Oakshire Mushroom Farm is a producer of mushrooms, based in Kennett Square, Pa. In business for more than 31 years, the fungi producer develops, grows and packs their own OAKSHIRE branded products and is the exclusive North American licensee for DOLE mushrooms.
When Oakshire needed a new metal detector in 2015 to accommodate rising demand, they turned to Mettler-Toledo Safeline, Tampa, Fla., and its Signature Touch metal detector to maximize food safety and final product quality.
“Before purchasing our first metal detectors, we went to tradeshows and considered four different suppliers. Mettler-Toledo Safeline stood out, so we bought three of their systems,” says Stephen Anania, director of operations for Oakshire Mushroom Farm. “Last year, we needed another one, and decided to stay with Mettler-Toledo because of the great equipment reliability and customer service. Our sales rep, Dick DeNenno from Reliant Packaging Systems, guided us through the purchase process and helped us identify the best system for our current and future needs.”
“We love our Signature Touch for its impressive detection sensitivity and ease of use. From a maintenance perspective, I never have to think about this metal detector – it just runs and runs and runs,” says Steven Lathe, maintenance manager for Oakshire Mushroom Farm. “Installation was so easy, we did it ourselves. Just put it in place, level it and plug it in. Mushrooms are grown in wooden beds held together with nails and screws, so metal detection is a crucial part of our process. It’s extremely important that none of that metal gets mixed in with the product and goes out the door.”
Oakshire Mushroom Farm processes a variety of mushroom types, with changeovers occurring as often as four times per line per shift, depending on the season.
Safeline metal detectors find ferrous and non-ferrous tramp metal, as well as the most difficult-to-detect, non-magnetic, stainless-steel fragments and non-spherical fine wire fragments. With high-frequency advanced coil technology and dynamic filtering techniques, these systems maximize detection sensitivity and stability.
“We check the performance of our metal detectors every hour by running test strips through,” adds Mike Morrison, quality control manager for Oakshire Mushroom Farm. “The sensitivity on the Signature Touch is the best we’ve ever seen.”
“Mushrooms can challenge detection technology with their changing moisture content and density, which vary from batch to batch as well as from one mushroom type and size to another,” says Lathe. “Our new metal detector works equally well for all our mushrooms and handles most product variations without requiring adjustments.”
The aperture on the Signature Touch is unusually large, allowing it to accommodate a wide assortment of package sizes. With an opening 20 inches wide and 9 inches high, it can inspect lugs of incoming product as well as the final product quality of retail-sized tills and 10-pound bulk packages for foodservice customers.
“We pack hundreds of thousands of pounds per week and distribute throughout the U.S. Because we’ve licensed the DOLE brand, we can go to our customers with a nice value proposition, offering both the OAKSHIRE brand and a national brand,” says Quintin Schroeder, product manager for Oakshire Mushroom Farm. “We’ve been growing very aggressively year after year.”
“Product safety is our most important objective. That’s why we rely so much on our metal detectors,” adds Morrison. “The Signature Touch is a huge part of how we ensure we’re putting out the high-quality mushrooms that Oakshire is known for.”