With an increased interest in citrus mechanical harvesting, citrus processors are becoming concerned about issues that could have a direct impact on their operations. Food Safety related to fruit picked off the ground, Trailer Debris, and daily trailer allocations are issues of concern to processors, and without adequate resolution possibly could become impediments to the adoption of mechanical harvesting.
Food safety addresses the effects of mechanical harvesting on fruit microflora. An investigation of whether mechanically harvesting with a ground fruit machine increases bacteria on the peel and in the juice. Further examination is being done at the increased amount of sand present in mechanically harvested fruit picked up off the ground.
A trailer debris study addresses the amount of trash (stems, branches, twigs and leaves) being deposited into a trailer of mechanically harvested fruit. At the very least, unwanted debris increases waste handling costs. At the worst, debris could damage processing machinery.