Random Tidbits of Information…

October 24, 2008

Brought to you by my past life as a commissioning engineer.  Yup, I used to travel around the world making things go from not working to working, and train all the locals up on how to run this.  My sign language is extremely, extremely good.  I can tell a lovely operator to stop touching the damn button in an extremely clear fashion let me tell you.  I’ve worked in a number of food factories, which I almost always found fascinating.  I love efficiency, and something like a canning line brings efficiency to new heights.  They use cameras that take separate photos every millisecond or so to capture places where the operation can be speeded up a fraction of a millisecond, which means they can can like 100 more cans a day.  Cool.  But I was stuck over in the water and wastewater division, but I always got a tour, believe me you.

This means that I shop for food differently than most people.  I make decisions based on which factories I’ve actually been in, how nice the people were, and which ones were clean and sanitary.  A basic example is that I only buy canned fruit that says it is from Dole Philippines.  They also have facilities in Thailand, but I’ve not been to their factory, but I would trust it.  I’ve also been to Del Monte Philippines, and I do not buy their produce.  This is based on numerous factors, the first of which is that this plant was  built just after the second world war, which can be considered a long time ago now.  They are trying to rebuild and upgrade parts of it, but this construction was going on beside actual food production lines, icky.  In the tropics you are always fighting bugs and vermin no matter what you do, coupled with food production means that you need to be extra special vigilant to keep nasty things out of food factories.  Del Monte, not so much.  When you work in juice filtration you usually end up working a lot of 24 hour shifts initially until you get the operators trained up on production and cleaning, which meant I had a few odd moments at 3 am.  My favorite moment involved seeing a giant rat run by my foot, and screaming rather loudly.  The Del Monte guys thought this was hilarious to see the funny lady scream at a rat, cause they say them every day don’t ya know?  All over the place apparently!  I also spent a large amount of time at 2 am trying to get a really good photo of the huge cockroach next to a pen for scale to show the secretary back home (see even back then I had good blogging instincts).  It kept scurrying around, in and out of the rather large floor drains filled with, yuck.  Never did get a good photo but it passed the time until the juice run was done and I could start cleaning. 

The Dole plant was filled with extremely nice people, and had very high standards of cleanliness.  Some other time I’ll tell you about how to make fruit salad, over 10 ladies, and 2 men are involved in filling just one can!  Seriously, one lady counts out exactly 5 cherries for each one!  That’s her whole job.  5 cherries, done.  5 cherries.  Done.  etc.  All. Day. Long.  Seriously.  So I buy Dole, and remember the nice people there.  (Not that the Del Monte people weren’t nice, but c’mon, they laughed at me for screaming at the rat running by my foot).  And the word of the day is “Seriously”. 

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!  Knit long and prosper dudes and dudettes.  Seriously.


4 Responses to “Random Tidbits of Information…”

  1. Cheryl S. said

    Thanks for the info – I’ll have to remember that. But I’m not showing this post to Larry. He’ll stop eating canned pineapple.

    He already won’t eat canned tuna fish.

  2. Sunnyknitter said

    I’m pretty sure this is the engineer’s equivalent of discussing nasty things wrong with patients while eating dinner with fellow hospital staff… Everyone nonmedical is gagging while the rest of us wonder what the problem is! (I’m glad I steer clear of canned fruit, although that’s the second good inside story I’ve heard about Dole!)

  3. Jewel said

    I’m glad I bottle my own fruit!!

  4. melanie said

    I’m not so into canned fruit either – but I’m going to stay away from Dole from now on (for my canned pineapple).

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