1. Packaging Fresh-Cut Agricultural Produce Dr Alastair HicksAdjunct Professor of Agroindustry Mae Fah Luang University Thailand ProPak Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh 1-3 March 2012

2. Flow chart for fruits,vegetables, root crops Harvesting and Cooling Receiving and Storage Washing and Sorting Peeling, trimming, de-seeding Cutting to specific sizes Sorting for defects Washing and cooling Drying Packaging & labelling Storage and Distribution

3. Harvesting of fresh produce  Selecting raw material with sound quality  avoid produce damage and contamination  workers use gloves, hair net, sanitary measures  Mechanical harvesters used in large operations

4. Remove field heat from fresh produce  Ice and water injection  Chilled water baths  Forced air cooling  Vacuum coolers  Packing with an ice-water mixture  Vacuum cooling tunnel  use a first-in, first out (FIFO) system


5. Receive and store fresh produce  The receival point for fresh fruit and vegetables into a fresh-cut processing plant is a key quality check point.  Large processing operations have a list of quality parameters and measurements.  Usually they have an enclosed refrigerated dock facility for receiving product.  Inventory of stocks begins at the receiving stage after deciding whether to process.

6. Quality Checklist for raw produce received at the pack houseHarvest Area (Number/ Date/Time:Field#):Harvest Crew: Supervisor:Vehicle Registration: Bin Label:Commodity Parameter Result Specifications Corrective Initials Actions Size BrixColour Acidity Defects Temperature

7. Process flow in a fresh-cut processing plant  Washing and sorting of fresh produce cut surfaces removes damaged tissues  These require the use of potable good quality water  Water flume for washing and transporting fruit in a large packing plant  This ensures produce safety and quality




8. Pre-cutting whole fresh produce to extend the shelf-life  Physical & Chemical pre-cut treatments  Physical – mainly air pressure, Modified Atmosphere (MA), heat and low temperature treatments.  Chemical – use of chemical sanitizers, chlorine, peroxyacetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, acidify sodium chloride or ozone  Firming agents like calcium dip and Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) plant growth regulator

9. Peeling, trimming, de-seeding fresh produce  Workers in complete food safety attire,sort & cut fruit  staff use knives to trim and peel fresh produce  plants use abrasive peelers, trimmers  high pressure air and lye and steam for peeling.

10. Fresh-cut produce cutting, slicing  Product bin dumpers  Product cutting and slicing machine

11. Washing, cooling of fresh produce  Continuous washing of pre- cut lettuce with sprays  Recycle through a filter to reduce water consumption  Check temp (0 – 5C) , contact time, pH (4.5 – 5.5) chlorine level (50-100ppm)  Oxido-Reduction potential (650-750 ppm).

12. Fresh-cut produce washing, drying  Continuous fresh-cut product washing flume  Pre-cut vegetables are dried with centrifugal force of spin dryers

13. Post- cutting treatments of fresh-cut produce  Post- cutting treatments of fresh-cut produce extend shelf-life  Chemical post-cutting treatments applied  Physical post-cutting treatments applied

14. Physical post-cutting treatments  Modified atmosphere and low temperature storage reduces respiration rate and deterioration of fresh-cut produce.  Modified Atmosphere (MA) is passive or active  Active MA – flushing package with a gas or mixture of gases different from normal air  Passive MA- created in package by respiration of fresh-cut produce and package permeability

15. Chemical post-cutting treatments  Inhibit enzymatic browning discoloration caused by enzyme polyphenoloxidase (PPO)  Acidification – solutions of acetic, ascorbic, citric, tartaric, fumaric or phosphoric acid  Reducing agents – Such as ascorbic acid, or erythorbate isomer of ascorbic acid  Application of edible coating: using coating such as sodium caseinate-stearic acid  Firming agents- Firmness of fresh-cut fruit products ismaintained by treatment with calcium compounds.

16. Other post-cutting treatments  Low heat treatment to activate pectinesterase prior to a CaCl2 dip  Drying treatment: water removed from fresh-cut produce before packaging

17. Fresh-cut filling, sealing, checking  Auto scale with form- fill-seal packaging unit to pack produce in plastic bags  Metal detectors prevent metal objects being in final product

18. Packaging to assure quality and safety of fresh-cut produce  When fruit and vegetables are cut, spoilage is faster than with intact or packed product.  Packaging protects physical damage, also chemical and microbiological contamination.  Packaged fresh-cut produce is a key factor to deliver finished product intact to the end user.  Refrigeration maintains package shelf life by keeping product temperature at correct level.

19. Packaging/labelling treatment  Film, rigid plastic used for fresh-cut fruit, vegetables  Packs are filled by hand in a small operation  Shrink wrap machine removes air, seals bag  Plastic pouches in cardboard storage, delivery boxes  Automatic operations, bags formed, filled, and sealed  Metal detector checks bags passing through the detector to test for metal contaminants.  Finished product has a Use By date for optimum product shelf life. Codes are printed on the package.

20. Types of fresh food packaging film  Types of packaging for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables include:   Flexible film, Plastic bags   Shrink wrap packaging   Rigid plastic containers  Oriented polypropylene (OPP) for MAP  Perforated, thin, low density polyethylene (LDPE)  Monolayer polyvinylchloride (PVC)  Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)

21. Rigid plastic packaging  Rigid plastic packaging used for fresh-cut fruit & vegetable retailing  Finished product has a Use By date for optimum shelf life.  Codes are printed on the package.

22. Rigid plastic packaging cont’d

23. Flexible plastic packaging  Used for fresh-cut salad vegetables  Ready to eat, washed mixed fresh product  Films with permeability, right area; headspace volume, known product respiration  Labels printed on the plastic film, weight, price, use instructions

24. Fresh food packaging trends  Packaging recyclability, biodegradability: large buyers are concerned about environment.  Packaging variety: more than 1,500 different sizes, styles of produce packages.  Packaging sales appeal: Quality graphics boost sales appeal. Multi-colour printing, distinct lettering, logos are common.  Packaging shelf life: Fresh produce packaging is engineered to extend shelf life, reduce waste.

25. Properties of MAP packaging: Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP):  MAP reduces respiration rate , slows senescence  MAP lowers O2, high CO2 levels reduces ethylene & extends fresh-cut products shelf life.  MAP delays ripening, surface browning, retard enzyme activity & microbial growth  Passive MAP- a hermetically sealed container  Active MAP- Flush air from package with filler gas  Some limited success cases with MAP, undesirable sensory changes – colour, flavour, odour, growth of pathogenic organisms

26. Storage and distribution  Customer demand for convenient, fresh, tasty food led to fresh-cut produce industry  “Cold Chain” is key to delivering fresh wholesome fruit/vegetable products  Fresh-cut plants, cold storage facilities, transport companies, wholesaler, retailer & supermarket all help the fresh product.  Storage times are kept to a minimum.

27. Quality assurance system  Quality assurance is good timely information on all the quality attributes of a product  Physical, chemical, sensory evaluation of raw materials, processed products  Ingredients and packaging supplies, processing parameters, finished products  Microbiological analysis and control of raw materials and finished products

28. Quality assurance system cont’d  Control of storage and handling conditions  Sanitation and waste products control  Assurance final products within legal limits and marketing standards.  Quality, food safety used as a marketing tool  Quality standards used – EUREPGAP, Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) , International Food Standard (IFS), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Good Manufacturing & Hygienic Practices (GMP, GHP) and others.

29. Thank you !