Family-owned US pistachio grower and processor, Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., continues to invest in CoolSteam® Pasteurization lines guaranteeing product food safety and quality for their customers.
Laitram Machinery’s CoolSteam® inauguration to the nut industry began in 2014 with Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., by applying knowledge and innovation to solve processing problems related to food safety. Laitram’s culture is rooted in applying core capabilities to solve customer problems and create value. This culture of innovation is best exemplified by the CoolSteam® cooking technologies used for seafood cooking, tree nut pasteurization, and vegetable blanching by processors around the globe.
About Setton Pistachio
As one of the largest pistachio growers and processors in the US, Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. owns and operates over 130 acres of pistachio orchards and facilities. By vertically integrated the process from the orchard to retail, Setton Pistachio ensures top-quality processing and value of all products for customers.
Laitram Machinery CoolSteam®: Seafood Cooking to Tree Nut Pasteurization
Laitram's low-temperature, forced-convection steam technology was launched in the seafood industry, and quickly set a global standard for shrimp cooking, creating millions of dollars in yield savings for each customer. With a trusted method in the shrimp industry and identifying a class problem in the nut industry, we set out to leverage our work in forced convection steam to deliver the CoolSteam® Nut Pasteurization system. The nut pasteurization system is a continuous flow, 4-step low-temperature steam process, that organically pasteurizes tree nuts for a 5log+ reduction of pathogens. The process virtually mitigates all moisture uptake and skin lift to eliminate disturbing each nut's raw form and quality. CoolSteam® produces exceptionally consistent product quality while operating at minimal cost with extraordinary flexibility.
Read more below from Lee Cohen, General Manager at Setton on the decision to invest in CoolSteam® Pasteurization.
Nut Pasteurization Testing
Laitram Machinery did not always plan to specialize in tree nut pasteurization. However, this changed when challenged by grower and processor, Setton Pistachio, to utilize CoolSteam® cooking technology for pistachio pasteurization. Lee Cohen explains, “Setton tested a variety of technologies and traveled the world several times in search of the right equipment. We never did find a suitable technology available at that time in the nut industry. In the process of searching for alternatives, I found on the internet a company in New Orleans offering a steam-based shrimp cooker. Given the highly sanitary stainless-steel design and the belt-driven continuous pasteurization process, we sent Laitram a single 25-pound box of raw pistachios to determine the viability. The product came back virtually unchanged after pasteurization, organoleptically-speaking, and we quickly sent a team down to New Orleans to evaluate a larger volume test. The successful results quickly followed into Setton taking delivery of the first CoolSteam® unit in the industry back in 2014."
CoolSteam® Efficiency, Consistency, and Safety
"Setton Pistachio is widely recognized as having the highest quality, best-tasting pistachios in the industry, and our primary motivation to ensure quality and consistency led us to select the CoolSteam® units," says Cohen, General Manager of Setton Pistachio. "Moving from dry-thermal pasteurization using a roaster, which has large temperature variability, we found the CoolSteam® Pasteurizer to enable very precise control and visibility over all critical QA/HACCP parameters during pasteurization."
A Strategic Partnership to bring Extraordinary Value
"Laitram’s equipment is a core part of our quality and food-safety infrastructure and as we’ve added additional units and increased capacity, Laitram has incorporated several of our design needs into their controls or equipment," explains Cohen. Currently, Setton Pistachio owns 9 CoolSteam® units and has recently invested in 3 additional lines due to ship 2021/2022 to support their growing crop and processing business.
"Laitram delivers reliable, high-quality engineered equipment and their customer service is delivered similarly. From the sales offer process through installation for each unit, Laitram has in our experience been thorough, responsive, and exceeded our expectations whenever we’ve needed them," continues Cohen. "Setton considers Laitram's equipment to be distinctly better than the competition due to their designs and engineering. We are a customer of Laitram's other businesses as well, such as Intralox, for a number of conveyance products and plastic belts, for their unique solutions and innovative designs. Laitram is an innovative company."
Better Product. Better Planet. CoolSteam®
Just as CoolSteam® is the global standard for shrimp cooking, through continuous innovation, the Laitram CoolSteam® pasteurization technology is growing to the global standard for steam nut pasteurization. As more processors adopt CoolSteam® Pasteurization for their pasteurization needs, 30 units have been installed globally for use in tree nut pasteurization in pistachios, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans.