Good Fruit Grower

January 2016

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28 JANUARY 1, 2016 GOOD FRUIT GROWER S cientists in Washington have been doing research to help fruit packers ensure fruit is clean when it goes in the box and reduce their food safety risks. Dr. Ines Hanrahan, project manager with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, has been working with Dr. Karen Killinger, former food safety specialist with Washington State University, to evaluate the most effective microbial controls for packing houses and identify new products and approaches. Dump tank Controlling microbes in the dump tank is difficult because of all the soil (organic matter) that is dumped with the fruit. Organic matter binds to and inactivates chlorine. Hanrahan said it is not uncommon for packers to just have one dump tank and change the water once a week. "This is where you can lose control, and you then start contaminating the fruit," she said. Ideally, the dump system should have two parts beginning with a small tank where the bins are initially submerged. Then, the fruit would go under a rinse bar and into a separate, cleaner dump tank. "It's much easier to control your chlorine levels and prevent cross-contamination in the second dump tank, and you may get a microbial reduction, depending on your management system for the dump tank and flume system," she said. Packers might not have room for two dump tanks on their existing lines, Hanrahan said. "But it's easy, if you're Food safety research focuses ON PACKING PHOTOS COURTESY INES HANRAHAN Researchers collect apples for analysis after treatment in a split dump tank system. Scientists hope to reduce food safety risks in Washington apple packing houses. by Geraldine Warner For any questions please visit our website at or call us at (317) 539-4067. The knip-boom process takes time, so orders must be placed 2 years in advance. J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D

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