We all know how important it is to have the highest level of quality control in the production and processing of our food. Well, it gets no better than the procedures and processes that are in place in the California Raisin Industry.
The Growers and Packers in the San Joaquin Valley, California have invested heavily in sophisticated equipment and state of the art computer technology to ensure that California Raisins are the cleanest and safest raisins in the world.
From the beginning, the grapes are picked at their optimum size and sugar levels and left to dry on paper trays in the natural California sunshine. There are no chemicals involved in drying the fruits, and the long hours of sunshine in the California San Joaquin Valley mean that this drying process is able to happen in approximately three weeks, with little chance of rain affecting the crop. By affecting the crop, we mean that the raisins stay dry, so the chance of mould appearing is minimal, and no sand or grit can be ‘kicked’ in amongst the fruit, causing damage to the skins.
Once they have been dried fully, the raisins are then collected from the vineyards and transported to packing plants. Before they have even been unloaded, government officials take samples from the middle of each box using long prods to be certain they are free from imperfections.
Inside the plants, California raisins are processed on a series of conveyer belts, drums and vacuum air streams to remove any stems, chaff or underweight fruit. They are then sorted by size, washed in pure spring water and finally run through a laser sorter, which recognises any non-raisin material and directs a short blast of air to remove it from the raisins. Throughout the whole process, quality control technicians inspect the fruit.
The raisins are then weighed and packed in a variety of sizes and shipped out across the world. Every effort is made to keep customers all over the world satisfied with California Raisins and the growers and packers are proud to have a good safety record that remains unblemished.
Every step of the way California Raisins are monitored and inspected not just by the industry’s own quality control personnel, but also by the USDA (United States Dept of Agriculture) on-site inspectors