Fresh-Cut Research, Take 2

April 22, 2010

The food safety pavilion at United Fresh 2010 offered researchers the chance to talk about projects, and some had implications for processors.

Charles Forney with the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre in Kentville, Nova Scotia, spoke about the impact that packaging films can have on the taste of fresh-cut apple slices. The research group looked at perforated versus solid film bags and looked at the chemical effects of the bags and each treatment was judged by a taste panel. The Gala apple slices in the perforated bags had higher levels of esters, the flavor compounds. The taste panel found apples in perforated bags to have a fruitier aroma, a fruitier taste and were sweeter, despite there being no change in soluble solids.

Trevor Suslow from the University of California, Davis, spoke about some of the lessons learned from GAP field research. Some of the findings provided data to support what people already believed, but the research has also challenged how crops are grown and harvested. Suslow”s Top 10 findings are:

1. Irrigation metrics need revision.
2. Waterborne E. coli dies quickly in soil.
3. Waterborne salmonella survives in soil.
4. Contamination near the time of harvest is riskier.
5. Uniform contamination does not result in uniform survival.
6. Gaseous chlorine dioxide is an effective surface treatment.
7. Sample size must be larger than 25 grams.
8. LGMA no-harvest zone “metrics” work.
9. Systemic uptake from root structure is not plausible.
10. Sometimes test-and-hold prevents disasters.