Fruit, vegetables and flowers are living and sensitive products. When working with fresh products like apples, it is essential to realise the importance of handling products with care. This prevents food and quality losses and profit losses.
Handle with care
Whether it is in the orchard, in the cold store, in the supermarket or at home, apples should be treated delicately. All kinds of damage can occur. This may be directly visible, but may also become visible after a couple of days or months. When an apple falls or when it bumps against a tough surface, it will easily show bruises or skin damage. Also high pressure or weight, for instance from other apples, will cause bruises. Bruising of an apple results in ethylene production. This may accelerate the ripening of the fruit and may cause even more loss then only the bruised fruit. Damaged fruits may be an entrance point for pathogens, creating even more problems. Handling apples with care greatly decreases the losses in the chain. Therefore, companies often follow standardized procedures to make sure damage caused by handling is prevented.
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Developing bruise. Video by WFBR
Timelapse bruise development
The video shows a timelapse of bruise development in an apple. A bruise may be caused when an apple is not handled with care, however, it is only visible later in the supply chain.
Attention points in the chain
Hand picking one apple. Photo by WFBR
1. Take only a few apples at a timeAt harvest, but also when sorting or packing manually, only a few apples at a time should be in your hands. Having more of them may increase the risk of falling or bumping against each other.
Hand tossing an apple. Photo by Aleksandr Rudoj/Shutterstock.com
2. Don't throw with applesApples should not be thrown in a bin or box, but placed carefully. This counts for placing apples in baskets at harvest, or when packing apples after sorting/grading.
Gloves to cover your nails. Photo by WFBR
3. Make sure nails are cut or coveredNails can easily damage the skin of apples. Using gloves or having short nails helps here.
Related technologies and daily practices
More info on apples