In reference to the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) website,“The protection of the health and safety of consumers is a fundamental requirement and a legal obligation of all companies involved in the production and sale of food and grocery products.”
Quality control covers KAGOME’s entire process, from tomato seed management and growing crops through to in-store displays. The minimized use of agrochemicals and the maximized use of natural pollination ensure that the tomatoes supplied are grown in a manner that is friendly to people, the crops themselves, and the environment.
Today, cultivating and processing tomatoes is a matter of automation and it can be a logistic challenge to get the tomatoes from the fields to the factory in the most efficient way.
Looking for an automated identification solution On the Echuca fields, KAGOME operates 12 harvesters loading tomatoes into more than 300 huge bins, each with a capacity of 14 tons. Once a bin is full with fresh tomatoes, it is unloaded at a bin pad waiting for one of 12 trucks to pick up and return to the factory. One trip from the fields to the KAGOME factory takes approximately 90 minutes and each truck can load three bins – that is an average of around 42 tons of tomatoes per truck. A truck arrivesto the bin pad; the bins are loaded up and taken to the weighbridge close to the factory. Three years ago, there used to be long truck queues at the weighbridge and the truck drivers had to wait for 12 minutes until they could get out of the truck to have the tomatoes weighed. As part of KAGOME’s quality control process, three samples from each bin had to be processed in the laboratory because it was not obvious which tomatoes came from a KAGOME farm. In addition to that the drivers had prepared paper work to document the harvesting process as well as the quantity and quality of the yield. The process increases the potential for human error in a paper-based quality control system which can result in contaminated products reaching the consumer, conceivably creating widespread foodborne illness.
So to ensure traceability it was time for KAGOME Australia to look for a paperless automated identification solution to be implemented at the weighbridge.
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