Garnish Section Aosa Seaweed. Marukome’s original quality standards are applied to the supplied aosa seaweed. These standards are so strict, that more than half of the seaweed on the regular market is not acceptable. The seaweed passes through various sorting processes in order to ensure strict quality control.

Harvesting and Processing

Harvesting and Processing

Fresh aosa seaweed is carefully sorted and delivered to the factory.

The best time to harvest aosa seaweed is from the end of winter to early spring, when it is soft and ready to eat. Veteran fishermen observe ocean conditions, and select a day when foreign matter floating in the sea will not be mixed in with the seaweed. The seaweed is carefully harvested from the water.

Harvesting and Processing

After harvesting, the aosa seaweed is promptly rotated in a large sieve, where it is washed with water and then spun dry. It is then taken to the processing factory where it is spun at a high-speed and divided into smaller pieces. Foreign matter such as leaves and algae are removed in these first processes. Workers then carefully loosen the seaweed and spread it out on a large basket to dry. The seaweed is repeatedly and carefully checked for foreign matter before it is packed and shipped out.

Highlights. The day of harvest is carefully determined, and inspections are repeatedly carried out. The positions of the nets are carefully adjusted just before the seaweed is harvested from the water farm to avoid including leaves and flower petals floating in the sea. The amount of foreign matter which is gathered greatly varies depending on this timing, so we rely on the observation skills of veteran fishermen. Freshly harvested aosa seaweed is washed and separated by machine and by hand. It is carefully checked for contaminants repeatedly. Workers visually sort the seaweed before drying to reduce the amount of entangled foreign matter.

Drying and Cutting

Drying and Cutting

The aosa seaweed is dried and cut into the right size for consumption and quality control.

The seaweed supplied to the factory is arranged on the production line. It is coarsely broken into palm-sized pieces and then dried. If the temperature is too high, only the outer surface will dry, so it must be slowly dried at a temperature between 40 and 50°C. The dried aosa seaweed has a crisp texture.

Next, the seaweed is cut to size. It is important to cut it into suitable pieces since risk of contamination increases when the pieces are too large, and the texture is lost if the pieces are too small.

Highlights. The seaweed is slowly dried at a low temperature, and then cut into moderately sized pieces to ensure good food texture. The wet aosa seaweed is slowly dried at a temperature between 40 and 50°C until it contains the right amount of moisture. The process has been improved so that the seaweed pieces are small but are still enjoyed when eaten.

Mechanical Sorting

Mechanical Sorting

Our original expertise is applied in order to remove foreign matter from various angles by combining various sorting devices.

Aosa seaweed is cultivated in a natural ocean environment where foreign matter can easily adhere. In addition, it’s shape easily holds foreign matter, so it’s not always easy to know what will be attached.

We use a variety of sorting devices to identify for foreign matter from various angles. Our current sorting line equipment was designed after repeated trial and error. We use our original expertise in combination with these sorting machines and setting machine speed, etc.

Highlights. Thorough quality control is applied using various sorting machines. Air Current Sorter. Light foreign matter such as bird feathers and pieces of plastic are blown away. Color Sorter. The sorting machine uses a visible beam to identify reflected colors. Any foreign matter that is not the same color green as the seaweed is removed. Metal Detector. Metal pieces are removed. A magnet is also used to remove magnetic sand, mud, iron sand, etc., which may have been overlooked by the metal detector. X-ray Fiber Detector. Unwanted matter such as broken pieces of clamshell, oysters shell, and sea urchin shell is removed.

Visual Sorting

Visual Sorting

Skilled workers carefully look at the seaweed in order to remove each piece of foreign matter.

Several skilled workers check each piece of dried aosa seaweed that passes along the belt conveyor, and make sure there is no attached foreign matter.

A large amount of aosa seaweed cannot be checked at once, and this step requires a high level of concentration. Less than 10 kilograms are checked in an hour. The seaweed travels at a very slow speed so that the inspectors can remove very small pieces of contaminants. Different colored belt conveyors are used to improve visibility and prevent any foreign matter from being overlooked.

Highlights. Different colored belt conveyors are used so that no foreign matter is overlooked.Worker concentration is essential for this visual sorting. Even extremely small pieces of foreign matter are removed by hand. The belt conveyor has a white belt and blue belt. By checking the seaweed against different colors, overlooking foreign matter can be avoided.

Sentiments on Quality Control

It is important for us to remember the consumer’s viewpoint. We strive to achieve safety in our products and the trust of our customers.Development Dept. Yukako Kuroiwa
We also inspect the factory.

The shape of aosa seaweed easily holds foreign matter, so we pay careful attention during the production process. Manual labor is especially important when processing aosa seaweed. Workers look at small batches of seaweed and carefully remove any foreign matter during this time-consuming production process.

It is important to understand these processing steps and the characteristics of our products. It is also important to understand that we, the producers, also consider the products from the consumer's viewpoint. We know that any problem in the purchased product will instantly leave the consumer with a bad impression of our company. If there are any matters of concern during the initial steps or during various processes, we strive to quickly resolve each one.

As the producers, we will continue to work together as one to delivery safe, trustworthy, and delicious products to our customers.