incoming pallets to be weighed and labeled with information relating to the lot number, product, supplier, weight and barcode. As the products are shipped, the traceability is linked back to the incoming lot number and subsequently all the way through the packaging process.
 
In receiving, mushrooms are weighed using a connected floor scale, and information about the delivery is logged using a Vantage touch screen. Information about the supplier, mushroom type, expiration date, weight and storage location is captured electronically. The data is stored on the server, and a label is generated to identify the pallet. 
 
In addition, five SGS Vantage terminals are situated on the production lines with label printers and barcode readers. The pallet tags are scanned, and then an operator selects the output product, which is being packed on the lines. For example, if Organic White Mushrooms is the inbound product, the terminals display all possible combinations for the outbound product, such as 5 lbs. sliced, 10 lbs. sliced, etc. As each box is labeled, inventory is adjusted accordingly. Each case is now PTI complaint with a case end label. The bulk terminals are connected to weighing scales to control the target weights and reduce unnecessary product giveaway.  
 
In shipping, four SGS mobile computers are connected to the wireless network. As sales orders are entered in the office, the orders are automatically transferred to the devices to enable rapid picking, packing and shipping. Delivery notes are produced, and the entire delivery is traceable to its original lot number received at the dock. The system details which customers have been supplied with the inbound lot, giving emergency contact details in the event of a product recall.
 
For more information:
Jason Galloway, 214-819-9570, info@sgsystemsusa.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering December 2014 Cover

2014 December

In the December 2014 issue of Food Engineering read about our Fabulous Food Plant feature on the Chelten House, a new facility in Las Vegas.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.