Produce & Fresh Cut

Emerging Technology for the Produce Industry

On Oct. 18, I participated in a panel at the PMA Fresh Summit Convention in New Orleans, discussing emerging technology for the produce industry.  This blog contains the essence of my comments on advances in cleaning sanitation.

There are a variety of factors driving change related to sanitation processes today. Obviously the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is high on everyone’s agenda. As a chemical supplier, Birko also sees an increasing burden of federal, state and local regulation, as well as environmental issues such as the outlawing of certain raw materials. Other pressures come from customer demand to reduce sodium in wastewater discharge as well as reduce overall costs.

At Birko, we continue to respond to these forces by developing new and innovative solutions. Looking ahead, we expect that further regulatory scrutiny of cleaning and sanitation products, as well as water conservation, will become increasingly important aspects of meeting and maintaining food safety standards. Our goal is to stay ahead of these forces and be prepared to provide customers with innovative responses.

Two of our emerging innovative solutions are the Birko Blend-On-Site-System (BOSS), and our SWAT process. The BOSS is the latest generation of our blend-on-site chemical dispensing solution. By dispensing concentrated chemical precursors through a PC-controlled blending system to create enhanced functionality products, Birko can add significant value to our customers by reducing chemical costs, controlling allocation and helping eliminate under-or over-use.

The BOSS system is more than just a dispensing system. Its capabilities include data collection, inventory tracking and documentation that appropriate quantities of sanitation chemicals were used. This data can be uploaded and processed to provide a dashboard view of chemical consumption across a single plant or at multiple facilities across the country. Importantly, the BOSS system can provide paperless documentation of chemical usage to support your food safety and sanitation programs during third party audits.

The SWAT process begins with a comprehensive onsite assessment of your processes and facilities from a food safety perspective. The assessment is conducted by a Birko team that includes one or more of our HACCP-trained technical representatives.

Information gathered during this assessment is analyzed and recommendations are made to provide a best-in-class process and the highest level of protection for your facility and products. These recommendations are presented on a process blueprint overlaid with suggested chemistry, equipment and technology applications, to protect your product, your process environment, your employees and ultimately, your customers.

Because we understand that every plant, process and product is different, this is not a one-product-fits-all approach.  Contact us today to schedule a SWAT review of your facility.


Elis Owens, Ph.D., Director, Technical Services, Birko, can be reached at [email protected], 303-289-1090.