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Sunflower seeds storage and sorting process:
Prerequisite: Each sunflower grower abides by the Global-Gap rules and regulations, and must send samples to an authorized lab in order to detect any trace of pesticides.
• Silos – In the factory, the empty silos are being fumigated for pest prevention. The silos remain sealed till arrival of the raw material (i.e. sunflower seeds);
• Arrival of raw material at the factory;
• Rough cleaning – The seeds undergo an initial “rough” cleaning process in which earth, stones, and other foreign objects are being detected and blown out of the sorting line with the help of metal detectors, large blowers, etc.;
• Temporary storage – Once the initial cleaning process is complete, the seeds are stored in the silos according to the various origins (i.e. growers). Samples are taken from each silo and sent to the lab for trace of pesticides, heavy metals, aflatoxin, etc.;
• Pest control procedure – By a licensed operator, once seeds are in the silo;
• Mechanical sorting – Once a work order is issued, the silo is opened and the seeds’ quality is being re-examined, after which they undergo an additional cleaning process where empty/broken shells are being eliminated;
• Additional mechanical sorting – Seeds are being sorted according to size;
• Manual sorting – Conducted in a closed, well-lit room, in which the seeds are being sorted by hand, and where shrunken/broken seeds, as well as foreign objects (e.g. sticks, animals, flower parts), are picked and eliminated;
• Quality control – Following the manual sorting, the produce is being weighed and packed in sacks. A controller samples the produce from the sacks and quality is being re-examined;
• Storage – Once quality is re-affirmed, the raw material in the sacks is put in clean, cool storage, and constantly monitored by the pest-control company;
• Traceability – Each pallet/sack bears a barcode for traceability.