Microbiology & Post-Harvest Testing
- SUNSET® has its own Microbiology Lab, staffed by an in-house Microbiologist. Using AOAC approved testing methods, our lab tests for pathogenic (disease causing) and non-pathogenic (spoilage) organisms on the product and in the environment. Results are often verified by independent and accredited third party laboratories.
- A special concern is to monitor disease causing organisms. Inbound and finished products are randomly tested for pathogenic bacteria, including: Salmonella, E.coli and Listeria. The products are also tested for non-pathogenic organisms which have the potential to be detrimental to shelf life, including yeasts, molds, total aerobic bacteria and coliforms.
- We trace all products back to the source point during our testing and, if necessary, we inform our growers of the results to ensure prompt and proper corrective actions.
- To ensure further product quality and safety, we monitor our sanitation process daily by testing the food contact surfaces and non-food contact surfaces using Bioluminescence technology. The manufacturing environment is tested routinely for the presence of pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms. In addition, we monitor the air quality for yeasts, molds and total aerobic bacteria to provide the best air quality and shelf life for the product.
- Our water is also tested quarterly to verify that it is safe for drinking, cleaning and is not a source of potential contamination. This testing is verified on an annual basis by our municipality.
- Finally, we test our packaging materials to make certain the safest possible product leaves our doors.
- SUNSET®’s Post Harvest Program enables us to understand the physiology of our harvested produce. This technology is essential to maximize shelf life, proper storage, and marketability of our products.
- Our Shelf life Laboratory is staffed by an in-house Post Harvest Specialist who manages shelf-life testing. We also measure the quality attributes of our produce such as: pH (acidity), Brix (sugars), titratable acidity, dehydration, defects and mold. The Post Harvest Testing program is an integral part of SUNSET®.
- New technology is constantly studied to improve warehouse storage and holding conditions, prevention of product contamination (packaging), documentation of food safety and product quality. Our Post Harvest Specialist works closely with our Packaging Department to research and implement new packaging technologies to ensure the best possible shelf life for our products.
- Our Pesticide Testing Program ensures our products are below the Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) set by the United States and Canada. Our products are tested by an independent and accredited third-party laboratory. This laboratory tests for approved chemicals for acceptable residue limits (ppm), approved chemicals for acceptable frequency use limits and the presence of unapproved chemicals.