5 Washing Lettuce and Cutting Salads

Washing Lettuce and Cutting Salads

Posted on September 28, 2014 by tim


From time to time we get our hands on pre-made, pre-chopped salads in fast food chains, or sometimes pre-washed salad ingredients in the stores. I was thinking the salads were chopped on site in the local fast food place, and wasn’t even suspecting that pre-washed chopped greens are using such a complex conveyor system to get into those plastic bags. But Aslan, the blogger, has visited a place near Moscow where a lot of Moscow fast food salads are being made and now we can see how this is being done in reality. If you are still curious – there is a story inside.

Well, as you might have figured, lettuce is the main type of produce that they process here. There are plenty of lettuce varieties and here they use many of them. The people in the photo are pre-cutting the lettuce in a certain way and then it goes into a cutting machine. 

Later they manually check the quality of the loose lettuce leaf. 

And the artificial river takes the lettuce further on. 

Aslan liked how it looked a lot – the lettuce going down in a stream of water. 

And here is where the pre washing is happening. 

Then the leaf is checked again. At this stage the smallest “not good” parts are pulled off. Most of the people working in the factory are immigrants from the South – mainly Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – the instructions are often printed in three languages – Uzbek, Farsi and Russian. 

And here is where that lettuce river stops, putting the lettuce directly into meshed containers. 

And those meshed containers are used to wash the salad again. So it’s double prewashed now. 

And then the container is placed into the centrifuge – a rotating machine that uses rotational forces to throw off the excess water. Like your washing machine does at the end of the washing cycle. 

Then it goes to the packing stage. Here you can peek at the other produce being packed in this factory besides salads. 

But we are here to track the lettuce. Here it comes to the scales.  It’s being packed and measured manually. 

That’s a large bag of lettuce!

And here is a final check point. There is a metal detector in the machine. Aslan decides to test how it works:

He puts a piece of metal in a lettuce bag. 

And “poom” the machine punches that bag off the conveyor belt, down into the reject bags bin. 

Ok and non rejected bags go into these boxes and are being moved to the warehouse. 

Which is also a giant fridge. 

Here are the display shelves where they store samples of each batch so that if someone complains about a faulty batch they can have a sample to check what was wrong with the batch. So with each new batch these display items are replaced with new ones.

“Lettuce Iceberg”

We are almost done. Here are some of the knives that are used by the workers.

And this is where the “bad” lettuce goes to. Directly into the trash bins.

There is also a red lettuce cutter here. 

Many types of produce are being processed here.

Even mushrooms, which are locally grown nearby. 

And that’s the map showing the company trucks delivering food around Moscow. The radial roads are the Moscow circle roads, and the dot in the middle must be the most central point in Moscow, maybe the Red Square. So it looks like the trucks are on their way. Aslan says that the operators of this map can request temperature readings and other details of each truck in real time.

Again, thanks to him for these photos, now we are aware how those pre-washed veggies are being done!

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5 Responses to “Washing Lettuce and Cutting Salads”

  1. Eric says:

    This is top quality, very clean and thorough production. I wish the foods they sell here were as well made, but there’s always some stuff I have to remove from the bag or jar…

  2. Darius says:

    And also no matter is West or East – extra care is always applied when there are guests in the “house”, especially if the gests bring the cameras.

  3. Otis R. Needleman says:

    Nice, but very small-scale. Once worked at a Fresh Express plant, which had many production lines. Wonder if the wash water is chlorinated. I don’t see any chlorine around, in any form.

  4. Douglas says:

    number one is …Keep it Clean…!!!

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