USDA INSPECTED AND FDA/HAACP CERTIFIED
Total Quality Control, From PondThrough Processing
Through Delivery,Means Total Quality Assurance.
Welcome to our world-class processing plant: Thanks to our high standards of farming, Simmons Catfish is already a step ahead in quality by the time it arrives at the plant. Simmons’ absolute quality standards mean that fish from every pond are flavor tested once a day for three days before harvest. Then with a unique combination of state-of-the-art technology, skilled artistry and meticulous attention to detail, Simmons’ swift, sterile processing takes that quality to the next level, insuring that each and every Simmons product—fillet or whole, ice-packed or IQF—is the very finest on the market, without exception.
1. IT STARTS WITH TESTING
Harry Simmons says: “It's not Simmons until we taste it!”
Before any Simmons fish are harvested from our ponds, samples undergo stringent inspection. Product must be judged perfect, and not just to visual standards. A fish from each pond is cooked and sampled for taste — your personal guarantee that the Simmons product isn’t just the best looking on the market, it’s also the best tasting.
Live haul trucks transport the catfish from ponds to the plant.
Live haul trucks, filled with cool water, transport the catfish from the pond to the plant. When the truck arrives at the plant, a fish is selected from each tank and taste tested for good pure, clean flavor. If acceptable, the truck is unloaded, the fish are weighed and the process begins. Only perfect, on-flavor fish are processed and labeled Simmons Farm Raised Catfish.
Each and every fish is thoroughly cleaned.
Live fish are immobilized and eviscerated leaving each body cavity pristine. And it isn't only the fish that are spotlessly cleaned, each and every step of Simmons processing is immaculate.
4. SCRUB DOWN
Every two hours, the plant is meticulously cleaned.
Like clockwork, production lines close down for a complete scrub down. In fact, the sterile environment of the Simmons plant far exceeds prevailing industry standards for cleanliness and hygiene.
5. INTO THE CHILLER
Fish enter the “Chiller” for washing and chilling.
After evisceration, the fish enter the specially designed “Chiller,” a large cold-water vat for washing and chilling. With its constant temperature of 38 to 42 degrees, the Chiller is one more important guarantee of the quality, freshness and integrity of each fish. After chilling, the fish pass through an electronic scan grader and are separated into the specifically desired size ranges to be skinned, filleted and trimmed.
6. CAREFULLY SKINNED
Relentless attention to detail yeilds a perfect product.
After sorting, any fish to be hand filleted or packed and sold as whole fish goes first to be skinned. With great care, highly trained skinners pass the fish over a table with rotating cylinders, which removes only the thin layer of skin.
Filleting by highly skilled employees.
Designated fish are sent to be hand filleted by another group of highly skilled personnel who see that each fillet is completely bone-free. Fish to be automatically filleted pass through the fillet machine's series of sharp, precision-set blades and knives, then through the skinning machine and then on to the trimming department. Like the team members in skinning and filleting, Simmons trimmers apply specialized skills and expertise along with an intense attention to detail that insures that each automatically filleted product is as bone-free and perfect as our hand-filleted product.
8. ICE PACKED
Freshness is maintained at every step.
Afterward, product is either packed in ice in boxes for shipment to the customer, or packed on ice in tubs or vats to be transferred to the freezing department.
9. THE IQF
Individually Quick Frozen for freshness.
The IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) process is done at a temperature of approximately 40 degrees below zero. After exiting the freezer, the individually frozen product is dipped in a vat of very cold water, which freezes immediately and forms a very thin layer of ice around each individual piece. This is excellent protection against freezer burn during storage. One final QA inspection and another pass through the scan grading system, and the product is sorted and graded for the final packaging for sale to the customer.
10. SUPER COLD STORAGE
Temperature controlled from storage to delivery.
After packing, fresh product is stored at 32 degrees, frozen at 15 to 20 below zero. Simmons temperature-controlled trucks insure quality all the way to the product's ultimate destination at a final end user or distributor.