The facility in McAllen, Texas will treat produce travelling to and from the US and Mexico.
ScanTech Sciences will transform the existing warehouse into a cross-dock facility with a produce handling system and adjoining structure for the ECP treatment system.
The 100,000 square foot center is scheduled to open in Q4 of 2017 and be fully operational by Q1 of 2018. It is designed to process more than 700,000 metric tons of produce per year, depending on product mix.
ECP is an alternative to postharvest treatments such as methyl bromide or hot water treatment and the firm said it results in pest sterilization, pathogen reduction and shelf-life extension.
The technique is a non-nuclear isotope method of irradiation that uses beams of electrons to eliminate foodborne pests and pathogens.
It involves moving the food through ECP electron beams for milliseconds on a high speed conveyor.
ScanTech Sciences will provide its ECP treatment as part of a program that includes logistics services such as expediting border crossing and USDA processes, product traceability and palletizing along with information such as document management and shipment visibility.
“As the first company to receive USDA clearance to build a next-generation ECP food treatment facility at the US border, [it] marks the beginning of an industry transition to extended shelf-life, enhanced visibility and reduced compliance risks and costs across the produce supply chain,” said Chip Starns, ScanTech Sciences’ COO.
Bret Erickson, former president of the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA), will be the facility’s general manager.
Erickson said US based importers crossed nearly 225,000 truckloads of fresh produce through Texas ports with a value of roughly $5.5bn last year.
“The new Rio Grande Valley ECP Center is an ideal location considering that approximately 78% of that volume came through the region.
“Delivering safe healthy fruits and vegetables is a top priority for our entire industry… [the] technology will benefit grower/shippers, importers, and consumers alike by vastly improving both food safety and quality.”