Evaluating Vidalia onion packinghouse improvement with discrete event simulation and non-destructive testing
Mosqueda, Maria Rosario P.
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Sizing and inspection performance of three Vidalia onion packinghouses were assessed and the impact of improving these variables and of incorporating an X-ray inspection technology evaluated using discrete event simulation. Model assumptions were derived from two-year four-cultivar samples and from a three-packinghouse time study. Sizing accuracy of the packinghouses was significantly different (p<0.05) while reject incidence in marketable onions was not significantly different (p>0.05). Percentage of oversized onions, by weight, found in most of their size categories exceeded US Grade Standards tolerance limit. Technology incorporation reduced the number of internally defective onions per box by 80-94%. Estimated selling prices per box of X-ray inspected onions were within the range of historical shipping point prices in Vidalia district for controlled atmosphere (CA)-stored and non-CA stored onions, suggesting that pricing for these superior quality onions seemed to be economically sustainable. An undergraduate interdisciplinary course on fresh food supply chains was also developed.