Wednesday, March 21, 2012


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

packaging Requirements For Fresh Fruits And Vegetables


Packaging fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the more foremost steps in the long and complex journey from grower to consumer. Bags, crates, hampers, baskets, cartons, bulk bins, and palletized packaging are convenient packaging for handling, transporting, and marketing fresh produce. More than 1,500 different types of packages are used for yield in the U.S. And the estimate continues to increase as the business introduces new packaging materials and concepts. Although the business ordinarily agrees that container standardization is one way to reduce cost, the trend in recent years has moved toward a wider range of container sizes to accommodate the diverse needs of wholesalers, consumers, food assistance buyers, and processing operations.

Harbor Freight

Packing and packaging materials conduce a primary cost to the yield industry; therefore it is foremost that packers, shippers, buyers, and consumers have a clear comprehension of the wide range of packaging options available. This fact sheet describes some of the many types of packaging, together with their functions, uses, and limitations. Also included is a listing, by commodity, of the common yield packaging approved to the industry.

packaging Requirements For Fresh Fruits And Vegetables

The Function of packaging or Why container Produce?

A primary percentage of yield buyer and buyer complaints may be traced to container failure because of poor manufacture or inappropriate option and use. A properly designed yield container should contain, protect, and identify the produce, satisfying everybody from grower to consumer.

Packaging Points


A growing estimate of U.S. Markets and many export markets have waste disposal restrictions for packaging materials. In the near future, approximately all yield packaging will be recyclable or biodegradable, or both. Many of the largest buyers of fresh yield are also those most concerned about environmental issues.


The trend is toward greater use of bulk packages for processors and wholesale buyers and smaller packages for consumers. There are now more than 1,500 different sizes and styles of yield packages.

Sales Appeal.High ability graphics are increasingly being used to boost sales appeal. Multi-color printing, distinctive lettering, and logos are now common.

Shelf Life.

Modern yield packaging can be convention engineered for each commodity to enlarge shelf life and reduce waste.


The container must enclose the yield in convenient units for handling and distribution. The yield should fit well inside the container, with diminutive wasted space. Small yield items that are round or oblong (such as potatoes, onions, and apples) may be packaged efficiently utilizing a range of different container shapes and sizes. However, many yield items such as asparagus, berries, or soft fruit may wish packaging specially designed for that item. Packages of yield ordinarily handled by hand are normally diminutive to 50 pounds. Bulk packages moved by fork lifts may weigh as much as 1,200 pounds.


The container must safe the yield from mechanical damage and poor environmental conditions while handling and distribution. To yield buyers, torn, dented, or collapsed yield packages normally indicate lack of care in handling the contents. yield packaging must be sturdy enough to resist damage while packaging, storage, and communication to market.

Because approximately all yield packages are palletized, yield packaging should have enough stacking vigor to resist crushing in a low temperature, high humidity environment. Although the cost of packaging materials has escalated sharply in recent years, poor quality, lightweight packaging that are no ifs ands or buts damaged by handling or moisture are no longer tolerated by packers or buyers.

Produce destined for export markets requires that packaging to be extra sturdy. Air-freighted yield may wish special packing, container sizes, and insulation. Marketers who export fresh yield should consult with freight associates about any special packaging requirements. Additionally, the Usda and discrete state export agencies may be able to contribute specific packaging information.

Damage resulting from poor environmental control while handling and transit is one of the foremost causes of rejected yield and low buyer and buyer satisfaction. Each fresh fruit and vegetable commodity has its own requirements for temperature, humidity, and environmental gas composition.

Produce packaging should be yield amiable - helping to contend an optimum environment for the longest shelf life. This may consist of special materials to slow the loss of water from the produce, insulation materials to keep out the heat, or engineered plastic liners that contend a convenient mix of oxygen and carbon dioxide.


The container must identify and contribute beneficial data about the produce. It is original (and may be required in some cases) to contribute data such as the yield name, brand, size, grade, variety, net weight, count, grower, shipper, and country of origin. It is also becoming more common to find included on the package, nutritional information, recipes, and other beneficial data directed specifically at the consumer. In buyer marketing, pack- age appearance has also become an foremost part of point of sale displays.

Universal product Codes (Upc or bar codes) may be included as part of the labeling. The Upcs used in the food business consist of a ten-digit machine readable code. The first five digits are a estimate assigned to the specific producer (packer or shipper) and the second five digits represent specific product data such as type of yield and size of package. Although no price data is included, Upcs are used more and more by packers, shippers, buyers, and Example of a Upc retailers as a fast and convenient recipe of account control and cost accounting. Sufficient use of Upcs requires coordination with everybody who handles the package.

Types of packaging Materials


Pallets no ifs ands or buts form the base on which most fresh yield is delivered to the consumer. Pallets were first used while World War Ii as an Sufficient way to move goods. The yield business uses approximately 190 of the 700 million pallets produced per year in the U.S.. About 40 percent of these are single-use pallets. Because many are of a non-standard size, the pallets are built as inexpensively as inherent and discarded after a particular use. Although standardization efforts have been slowly under way for many years, the efforts have been accelerated by pressure from environmental groups, in addition to the rising cost of pallets and landfill tipping fees.

Over the years, the 40-inch wide, by 48-inch long pallet has evolved as the unofficial approved size. Standardization encourages re-use, which has many benefits. Besides reducing cost because they may be used many times, most pallet racks and self-acting pallet handling tool are designed for standard-size pallets. approved size pallets make Sufficient use of truck and van space and can accommodate heavier loads and more stress than lighter single-use pallets. Additionally, the use of a particular pallet size could substantially reduce pallet account and warehousing costs along with pallet mend and disposal costs. The adoption of a pallet approved throughout the yield business would also aid efforts toward standardization of yield containers.

In the early 1950s, an alternative to the pallet was introduced. It is a pallet-size sheet (slipsheet) of corrugated fiberboard or plastic (or a combination of these materials) with a narrow lip along one or more sides. Packages of yield are stacked directly on this sheet as if it were a pallet. Once the packages are in place, they are moved by a specially adequate fork lift adequate with a thin metal sheet instead of forks.

Slipsheets are considerably less high-priced than pallets to buy, store, and maintain; they may be re-used many times; and they reduce the tare weight of the load. However, they wish the use of a special fork-lift attachment at each handling point from packer to retailer.

Depending on the size of yield package, a particular pallet may carry from 20 to over 100 personel packages. Because these packages are often loosely stacked to allow for air circulation, or are bulging and difficult to stack evenly, they must be secured (unitized) to preclude shifting while handling and transit. Although widely used, plastic straps and tapes may not have wholly satisfactory results. Plastic or paper projection tabs should all the time be used to preclude the straps from crushing the corners of packages.

Plastic stretch film is also widely used to regain yield packages. A good film must stretch, withhold its elasticity, and cling to the packages. Plastic film may conform no ifs ands or buts to discrete size loads. It helps safe the packages from loss of moisture, makes the pallet more regain against pilferage, and can be applied using partial automation. However, plastic film severely restricts proper ventilation. A common alternative to stretch film is plastic netting, which is much great for stabilizing some pallet loads, such as those that wish forced-air cooling. Used stretch film and plastic netting may be difficult to properly handle and recycle.

A very low-cost and approximately fully self-acting recipe of pallet stabilization is the application of a small estimate of special glue to the top of each package. As the packages are stacked, the glue secures all cartons together. This glue has a low tensile vigor so cartons may be no ifs ands or buts separated or repositioned, but a high shear vigor so they will not slide. The glue does not gift disposal or recycling problems.

Pallet Bins. Huge wooden pallet bins of milled lumber or.plywood are primarily used to move yield from the field or orchard to the packing house. Depending on the application, capacities may range from 12 to more than 50 bushels. Although the height may vary, the length and width is ordinarily the same as a approved pallet (48 inches by 40 inches). More Sufficient double-wide pallet bins (48 inches by 80 inches) are becoming more common in some yield operations.

Most pallet bins are locally made; therefore it is very foremost that they be consistent from lot to lot in materials, construction, and especially size. For example, small differences in allinclusive dimensions Pallet bin can add up to big problems when some hundred are stacked together for cooling, ventilation, or storage. It is also foremost that stress points be adequately reinforced. The median life of a hardwood pallet bin that is stored surface is approximately five years. When properly protected from the weather, pallets bins may have a beneficial life of 10 years or more.

Uniform voluntary standards for wood pallets and other wood packaging are administered by the National Wooden Pallet and container Association, Washington, Dc. Additionally, the American community of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan, publishes standards for agricultural pallet bins (Asae S337.1).

Wire-Bound Crates. Although alternatives are available, wooden wire-bound crates are used extensively for snap beans, sweet corn and some other commodities that wish hydrocooling. Wire-bound crates are sturdy, rigid and have very high stacking vigor that is essentially unaffected by water. Wire-bound crates come in many different sizes from half- bushel to pallet-bin size and have a great deal of open space to facilitate cooling and ventilation. Although few are re-used, wire-bound crates may be dissembled after use and shipped back to the packer (flat). In some areas, used packaging may pose a primary disposal problem. Wirebound crates are not ordinarily approved for buyer packaging because of the strangeness in affixing convenient labels.

Wooden Crates and Lugs. Wooden crates, once extensively used for apples, stone fruit, and potatoes have been approximately totally supplanted by other types of containers. The relative cost of the container, a greater concern for tare weight, and advances in material handling have reduced their use to a few specialty items, such as high-priced tropical fruit. The 15-, 20-, and 25-pound wooden lugs still used for bunch grapes and some specialty crops are being slowly supplanted with less costly alternatives.

Wooden Baskets and Hampers. Wire-reinforced wood veneer baskets and hampers of different sizes were once used for a wide range of crops from strawberries to sweetpotatoes. They are durable and may be nested for Sufficient transport when empty. However, cost, disposal problems, and strangeness in Sufficient palletization have severely diminutive their use to mostly local grower markets where they may be re-used many times.

Corrugated Fiberboard

Corrugated fiberboard (often mistakenly called cardboard or pasteboard) is man-made in many different styles and weights. Because of its relativity low cost and versatility, it is the dominant yield container material and will probably remain so in the near future. The vigor and serviceability of corrugated fiberboard have been enhancing in recent years.

Most corrugated fiberboard is made from three or more layers of paperboard man-made by the kraft process. To be determined paperboard, the paper must be thicker than 0.008 inches. The grades of paperboard are differentiated by their weight (in pounds per 1,000 quadrate feet) and their thickness. Kraft paper made from unbleached pulp has a characteristic brown color and is exceptionally strong. In addition to virgin wood fibers, Kraft paper may have some measure of artificial fibers for supplementary strength, sizing (starch), and other materials to give it wet vigor and printability. Most fiberboard contains some recycled fibers. Minimum amounts of recycled materials may be specified by law and the percentage is anticipated to increase in the future. Tests have shown that cartons of fully recycled pulp have about 75 percent of the stacking vigor of virgin fiber containers. The use of recycled fibers will inevitably lead to the use of thicker walled containers.

Double-faced corrugated fiberboard is the celebrated form used for yield containers. It is produced by sandwiching a layer of corrugated paperboard in the middle of an inner and outer liner (facing) of paper-board. The inner and outer liner may be identical, or the outer layer may be preprinted or coated to great accept printing. The inner layer may be given a special coating to resist moisture.

Heavy-duty shipping containers, such as corrugated bulk bins that are required to have high stacking strength, may have double- or even triple-wall construction. Corrugated fiberboard manufacturers print box certificates on the lowest of packaging to certify determined vigor characteristics and limitations. There are two types of certification. The first certifies the minimum combined weight of both the inner and outer facings and that the corrugated fiberboard material is of a minimum bursting strength. The second certifies minimum edge crush test (Etc) strength. Edge crush vigor is a much great predictor of stacking vigor than is bursting strength. For this reason, users of corrugated fiberboard packaging should insist on Ect certification to collate the stackability of discrete containers. Both certificates give a maximum size limit for the container (sum of length, width, and height) and the maximum gross weight of the contents.

Both cold temperatures and high humidities reduce the vigor of fiberboard containers. Unless the container is specially treated, moisture absorbed from the surrounding air and the contents can reduce the vigor of the container by as much as 75 percent. New anti-moisture coatings (both wax and plastic) are now ready to substantially reduce the effects of moisture.

Waxed fiberboard cartons (the wax is about 20 percent of fiber weight) are used for many yield items that must be whether hydrocooled or iced. The main objection to wax cartons is disposal after use- wax cartons cannot be recycled and are increasingly being refused at landfills. some states and municipalities have recently taxed wax cartons or have instituted rigid back haul regulations. business sources suggest that wax cartons will finally be supplanted by plastic or, more likely, the use of ice and hydrocooling will be supplanted by very controlled forced-air cooling and rigid climatic characteristic and humidity maintenance on many commodities.

In many applications for corrugated fiberboard containers, the stacking vigor of the container is a minor consideration. For example, canned goods carry the majority of their own weight when stacked.

Fresh yield normally cannot carry much of the vertical load without some damage. Therefore, one of the primarily desired characteristics of corrugated fiberboard packaging is stacking vigor to safe the yield from crushing. Because of their geometry, most of the stacking vigor of corrugated packaging is carried by the corners. For this reason, hand holes and ventilation slots should never be positioned near the corners of yield packaging and be diminutive to no more than 5 to 7 percent of the side area.

Interlocking the packages (cross stacking) is universally practiced to stabilize pallets. Cross stacking places the projection of one yield container at the middle of the one below it, thus reducing its stacking strength. To reduce the possibility of collapse, the first some layers of each pallet should be column stacked (one container directly above the other). The upper layers of packages may be cross stacked as usual with very diminutive loss of pallet stability.

There are numerous styles of corrugated fiberboard containers. The two most used in the yield business are the one piece, regular slotted container (Rsc) and the two piece, full telescoping container (Ftc). The Rsc is the most favorite because it is straightforward and economical. However, the Rsc has relatively low stacking vigor and therefore must be used with produce, such as potatoes, that can carry some of the stacking load. The Ftc, no ifs ands or buts one container inside another, is used when greater stack- ing vigor and resistance to bulging is required. A third type of container is the Bliss box, which is - constructed from three cut off pieces of corrugated fiberboard. The Bliss box was developed to be used when maximum stacking vigor is required. The bottoms and tops of all three types of packaging may be finished by glue, staples, or interlocking slots.

Almost all corrugated fiberboard packaging are shipped to the packer flat and assembled at the packing house. To conserve space, assembly is normally performed just before use. Assembly may be by hand, machine, or a combination of both. Ease of assembly should be determined investigated when inspecting a particular style of package.

In recent years, large double-wall or even triple- wall corrugated fiberboard packaging have increasingly been used as one-way pallet bins to ship bulk yield to processors and retailers. Cabbage, melons, potatoes, pumpkins, and citrus have all been shipped successfully in these containers. The container cost per pound of yield is as diminutive as one fourth of original size containers. Some bulk packaging may be collapsed and re-used.

For many years, labels were printed on heavy paper and glued or stapled to the yield package. The high cost of materials and labor has all but eliminated this practice. The ability to print the brand, size, and grade data directly on the container is one of the many benefits of corrugated fiberboard containers. There are basically two methods used to print corrugated fiberboard containers:

Post Printed. When the liner is printed after the corrugated fiberboard has been formed, the process is known as post printing. Post printing is the most widely used printing recipe for corrugated fiberboard packaging because it is thrifty and may be used for small press runs. However, postprinting produces graphics with less detail and is normally diminutive to one or two colors.

Preprinted. High quality, full-color graphics may be obtained by preprinting the linerboard before it is attached to the corrugated paperboard. Whereas the cost is about 15 percent more than approved two color containers, the eye catching ability of the graphics makes it very beneficial for many situations. The visual ability of the container influences the perception of the product because the buyer's first impression is of the surface of the package. yield managers especially like high ability graphics that they can use in super store floor displays.

Preprinted cartons are normally reserved for the introduction of new products or new brands. store explore has shown that exporters may advantage from sophisticated graphics. The increased cost normally does not interpret use for mature products in a garage market, but this may convert as the cost of these packaging becomes more competitive.

Pulp Containers. packaging made from recycled paper pulp and a starch binder are in general used for small buyer packages of fresh produce. Pulp packaging are ready in a large range of shapes and sizes and are relatively inexpensive in approved sizes. Pulp packaging can suck up surface moisture from the product, which is a advantage for small fruit and berries that are no ifs ands or buts harmed by water. Pulp packaging are also biodegradable, made from recycled materials, and recyclable.

Paper and Mesh Bags. buyer packs of potatoes and onions are about the only yield items now packed in paper bags. The more sturdy mesh bag has much wider use. In addition to potatoes and onions, cabbage, turnips, citrus, and some specialty items are packed in mesh bags. Sweet corn may still be packaged in mesh bags in some markets. In addition to its low cost, mesh has the advantage of uninhibited air flow. Good ventilation is particularly beneficial to onions. Supermarket yield managers like small mesh bags because they make consuming displays that stimulate purchases.

However, bags of any type have some serious disadvantages. Large bags do not palletize well and small bags do not efficiently fill the space inside corrugated fiberboard containers. Bags do not offer safety from rough handling. Mesh bags contribute diminutive safety from light or contaminants. In addition, yield packed in bags is correctly perceived by the buyer to be less than the best grade. Few consumers are willing to pay premium price for bagged produce.

Plastic Bags. Plastic bags (polyethylene film) are the celebrated material for fruit and vegetable buyer packaging. Besides the very low material costs, self-acting bagging machines supplementary reduce packing costs. Film bags are clear, allowing for easy inspection of the contents, and easily accept high ability graphics. Plastic films are ready in a wide range of thicknesses and grades and may be engineered to control the environmental gases inside the bag. The film material "breathes" at a rate primary to contend the correct mix of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor inside the bag.

Since each yield item has its own unique requirement for environmental gases, modified atmosphere packaging material must be specially engineered for each item. explore has shown that the shelf life of fresh yield is extended considerably by this packaging. The explosive increase of precut yield is due in part to the availability of modified atmosphere packaging.

In addition to engineered plastic films, discrete patches and valves have been developed that affix to low-cost lowly plastic film bags. These devices riposte to climatic characteristic and control the mix of environmental gases.

Shrink Wrap. One of the most recent trends in yield packaging is the shrink wrapping of personel yield items. Shrink wrapping has been used successfully to container potatoes, sweetpotatoes, apples, onions, sweet corn, cucumbers and a range of tropical fruit. Shrink wrapping with an engineered plastic wrap can reduce shrinkage, safe the yield from disease, reduce mechanical damage and contribute a good surface for stick-on labels.

Rigid Plastic Packages. Packages with a top and lowest that are heat formed from one or two pieces of plastic are known as clamshells. Clamshells are gaining in popularity because they are inexpensive, versatile, contribute perfect safety to the produce, and gift a very pleasing buyer package. Clamshells are most often used with buyer packs of high value yield items like small fruit, berries, mushrooms, etc., or items that are no ifs ands or buts damaged by crushing. Clamshells are used extensively with precut yield and prepared salads. Molded polystyrene and corrugated polystyrene packaging have been test marketed as a substitute for waxed corrugated fiberboard. At gift they are not ordinarily cost competitive, but as environmental pressures grow, they may be more common.

Heavy-molded polystyrene pallet bins have been adopted by a estimate of growers as a substitute for wooden pallet bins. Although at gift their cost is over duplicate that of wooden bins, they have a longer assistance life, are easier to clean, are recyclable, do not decay when wet, do not harbor disease, and may be nested and made collapsible.

As environmental pressures continue to grow, the disposal and recyclability of packaging material of all kinds will become a very foremost issue. common polyethylene may take from 200 to 400 years to breakdown in a landfill. The addition of 6 percent starch will reduce the time to 20 years or less. packaging material associates are developing starch-based polyethylene substitutes that will break down in a landfill as fast as lowly paper.

The move to biodegradable or recyclable plastic packaging materials may be driven by cost in the long term, but by legislation in the near term. Some authorities have proposed a total ban on plastics. In this case, the supermarket of the early 21st century may resemble the grocery markets of the early 20th century.

Standardization of Packaging

Produce container standardization is interpreted differently by different groups. The wide range of container sizes and material combinations is a result of the store responding to demands from many different segments of the yield industry. For example, many of the large-volume buyers of fresh yield are those most concerned with the environment. They query less packaging and the use of more recyclable and biodegradable materials, yet would also like to have many different sizes of packages for convenience. Packers want to limit the range of packages they must carry in stock, yet they have driven the trend toward preprinted, individualized containers. Shippers and trucking associates want to standardize sizes so the packages may be great palletized and handled.

Produce buyers are not a homogeneous group. Buyers for grocery chains have different needs than buyers for food service. For grocery items normally sold in bulk, processors want largest size packages that they can handle efficiently - to minimize unpacking time and reduce the cost of handling or disposing of the used containers. yield managers, on the other hand, want individualized, high ability graphics to entice retail buyers with in-store displays.

Selecting the right container for fresh yield is seldom a matter of personal option for the packer. For each commodity, the store has unofficial, but nevertheless rigid standards for packaging; therefore it is very risky to use a nonstandard package. packaging technology, store acceptability, and disposal regulations are constantly changing. When selecting a container for fresh fruits and vegetables, packers must consult the market, and in some markets, approved packages may be required by law.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Monday, March 12, 2012

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

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