Heartland Catfish Facility
Heartland Catfish Company’s processing plant and corporate headquarters are located on a 50-acre site along US Highway 82, just east of Itta Bena, Mississippi. In the 135,000 square-foot facility, we employ some of the latest and most technologically advanced catfish processing available today. Every stage of the process from live-fish receiving to product shipment utilizes state-of-the-art equipment and systems to allow Heartland Catfish Company to provide our customers with the highest quality catfish products accurately, consistently and efficiently.
Receiving and Processing
Producing the best catfish products requires careful attention to temperature control throughout the supply chain. Heartland Catfish Company’s facilities are designed so that temperatures are consistently monitored and controlled. Every stage of processing – from chill water tanks, spiral freezers, processing floors, storage freezers, storage coolers and loading docks – is carefully calibrated to maintain the proper temperature to preserve the quality of the product.
The same automated systems also allow the Heartland Catfish Company team to control the flow of product throughout the processing line. Heartland Catfish Company’s breadth of product offerings is made possible through the systems that monitor, grade and weigh the individual fish before and after processing to ensure true net weights and accurate sizing. Having the ability to grade live fish by size allows Heartland Catfish Company to adapt their equipment to the correct size throughout the day, ensuring smooth, clean cuts that meet strict quality standards for appearance and texture of the finished product.
Food Safety and
Heartland Catfish Company’s main processing plant and corporate headquarters are located on a 50-acre site along US Highway 82, just east of Itta Bena, Miss. In the 135,000 square-foot facility, we employ some of the latest and most technologically advanced catfish processing available today. Every stage of the process from live-fish receiving to product shipment utilizes state-of-the-art equipment and systems to allow Heartland Catfish Company to provide our customers with the highest quality catfish products accurately, consistently and efficiently.
Storage and Shipping
Upon arrival to the plant, the fish are weighed, graded according to size and automatically directed to the appropriate production line. By matching each individual fish to the production equipment, we can increase meat yields off the carcass, reduce miscuts and maximize machine and personnel efficiencies. Once the fish have been filleted and the fillets trimmed, the fillets are again weighed and graded by size using a computerized grading and sorting system. This system sends the various sizes of fillets to the pack-off or further processing areas best suited for the size of the fillet. This additional sorting helps ensure that each box is packed with the correct size fillets so our customers receive the portion size and piece counts they expect. Computerized scales weigh and record each box of fish as it is packed to guarantee each case contains the correct net weight of product.
Largest Freezing Capacity in the Industry
Heartland Catfish Company has the capability to freeze 18,000 pounds of fillets every hour and the flexibility to freeze 100 percent of their production. This is key to managing both fresh and frozen orders to ensure high order fill rates. The freezing capacity also prevents Heartland Catfish Company from keeping fresh fish in ice totes for several days while awaiting freezer space. This food safety feature prevents high bacterial plate counts and inferior flesh texture and appearance.
Heartland Catfish Company only stores enough fresh fish in ice totes in order to have product to begin running at the start of the next day. This large freezing ability allows for easy adjustments to the fresh and frozen mix of production in times of high demand for individually quick-frozen (IQF) products but low supply of raw materials, resulting in higher fill rates of frozen products for our valued customers.