THEMATIC NETWORK: “IMPROVED QUALITY MANAGEMENT
IN THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
PROCESSING INDUSTRY” ICA3-CT-2000-30004
“PRESERVATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:
COLD STORAGE, MODIFIED ATMOSPHERE PACKAGING AND CONTROLLED
17-20 January 2002 Istanbul (Turkey).Turkey.ppt - 1 <Turkey.ppt>
Prof. Dr. María-Teresa Sánchez
Department of Food Technology
College of Agriculture and Forestry
University of Cordoba (Spain)1. FRESH RUIT AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTION
IN THE WORLD
The FAO estimates the total world harvest over the three years 1993-1995 at an average
of 489 million tons for vegetables and 448 million tons for fruit. The clear long term
trend is towards an increase in production in the order of 3.2 percent per year for
vegetables and 1.6 percent per year for fruit.
The trend towards higher production is not uniform in all the main producing countries,
nor is it the same for all major products. Overall the largest increase in production for
both fruit and vegetables has been in Asia (particularly in China) and in South America
(Brazil, Chile). The leading vegetable producer is Asia with 61 percent of the world
output and a yearly growth of 5.1 percent per year. However, the USA remains the
leading exporter of fresh fruit and vegetables with oranges, grapes, tomatoes and onions.
Chile has become a major world exporter of fresh fruit: 45 percent of the Chilean
The main crops are oranges with a yearly increase of 3.4 percent per year. The Chinese
production of oranges rises by 14.9 percent per year and is now as important as the total
orange production of the European Union. The world production of tomatoes rises by 2.9
percent per year and the European Union is the largest single producer with 18 percent of
the total output but a yearly growth of 2.0 percent. Only Turkey has 7.6 percent of the
world output and sees its production rising by 4.9 percent each year. The European Union
was for a long time the largest world producer of apples with 20 percent of the world
volume and a stable production. China now has 23 percent of the world production of
apples, larger than any other country and a yearly increase in production of 16.2 percent.
Next to the larger crops there is a whole range of products, not so significant in terms of
quantities, but increasing dramatically at times. On markets with limited capacity, e.g.
onions, garlic, asparagus, mushrooms and soft fruit, such production surges soon have a
World consumption of fruit and vegetables is also increasing. But not as fast as the
production growth. It is likely that the demand for fruit and vegetables will continue to
increase world wide over the next few years, but probable at a slower rate than the
production. The risks of surpluses on a world wide scale is distinctly possible for a
number of products, especially for fruit, with a few exceptions.
Economic development, particularly in medium income countries in Asia, Latin America
and in the Eastern European countries should bring an increase in consumption per capita
of fruit and vegetables. Conversely the trend in North America and Western Europe is
towards a diversification rather than in a further increase in consumption.
2. EU PRODUCTION OF FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES Turkey.ppt - 2
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In the mid-nineties, fruit and vegetables produced in the EU could be estimated at 80
million t. The total fruit production roughly amounts to 35 million t. Larger crops are
apples (ca. 10 million t), citrus fruit (slightly above 10 million t). The total vegetable
production is moving towards 50 million t, tomatoes being the largest produce in
production (about 14 million t).
The total per capita consumption could be estimated, as an EU average, at around 85 kg
fruit and 140 kg vegetables. Significant differences are to be noticed among Member
States regarding the per capita consumption.
While preparing the reform of the fruit and vegetable sector in 1995, the Commission
made the following evaluation of the fruit and vegetable production in the EU:
Fruit and vegetables occupy for an average (of the years 1990-1992) 4.3% of the
Community utilised agricultural area and represent 16% of its total final agricultural
production. The importance of the sector for the agricultural economy has tended to
increase over the last years. It is particularly important in Spain (27% of the national final
agricultural production), Italy (20%), Greece (23%), Portugal (18%), Belgium (17%), but
also in the Netherlands (13%), France (12%) and the UK (11%).
Fruit and vegetables are highly labour-oriented and therefore have significant
consequences on the rural employment in certain regions. There are 1.8 million holdings
of an average size of 1.3 ha producing fresh fruit and vegetables in the Community.
Commercial holdings specialising in vegetable production number about 100,000 with an
average area of 4.2 ha. The corresponding figures for specialised fruit production are
350,000 holdings and 7.9 ha.
Both fruit and vegetables generate high value added per ha, much higher than the average
farm. But the average area of fruit and vegetable holdings is distinctly smaller and labour
requirements are much greater. These two features largely explain why the holdings in
question show a less good result for income per unit of work.
The most important fruit and vegetable growing region, where the value of fruit and
vegetable production represent more than 2.5% of the EU total and more than 25% of the
value of total agricultural production in the region are the following:
KENTRIKI ELLADA (2.6% and 29%) - GR.
COMUNIDAD VALENCIANA (4.6% and 67%) - E.
ANDALUSIA (4.6% and 30.2%) - E.
MURCIA (2.5% and 64%) - E.
PROVENCE ALPES COTE D’AZUR (2.9% and 46%) - F.
EMILIA ROMAGNA (4.3% and 27%) - I.
LAZIO (2.5% and 37%) - I.
CAMPANIA (3.9% and 43%) - I.
APULIA (4.3% and 42%) - I.
SICILY (5.9% and 53%) - I.
A great part (ca 70%) of the EU production is marketed in the other Member States. The
principal dispatching countries are Spain and Italy, whereas Germany is the main
As a result of the varied climatic and soil conditions prevailing in the different regions of
the country, the productive diversity of Spanish agriculture is proverbial. The species
farmed range from products typical of the temperate climate, through typically
Mediterranean crops -grapes, olives, citrus fruits, vegetables, etc.-, to tropical species.
Fruit and vegetable production accounts for approximately half of Spanish agricultural
production, supplying a wide range of products (tomatoes, peppers, oranges, tangerines,
lemons, peaches, etc.), many of which are sizeable export items; the Spanish vineyard and
olive grove are also of considerable importance from several viewpoints (land use,
production, foreign trade and utilisation of labour).
Spanish agricultural production accounts for 14% of the EU total. The main Spanish
agricultural products include wine, vegetables, fruit, olives, and olive oil; specialization
in fruits, vegetables and olive oil has taken place during the last 30 years.
Regionally, the system can be categorized as follows:
The Cantabrian coastal area is predominantly concerned with livestock farming,
especially with the dairy industry; Catalonia and Madrid are also intensive livestock
producing regions, with strong wine, oil, fruit, and vegetable industries as well;
Andalusia, Murcia, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and Valencia are all regions
with very strong horticulture sectors and Andalusia produces 80% of the country's olives
and 90% of its cotton; Castille La Mancha and La Rioja have strong wine sectors; Castille
Leon specializes in the cultivation of grains and industrial cultivation (such as sugar
beet); and Navarre and Extremadura are regions with balanced livestock and agricultural
The agricultural sector in Spain has been, and continues to be, heavily dependent on the
European Union's agricultural policy, especially as the country's economy moves away
from agriculture towards the service and industrial sectors. All objective 1 regions in
Spain receive substantial agricultural funding from the European Agricultural Guidance
and Guarantee Fund, which covers eight main goals: investment in agricultural holding in
an effort to modernize; aid to young farmers and for professional training; aid for early
retirement; compensation for less favored areas; agricultural environmental measures;
processing and marketing of agricultural products; development and optimal utilization of
forests; and development of rural areas.
3. THE FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLE MARKET CHAIN STRUCTURE
Of all the different sub-sectors within the food industry, fresh fruit and vegetables have a
chain of supply which displays unique characteristics;
Fruit and vegetables are labour-intensive horticultural crops, mainly grown by
small family enterprises.
In order to increase market power many of these smaller growers have organised
themselves into sales organisations.
Fruit and vegetables are traded as a fresh perishable products, making the time
factor and packaging critical.
Nearly every single country in the world is involved in the trade resulting in a very
large number of exporting and importing countries and a wide range of
The range of fruit and vegetable products is becoming increasingly wide.
The range and origin of supply may shift from season to season. This unique
situation of fruit in combination with vegetables, created in the retail product
range makes it difficult for suppliers and retailers to establish agreements on long-
term year-round supply and prices.
A large number of retail outlets and formats exist, varying from large retail chains
to small restaurants.
Added value in the fruit chain is limited. This restricts the opportunity to create
brands. The lack of clearly distinct consumer brands makes it easy for the buyer to
shift from one supplier - trader - to another, and suppliers are therefore vulnerable.
Buyers' loyalty to traders is based on service rather than on the branded products
4. PERISHABILITY AND PRODUCE LOSSES Turkey.ppt - 7 <Turkey.ppt>
All fruits, vegetables and root crops are living plant parts containing 65 to 95 percent
water, and they continue their living processes after harvest. Their post-harvest life
depends on the rate at which they use up their stored food reserves and their rate of water
loss. When food and water reserves are exhausted, the produce dies and decays. Anything
that increases the rate of this process may make the produce inedible before it can be
used. The principal causes of loss will be discussed, but in the marketing of fresh produce
they all interact, and the effects of all are influenced by external conditions such as
temperature and relative humidity.
An increase in the rate of loss because of normal physiological changes is caused by
conditions that increase the rate of natural deterioration, such as high temperature, low
atmospheric humidity and physical injury. Abnormal physiological deterioration occurs
when fresh produce is subjected to extremes of temperature, of atmospheric modification
or of contamination. This may cause unpalatable flavours, failure to ripen or other
changes in the living processes of the produce, making it unfit for use.
Careless handling of fresh produce causes internal bruising, which results in abnormal
physiological damage or splitting and skin breaks, thus rapidly increasing water loss and
the rate of normal physiological breakdown. Skin breaks also provide sites for infection
by disease organisms causing decay.
All living material is subject to attack by parasites. Fresh produce can become infected
before or after harvest by diseases widespread in the air, soil and water. Some diseases
are able to penetrate the unbroken skin of produce; others require an injury in order to
cause infection. Damage so produced is probably the major cause of loss of fresh
The influences of all three causes are strongly affected by the various stages of post-
harvest operations. Furthermore, they all have great effect on the marketability of the
produce and the price paid for it.
The emphasis of any fruit and vegetable program is to:
Have accurate control of temperature.
Reduce microbial loading.
Control and/or modify the packaging atmosphere.
Deter enzymatic browning.
Maintain all of the above while offering a consistent, predictable quality level for
5. COLD STORAGE OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. COLD CHAIN SYSTEM.
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The cooling process is one of the most important steps in the chain that brings fruits and
vegetables from the farm to the table. Whether fresh or processed, the major advantages
to lowering produce temperature are:
1. Reducing respiration and degradation by enzymes.
2. Reducing water loss and wilting.
3. Slowing the growth of decay organisms.
4. Reducing the production of ethylene, the natural ripening agent.
5. Providing time for proper handling and processing.
Once harvested, produce quality cannot improve, it can only be maintained. Deterioration
cannot be reversed, only slowed. Depending on the volume of produce, cold storage
might be rented or, if the amount is large enough to justify buying a cold storage facility,
the grower has the following options:
1. A built-in-place cooler.
2. An adapted cooler.
3. A prefabricated cooler.
Proper storage and/or transit conditions should be used if vegetables are to be held prior
to sale or if they are to be transported over a great distance.
The number one challenge in perishables handling is how to maintain their quality and
safety from field to fork. The most effective way to maintain quality and safety of fresh
fruits and vegetables and their products is to maintain the cold chain, including the
optimum range of relative humidity, throughout the postharvest life of the commodity.
All other postharvest procedures and treatments are supplemental and none of them can
substitute for keeping the horticultural perishables within their optimum range of
temperature and relative humidity.
Relative humidity is defined as the amount of water present in air relative to the
maximum amount that the air can hold at that particular temperature. It is usually
expressed as a percentage. Small fluctuations in temperature can cause wide fluctuations
in relative humidity. This critical component of the post harvest environment is often
overlooked. Products stored at less than optimum relative humidity will suffer excessive
water loss and begin to shrivel. Many vegetables are unacceptable for marketing if weight
loss reaches 5 percent because of their undesirable appearance and undesirable textural
changes that may accompany water loss. Leafy vegetables are among the least tolerant
crops to dehydration.
The use of large refrigeration coils for heat exchange allows them to be operated with less
differential between coil and air temperature, thereby reducing the amount of moisture
removed from the room by condensation on the coil. However, under almost all
circumstances, water vapor needs to be added back to the air. There are a number of
humidifying systems available for this purpose. In the absence of a humidifying system,
water can be applied to the floor and walls to temporarily increase relative humidity. For
long term storage, automated systems are essential. Managers of packing houses, storage
facilities, etc. should have at their disposal some means of measuring relative humidity.
It is clear that all segments of the produce industry must do whatever they can to assure
safety of fruits and vegetables and their products
After post harvest cooling has been taken care of, it is then an issue of transportation to
the next level of the supply chain. Since there is no way to be one hundred percent sure
what happens to goods once they have left the grower, it is important to use a
transportation service that can ensure that the cold chain is not broken when the produce
is in route to its destination. An initial step should be to inspect trucks for temperature-
control devices. Most truckers have found it to their benefit to maintain strict regulations
concerning suitable temperatures.
For retailers, it begins at the loading docks where inspections and checking procedures
upon delivery play a very important role in a retailer’s ability to minimize shrink. Some
retail chains have specific items that, when brought to the loading docks, every case is
checked. Also, they will not accept any fruit or vegetable that does not meet their
standards, even marginal produce is sent back.
From the time fruits and vegetables are harvested to the time they leave the store it is
important that certain steps are taken to ensure that the shelf life of the goods is
maximized and shrinkage is minimized. As mentioned in the opening, there is a
considerable amount of money lost each year to shrinkage. By all levels of the supply
chain working together in an effort to minimized shrinkage where ever possible, it is
absolutely possible that millions of dollars can be saved.
Horticultural products may be transported by road, sea, or air, but have to be properly
packed in cartons or boxes in refrigerated containers. Fresh produce for export should be
transported in clean closed vehicles protected from direct sun and dust. The time between
harvest and shipping should be kept as short as possible.
Over packing of containers or cartons in the truck should be avoided as it leads to
bruising of produce. In transporting of French beans, cartons are carefully stacked in
order to reduce movement of cartons and to allow free air movement, while maintaining
the humidity within the storage room.
The breaking of the cold chain implies the deterioration of the nourishing properties of
food, which can even become toxic because of its exposition to higher temperatures.
Refrigerated transport of chilled food must be seen as a total operation involving the
movement of chilled goods from one fixed storage area to another. The operation
involves a chain of events, of which the actual movement of goods in a roada vehicle,
international freight container, rail wagon, ship or aircraft is only a part. Temperature
maintance throught the chain is essential for sucess, and the finest transport equipment
cannot compensate for poor handling at loading, wrong packaging and stowage, or
inadequate product cooling.
The term "refrigerated transport" may itself be misleading, in that frequently it should be
"temperature-controlled transport". In cold winter conditions, it may be necessary to heat
chilled foods in order to prevent freezing damage, and for many fresh tropical fruits quite
moderate temperatures can produce irreversible chilling damage. For example, bananas
should not be allowed to be cool bellow about 13ºC.
In areas of Spain having severe winter conditions, heating requirements can be
considerable. The distinction between "refrigeration" and "temperature control" is
important for equipment users, who may not appreciate that a wrong temperature-setting
on transport equipment may lead to foodstuffs being heated whereas in many static stores
it would only lead to lack of refrigeration.
In general, transport equipment is designed to maintain temperature, and not to provide
cooling. Whilst foodstuffs can be cooled to some extent during transport, this is a slow
and non-uniform method of attempting to cool, and it should not be depended upon. Pre-
cooled foodstuff could be loaded under temperature conditions wherever possible.
The temperature control requirements for chilled foods are more difficult to achieve that
those for frozen products. Typically, it may be necessary to maintain cook-chill products
between 0ºC and 5ºC, and for many products closer tolerances are required, whereas with
frozen foods there will be an upper limit temperature, perhaps -18ºC, but no lower limit.
To ensure temperature uniformity in a load of chilled foodstuffs, relatively high rates of
continuos air circulation and high levels of temperature control are necessary, and careful
stowage within the vehicle may be needed to achieve this.
5.1. Problematics of food-preservation by refrigeration Turkey.ppt - 12 <Turkey.ppt>
Requires continuous expense.
The cold chain (production, transport, store, consumption) should not be broken.
Problems of interruption of cooling machine power and/or shortage of cooling
agent (ice, eutectic mixtures).
Reduce enzymatic activity but do not kill, implies T<6 ºC for a few days but T<-
18 ºC for a few months).
Cooling increases relative humidity and increases surface fungi. Packed enclosure
prevents it, but it asphyxiates vegetables. (Ambient humidity not relevant for
In mixed spaces some food give odours (potatoes) and others take (dairy). Some
stores require ventilation for fresh air or air treatment for controlled atmosphere.
Freezing may damage food (f.i. tomatoes).
Freezing requires rapid cooling (chilling) before refrigerated storage.
Freezing requires slow thermalisation after refrigerated storage.
6. CONTROLLED ATMOSPHERE (CA) STORAGE OF SELECTED FRUITS
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In the past the only conditions that were controlled in a coldstore for fruit or vegetables
were temperature and relative humidity. These conditions are obtained by using efficient
refrigeranting plant and good insulation of the room. The only other action taken was
refreshing the air from time to time by extracting the air through a ventilator. This action
was particularly necessary for citrus fruit, which produces a large quantity of volatile
After some time, engineers became aware of the necessity of paying more attention to the
composition of the air in the coldstore if the life of the products was to be extended.
Fruits and vegetables are composed of living matter that respires and it can well be
imagined that their quality is considereably impaired after being sealed in a coldstore for
some time. A simple comparison would be the condition of humans after being placed in
a closed room without adequate ventilation.
The presence and especially the quantity of gases like CO2, O2 and ethylene have an
influence in the behaviour of the products, and techniques were developed to control the
presence and quantity of those gases; hence the term controlled atmosphere storage (CA).
By putting the product in optimum conditions according to this type, variety, origin and
climatic background, product life can be extended by 30% and losses and diseases are
reduced by 30-80%.
Although CA storage can be used for many kinds of products, such as fruit, vegetables
and even meat, until recently in Europe it was mostly used for apples and pears, although
tests are now being carried out to extend its use to meat products.
In Europe the most popular apple until the mid 1980s was the Golden Delicious; later,
other varieties such as Jonah Gold, Elstar, Gloster, Cox and Boskoop, became more
popular, together with pears such as Lombards Calville. Golden Delicious apples can be
stored successfully in about 3% O2 and 3-4% CO2. The new varieties, however, demand
a lower oxygen rate, down to between 1.8% and 2.2 %. This is called Ultra Low Oxygen
(ULO) Storage. A low oxygen percentage decreases respiration so less thermal energy is
produced and less nutritive points are modified.
A certain amount of CO2 in the atmosphere protects the fruit against disease; however, if
the CO2 content is too high, this introduces diseases. The recommended CO2 percentage
for new apple varieties is also very low, 2 % or even lower. CA installation have had to
be redisegned to accommodate those lower values for O2 and CO2, necessitating better
gas-tight insulation techniques and computerized control systems.
This storage technique is used to maintain the quality of products by storage in a gas tight
container/cold room, where the O2, CO2 concentrations, temperature and relative
humidity are controlled.
Initial low oxygen stress treatment (ILOS).
High CO2 shock treatments.
A range of O2/CO2 concentrations.
CA combined with other treatments as a possible replacement for SO2.
6.1. Gases used in controlled atmosphere storage
6.1.1. Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide inhibits the growth of most aerobic bacteria and moulds. Generally
speaking, the higher the level of CO2, the longer the achievable shelf life. However, CO2
is readily absorbed by fats and water - therefore, most foods will absorb CO2. Excess
levels of CO2 in MAP can cause flavour tainting, drip loss and pack collapse. It is
important, therefore, that a balance is struck between the commercially desirable shelf-
life of a product and the degree to which any negative effects can be tolerated.
When CO2 is required to control bacterial and mould growth, a minimum of 20% is
6.1.2. Nitrogen (N2)
Nitrogen is an inert gas and is used to exclude air and, in particular, oxygen. It is also
used as a balance gas to make up the difference in a gas mixture, to prevent the collapse
of packs containing high-moisture and fat-containing foods, caused by the tendency of
these foods to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
6.1.3. Oxygen (O2)
Oxygen causes oxidative deterioration of foods and is required for the growth of aerobic
micro-organisms. Generally, oxygen should be excluded but there are often good reasons
for it to be present in controlled quantities including:
To maintain fresh, natural colour (in red meats for example).
To maintain respiration (in fruit and vegetables).
To inhibit the growth of anaerobic organisms (in some types of fish and
7. MODIFIED ATMOSPHERE PACKAGING (MAP) OF SELECTED FRUITS
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Produce generate their own atmospheres in plastic bags depending on a large number of
factors such as the respiration rate of the commodity, the properties of the film, the
storage temperature, etc.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) of fresh horticultural produce is an attractive
and simple concept. It uses the gases produced and consumed during the respiration of
fresh produce, that is carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) respectively, to produce a
favourable atmosphere in a specially designed polymeric film package. If the package has
the correct permeability to CO2 and O2, a unique atmosphere for that product is created,
usually enriched in CO2 and reduced in O2. This favourable atmosphere slows the
metabolic activity of the produce to a very low level, and thus MAP enables the storage
of highly perishable produce for prolonged periods.
The ability of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) to extend the shelf life of foods
has been recognised for many years. MAP may be defined as the packaging of a
perishable product in an atmosphere, which has been modified so that its composition is
other than that of air. The impetus behind these products came mainly from an increased
consumer demand for fresh and chilled products, although other factors, such as a
consumer desire for preservative-free products, the growth of centralised packaging and
portion control, and a decline in the growth of canned and frozen foods, certainly played a
The ability to store produce, while retaining its food and nutritional value, increases
market flexibility. Industries can add value to produce, by storing it during market gluts
and releasing it when demand increases and by branding and differentiating produce as
high quality and high value. Exporters can use relatively cheap and available seafreight
transport, which increases competitiveness in existing markets and allows access to new
A future, very large use of MAP is for package branded, value added, minimally
processed vegetables. MAP is essential for the successful marketing of these products.
7.1. How MAP works Turkey.ppt - 18 <Turkey.ppt> Turkey.ppt - 19 <Turkey.ppt>
All fresh produce is alive and must burn up food reserves to keep it alive. The chemical
reactions involved are generally termed respiration. In normal healthy plants, respiration
involves the uptake of oxygen (O2) by the plant tissue to oxidise food reserves, usually
sugars, to produce energy, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. In simple terms, the energy
produced is used to maintain essential life processes, while the CO2 and some of the
water are 'waste' products and are released to the surrounding environment.
When fresh produce is sealed inside a polymeric (or plastic) film package, respiration will
lower the in-package O2 level and increase the CO2 level. A major challenge in
designing MA packages, is to match the rate of O2 uptake and CO2 production of the
produce, with the O2 and CO2 permeability of the package. If a package is well designed,
gas levels inside the package will equilibrate within a range which benefits the produce.
For most products, the therapeutic range for CO2 and O2 is between 2% and 10%.
However, optimum CO2 and O2 concentrations are product specific and vary enormously
between products. Examples of optimum CO2:O2 levels are: broccoli 5:2; asparagus
10:10; lettuce 2:2; peaches 6:1.5; pears 2:2; carrots 0:21; blueberries 6:1.5 etc. It should
be noted that exact recommendations are rare and often a therapeutic range is quoted, as
optimum gas levels can vary according to cultivar or genotype, production area, harvest
maturity and a number of other factors.
If the optimum atmosphere for a product is achieved, its storage life can be increased by
many times that which can be expected using conventional refrigerated air storage.
Elevated CO2 and reduced O2 levels slow quality loss in a number of ways. The principal
effect is usually considered to be in suppressing respiratory activity. As a rough rule of
thumb, the post harvest life of fresh horticultural produce is inversely proportional to its
storage life. That is, the lower the respiration rate, the longer food reserves are conserved
and the longer life processes can be maintained. This effect is often termed 'putting the
produce to sleep'. However, there are a number of other benefits. High CO2 and low O2
Block the mode of action and biosynthesis of ethylene, a ubiquitous plant hormone which
promotes aging and senescence.
Reduce rots by directly inhibiting the growth of pathogens and by maintaining the health
and integrity of the plant tissue, which reduces its susceptibility to infection.
Slow yellowing of green tissues by preventing chlorophyll degradation.
Maintain the food and nutritional value and flavour of produce by slowing the loss of
food reserves, particularly sugars, inhibiting the loss of labile vitamins such as
vitamins C and A, and by slowing the accumulation of undesirable secondary
metabolites in the plant's tissues, such as free ammonia.
Slow cell membrane degradation and loss of cellular compartmentation and function.
Inhibit discolouration of cut surfaces.
A well designed MA package is a discreet, self sufficient, fully portable (at least up to the
pallet level) 'pseudo' CA (Controlled Atmosphere) storage unit, which can provide
significant benefits to fresh produce in reducing quality loss and extending storage and
market life. MAP provides the horticultural industry with a means to add value to their
crops by expanding existing and developing new domestic and export markets.
However, there is still a lack of scientific information regarding many aspects relating to
MAP, which include:
Mechanism of action of carbon dioxide (CO2) on microorganisms;
Safety of MA packaged food products;
Interactive effects of MAP and other preservation methods;
The influence of CO2 on the microbial ecology of a food product.
7.2. Potential advantages and disadvantages of MAP Turkey.ppt - 20 <Turkey.ppt>
Potential shelf life increases of 50 to 400%.
Reduced economic loss.
Products can be distributed over longer distances and with fewer deliveries,
leading to decreased distribution costs.
Provides a high quality product.
Visible added cost.
Temperature control necessary.
Different gas formulations for each product type.
Special equipment and training required.
Product safety to be established.
MAP technology is largely used for minimally processed fruits and vegetables including
fresh, "ready-to-use" vegetables. The disadvantage of pre-cut produce is that its storage
life may be greatly reduced as compared to the intact vegetable. MAP combined with low
temperature storage is a common method to improve the storage stability of "ready-to-
use" vegetables. These consist of fresh, washed, peeled, sliced, shredded or grated
vegetables, sold within 7-8 days of preparation, after storage at low temperatures (below
100C). In recent years a rapid expansion in the sale of prepacked fresh vegetables in the
United States and in Europe has been observed.
7.3. Gases used in MAP Turkey.ppt - 21 <Turkey.ppt>
The three main gases used commercially in MAP are oxygen, nitrogen and carbon
dioxide. The gases and their concentrations should be tailored for each individual
product. The required combinations of temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels
vary with vegetable type, variety, origin and season. Carbon dioxide is important because
of its biostatic activity against many spoilage organisms that grow at refrigeration
temperatures. Oxygen inhibits the growth of anaerobic pathogens, but in many cases does
not directly extend shelf life. Nitrogen is used as a filler gas to prevent pack collapse,
which may occur in high C02 containing atmospheres.
Modified atmospheres may be produced naturally by respiration (Passive MA) and by the
application of gas flushing techniques (Equilibrium MA). A sliced or grated vegetable is
still alive and it continues to respire- it creates an MA within the pack with a reduced
level of oxygen and an increased level of carbon dioxide. For respiring produce, the
permeability characteristics of the film determine to a large degree, the equilibrium gas
concentration achieved in the package. The actual equilibrium MA attained within a
package will also depend on factors such as the prepared form of the vegetable studied,
the rate of respiration at storage temperature, the pack volume and fill-weight, and the
surface areas for gas exchange.
7.4. General effects of MA on micro-organisms Turkey.ppt - 22 <Turkey.ppt>
Although MA can change the general microbial profile of foods, these effects have not
been well studied. C02 has an inhibitory effect on many common spoilage organisms.
Coyne (1933) conducted experiments with several spoilage organisms and showed that
C02 increases the lag phase of the growth curve. Gram negative bacteria are generally
more sensitive to C02 than Gram positive bacteria. In MA's the inhibition of Gram-
negative rod-shaped spoilage organisms such as Pseudomonas coincides with the growth
of Gram-positive, lactic acid-producing organisms such as Lactobacillus. Carbon dioxide
at sufficient concentrations can inhibit the growth of spoilage moulds.
7.5. Nature of micro-organisms in MAP vegetables
Mesophilic bacteria counts on plate count agar or equivalent media range from 103 to 109
colony-forming units (CFU) g-1. The quality of the vegetables is often acceptable, despite
such high counts. Counts of lactic acid bacteria enumerated on MRS reach 109CFU g-1
in some cases, but are usually lower for a given sample than those of mesophilic bacteria.
Yeasts and moulds are usually less numerous than mesophilic or lactic acid bacteria.
Pseudomonas spp. appear to be common organisms on minimally processed vegetables.
Nguyen-The and Prunier (1989) suggested that a relationship between the deterioration of
"ready-to-use" salads and the growth of Pseudomonas spp. particularly Pseudomonas
marginalis exists, following 10 days storage at 10ºC.
7.6. Safety concerns - foodborne pathogens
The great vulnerability of MAP foods from a safety standpoint is that with MA's
containing moderate to high levels of carbon dioxide, the aerobic spoilage organisms
which usually warn consumers of spoilage are inhibited, while the growth of pathogens
may be allowed or even stimulated. Thus contaminated foods that lack off odours or other
signs of decomposition may be unwittingly consumed. Another important factor is the
emergence of a group of "new" foodborne pathogens which are capable of growth at 50ºC
in foods. Bacteria fitting this criterion include Clostridium botulinum type E, Yersinia
enterocolitica, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Aeromonas
hydrophila. L. monocytogenes has been isolated from cabbage, cucumbers, potatoes and
radishes. Beuchat and Brackett (1990) reported that L. monocytogenes is capable of
growing on lettuce subjected to commonly used packaging procedures used in the food
industry. Sizmur and Walker (1988) reported isolating L. monocytogenes from 4 of 60
samples of prepacked salads
There is little published work on the effects of MAP on pathogenic microorganisms in
raw or minimally processed (eg. cut and washed) produce. The most frequently conducted
study to assess safety hazards associated with MAP foods is an inoculation study.
Typically in this type of study, a product is inoculated with a pathogen, packaged in a
MA, stored, often under some degree of temperature abuse, and the development of the
pathogen followed over time. Kallander et al. (1991) examined the fate of L.
monocytogenes inoculated onto shredded cabbage stored at 5ºC and 25ºC under air and
under MA (70% C02). The MA was ineffective in controlling growth at 5ºC. At 25ºC,
spoilage was rapid and L. monocytogenes counts declined under both atmospheres.
Omary et al. (1993) reported an increase in populations of Listeria innocua in MAP
shredded cabbage, after 21 days storage at 11ºC.
The fate of other pathogenic microorganisms inoculated onto MAP vegetables has been
investigated. Abdul-Raouf et al. (1993) investigated the effect of MAP on the survival
and growth of E. coli 01 57:H7 inoculated onto shredded lettuce, sliced cucumber and
shredded carrot. They reported that packaging under an atmosphere containing 3%
oxygen and 97% nitrogen had no apparent effect on populations of E. coli 01 57:H7.
Solomon et al. (1990) studied the ability of Cl. botulinum spores Type A and B to grow in
shredded cabbage at room temperature packaged under an MA. Only type A grew and
produced toxin in cabbage. This study followed an outbreak of botulism in Florida (1987)
which was attributed to consumption of coleslaw made from packaged shredded cabbage
mixed with coleslaw dressing. Satchell et al. (1990) studied the survival of Shigella
sonnei in shredded cabbage. They reported that S. sonnei can survive and even proliferate
in shredded cabbage packaged and stored in a vacuum or MA as well as aerobic
conditions, thereby posing a potential hazard to the consumer.
7.7. Factors to control in modified atmosphere packaging Turkey.ppt - 23
There are many factors which influence the special requirements for control during the
manufacture and handling of MA packed chilled foods. These include the perishability of
raw materials, the minimal processing often used to maximise sensory quality, the
potential for spoilage and food poisoning of perishable food products, the need for a high
standard of hygiene and the requirement for adequate temperature control throughout
7.7.1. Food hygiene
Rigorous and systematic control of hygienic practices is essential from reception and
storage of raw materials, to preparation, MAP, storage, distribution, retailing, and final
consumption. Strict conditions of hygiene must be maintained to prevent cross-
contamination with food poisoning microorganisms. All known direct or indirect sources
of contamination should be monitored and controlled.
7.7.2. Temperature control
Chilled stores, distribution vehicles and display cabinets must have sufficient
refrigeration capacity to maintain the recommended product temperatures of MA packed
chilled foods. This refrigeration capacity must be able to cope with conditions of high
ambient temperatures and frequent door openings where applicable.
Chilled stores, distribution vehicles and display cabinets are designed only to maintain the
temperature of already chilled foods and cannot be relied upon to reduce the temperature
of inadequately cooled foods. The proper refrigerated temperature of each batch of
product must be assured prior to chilled storage, distribution and retail display. Careful
monitoring of temperature during storage and distribution is critical and must form part of
a quality assurance programme based on HACCP principles.
7.7.3. Stock rotation
Careful stock rotation is essential. Expiry use-by date labels must be clearly and
prominently displayed on outer packaging cases as well as on every MA pack. MA
packed products in storage beyond their expiry date must be removed and disposed of
Storage of raw materials, ingredients and MA packed products should be arranged in a
manner which facilitates easy access and systematic stock rotation. Damaged secondary
packaging and/or spoiled products must be segregated from saleable items before either
repackaging or disposal.
7.7.4. Quality assurance tests
Quality assurance procedures should be devised and based on HACCP principles. This
will require input from technically competent personnel capable of identifying the critical
control points in the system, establishing appropriate control options and monitoring
procedures for those points and enforcing compliance. In large operations this may be
best achieved by appointing a quality assurance manager. A corporate approach involving
personnel from all disciplines is essential for HACCP to be fully effective.
7.7.5. Microbiological testing
Microbiological testing of raw materials, ingredients and finished products should form
part of an overall quality assurance programme based on HACCP principles for MA
packed food. Microbiological testing is often used as a monitoring option, but it is
important to note that results are only retrospective, i.e. they only indicate if a problem
has occurred and will not correct the problem. However, such testing may be important in
assuring that established procedures are safe and adequate.
7.7.6. Seal integrity
Seal integrity of MA packs is a critical control point since it determines whether a MA
pack is susceptible to external microbial contamination and air dilution of the contained
gas mixture. Sealing conditions must be specified to suit the particular combination of
MAP machinery and MAP materials to ensure that a hermetic seal of a specified quality
is achieved. Essential checks on heat sealing should include proper alignment of the
sealing heads or jaws, dwell time, temperature, pressure and machine speed. Great care
should be taken to ensure that the seal area is not contaminated with product, product drip
or moisture since seal integrity may be reduced. The seal integrity of MA packs should be
inspected at regular intervals. Seal integrity tests may be non-destructive or destructive.
Further advice may also be sought from suppliers of MAP materials and suppliers of off-
line and in-line seal integrity testing systems.
7.7.7. Gas analysis
Maintenance of the correct gas mixture within MA packs is essential to ensure product
quality, appearance and shelf-life extension. For these reasons, routine gas analyses of
MA packs should be included in quality assurance programmes. For different MA packed
foods, gas mixture specifications should be drawn up with agreed tolerances to take into
account changes in the gas composition during storage and distribution.
Analyses of the gases within MA packs can indicate faulty seals, MA materials, MAP
machinery or gas mixing prior to flushing. Corrective action must be taken if the gas
analyses of MA packs show that the gas compositions lie outside of agreed tolerances.
The use of continuous gas analysers is recommended. Such analysers can be installed on
MAP machinery and are capable of continuously monitoring gas levels during gas
flushing and prior to heat sealing. MAP machinery fitted with such analysers can
automatically stop operation if the gas mixture is outside predetermined tolerance levels.
The importance of proper temperature control to retard the deterioration and ensure the
safety of MA packed chilled foods cannot be overemphasised. Careful monitoring of the
temperature of MA packed chilled foods during manufacture and subsequent handling is
critical and must form part of a quality assurance programme based on HACCP
Temperature monitoring, either of the air surrounding the product or the product itself, is
strongly recommended. Such monitoring ensures that the refrigeration equipment is
functioning properly. If monitored temperatures fall outside specified ranges, then
corrective action must be taken immediately.
7.8. High O2 atmosphere packaging of fresh-cut vegetables (HOAP)
Primarily, packaging experiments using sensitive fruits and vegetables, with low
respiration rates, under high O2 and CO2 mixtures (e.g. 70-100% O2 and 5-30% CO2),
showed beneficial results. This so called “oxygen shock” or “gas shock” treatment has
been found to be particularly effective at inhibiting enzymatic browning, preventing
anaerobic fermentation reactions, and inhibiting aerobic and anaerobic microbial growth.
However, gas mixtures with high O2 levels are very reactive. Therefore, all MAP
machinery has to be adapted for safe operation in this type of environment. A research
project at Ghent University in association with the packaging industry, is investigating the
application of this type of High Oxygen Atmospheres for sensitive fresh-cut vegetables
and fruits (strawberry, sliced chicory endives, and sliced mushrooms).
7.9. Future of modified atmosphere packaging Turkey.ppt - 24 <Turkey.ppt>
The complexity of MAP dictates that a team approach should be adapted in order to
successfully implement the technology. Key experts from food science, microbiology,
packaging, engineering, marketing, sales, postharvest physiology, transportation and
operations will have to be involved from the beginning. However, some aspects of MAP
need further study. These include the micro-biological safety of refrigerated, "ready-to-
eat" foods with extended shelf life, product safety during temperature abuse, gas flush
system failure and loss of packaging integrity. Mathematical modelling of microbial
growth/survival and the development of specific HACCP plans will also afford extra
assurance of the safety of MAP foods.
Focus areas of MAP research:
Optimising MAP for a variety of fresh products under various storage conditions.
Testing MAP films for clients.
Evaluating edible coatings.
8. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF PRESERVATION TECHNIQUES OF
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES Turkey.ppt - 25 <Turkey.ppt>
Despite tremendous progress in adapting shipping technology to the marketing of
perishables, there remain significant constraints to the expansion of perishable product
trade. Some constraints derive from economic and environmental issues associated with
First, controlled atmosphere (CA) technologies, particularly some of the more complex
systems, are expensive for carriers to adopt and install. Although continued technological
refinements and developments and increasing competition among manufacturers of CA
systems are bringing investment costs down, much of the CA reefer trade is seasonal
(timed, for example, to the fruit harvest) and therefore particularly vulnerable to income
swings. The reefer business can be very profitable because of the high value of the cargo,
but some industry analysts believe that the CA reefer trade, while continuing to grow, will
remain a niche market.
Some questions also remain as to how international environmental agreements and
national environmental regulations will affect the availability of economical and
environmentally friendly refrigerants for reefer systems. Chlorofluorocarbon compounds
(CFC’s), the predominant refrigerants used in reefer containers, are being phased out
under the terms of the 1990 Montreal Protocol International Treaty because of their
damaging effect on the ozone layer.
The most popular replacements for CFC’s are hydrochlorofluorocarbon compounds
(HCFC’s) which have limited ozone depletion potential. However, HCFC’s are expected
to be phased out in favor of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) which have zero ozone
depletion potential but some global warming potential. The Kyoto Agreement on climate
change, while not presently ratified, suggests the possibility of bans or caps on these
“greenhouse” gases. If the proposed restrictions on HFC’s become a reality, refrigerated
shipping will face serious challenges in finding acceptable substitutes.
Hydrocarbons, such as propane or butane, are a possibility, but have come under scrutiny
due to their flammability; they have been banned by the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) for nearly all refrigeration uses. Ammonia systems using cooled brine,
which were common before the adoption of Freon (a CFC) in the late 1970s, may be
adapted to address environmental concerns. Although new ammonia-brine systems are
attractive, ammonia is hazardous and brine is quite corrosive and difficult to pump.
Liquid nitrogen systems have also been developed. These new systems are still in the
development stages and it is agreed that more work is needed in order completely to
replace existing refrigeration systems.
9. QUALITY AND CONSUMER ACCEPTANCE Turkey.ppt - 26 <Turkey.ppt>
9.1. Quality Turkey.ppt - 27 <Turkey.ppt>
Quality in produce can be defined as the composite of characteristics that differentiates
individual items within a commodity and has a significant influence in determining the
level of acceptance by the consumer. High quality vegetables are one of today's wonders
with regard to Spanish food supply. Locally produced vegetables, readily available
seasonally have resulted in consumers demanding the same freshness and quality on a
year-round basis. Unfortunately, many spanish vegetable growers believe that once a high
quality product is produced, their problems are over. In reality, their troubles could be just
beginning. It has been estimated that more than 40 % of perishable commodities are lost
Post harvest handling includes all steps involved in moving a commodity from the
producer to the consumer including harvesting, handling, cooling, curing, ripening,
packing, packaging, storing, shipping, wholesaling, retailing, and any other procedure that
the product is subjected to. Because vegetables can change hands so many times in the
post harvest sector, a high level of management is necessary to ensure that quality is
maintained. Each time someone fails to be conscientious in carrying out his or her
assigned responsibility, quality is irreversibly sacrificed. Price received for produce is
determined by quality at the marketplace.
Maintaining produce quality from the farm to the buyer is a major pre-requisite of
successful marketing. The initial step required to insure successful marketing is to harvest
the crop at the optimum stage of maturity. Full red, vine-ripened tomatoes may be ideal to
meet the needs of a roadside stand, but totally wrong if the fruit is destined for long
distance shipment. Factors such as size, color, content of sugar, starch, acid, juice or oil,
firmness, tenderness, heat unit accumulation, days from bloom, and specific gravity can
be used to schedule harvest. Vegetable producers should gather as much information as
possible on maturity indices for their particular commodities. The result of harvesting at
an inappropriate stage of development can be a reduction in quality and yield.
As a result of the economic globalisation, agro-food systems have come under increasing
pressure and have been confronted with the shortcomings of the fierce competition
among trading partners, each with different national rules, procedures and economic
The growing share of trade (imports and exports) witnesses to the internationalisation of
the agro-food systems in the Mediterranean Countries. Biotechnology developments,
rapid advances in facilities and services, the increasing role of distributors within the food
chain, the introduction of new products, processes and production methods, the need to
meet the growing demand for quality food products are some of the main challenges now
facing the sector.
Direct contact between the seller and the consumer results in the consumer being able to
select the particular items and enabling the seller to react quickly in response to consumer
demands. This ensures a high level of consumer satisfaction.
The local culture also has an integral part to play in the success of the market, and this
can be viewed as follows:
The market is at the heart of local spanish culture, with the majority of shoppers
being women who spend at least two to three hours per day shopping for groceries
and socialising. This is an important part of everyday life and a feature of the
Food plays a vital part in the day-to-day life of the Spanish and Mediterranean people. In
general the day is structured around meal times with the majority of people returning
home for lunch, which is considered to be the main meal of the day.
9.2. The acceptance of the consumers Turkey.ppt - 28 <Turkey.ppt>
Variables consumers perceive as a reflection of produce quality are ranked in order of
preference as follows: crispness and freshness, taste, appearance and condition, nutritive
value, and price. Studies have shown that two factors normally enter into consumers
purchase decisions: competition between like items on the display shelf, and, the
acceptability of the item in reference to his or her standard for that item in reference to the
above variables. Consequently, producers who are able to produce and package their
produce in such a way to enhance these variables are the most successful in the market
Fruits depend heavily on the texture for consumer acceptance. Can we control texture
development during storage through CA or temperature treatments?
Nutritional Value and Human Health
Fresh fruits and vegetables contain high levels of beneficial compounds such as fibre,
minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. What is the influence of CA storage on these
Flavour and Taste
Flavour and taste of CA stored produce are influenced by storage conditions. Can we
control the build up of taste components by controlling the atmosphere?
Biological and Insect Control
Pest control cannot be performed merely by chemical agents anymore. Combined
treatments of low O2, high CO2 and "green chemicals" can be used as a solution to the
Intelligent packaging techniques allow for development of MA packages fitting in almost
any distribution chain. At the same time the question arises in which link of the chain
packaging should take place.
CA storage and transport has its price. In a world with global networking, what are the
constraints to be taken into consideration before investing in large scale CA transport?
Will the rise in demand for quality and year-round availability be sufficient to compensate
for the rise in costs?
10. LEGISLATIVE AND LEGAL MATTERS Turkey.ppt - 29 <Turkey.ppt>
How to assure the quality of a product? How to make commerce easier? A series of
norms, developed thinking about the consumer or the retailer, according to each case, is
specifically applied either to fruit and vegetables or, in general, to nutritional products.
The specific legislation on fruit and vegetables in the communitarian scope makes
reference to three aspects:
(1) The quality inspection procedures that must be carried out (Commission Regulation
2251/92 of 29 July 1992),
(2) What quality they must have (Common Quality Standards' that have been
promulgated throughout the years), and
(3) the maximum limits of pesticide residues admitted and how they should be controlled
(Council Directive 76/895/EEC, 90/642/EEC and 93/58/EEC).
Within the Regulation applied to foodstuffs, fruit and vegetables must fulfill the
provisions on labels (Council Directive 79/112/EEC and the one that regulates the
quantity of products in the packages (Council Directive 76/211/EEC).
General foodstuff legislation
The legislation concerned to general foodstuff takes into account a series of aspects
within wich we find the following:
In Spain, the Spanish Nutrition Code is the main legislation of nutritional character. It
establishes the general principles of the different aspects that affect food. It was approved
by Decree 2484/1967, of 21 September (BOE of 17 to 23 October), taking into effect,
according to Decree 2519/1974 (BOE of 13 September), in the following six or twelve
months, depending on the chapters, from the date of publication of this second Decree.
Registries where the companies must carry out their activity
In Spain, the industries and businesses related to food must register in the General
Registry for food Health, established by Royal Decree 1712/1991, of 29 November (BOE
of 4 December). Without this requirement, they are considered clandestine. Previous to
the inscription, the authorization of the Independent Community where there are
mentioned the given industry and businesses is needed.
The purpose of the Agrarian Industries Registry is only informative and statistical. Its
regulation was approved by Royal Decree 697/1995, of 28 April (BOE No 128 of 30
May). This disposition along with the Industries law 21/1992 of 16 July, (BOE of 23
July), set up the conditions of the registry. The main guidelines are detailed in Article 5 of
the Royal Decree.
Official Controls of foodstuffs
The EU countries follow the Council Directive recomendations 89/397/EEC) and
Hygiene of foodstuffs
Established by Council Directive 93/43/EEC.
There is a Regulation included to improve the level of hygiene of foodstuffs, it establishes
the general norms of hygiene and the modalities of verification of their continuation.
Defense of consumers and users
In Spain, the Valencian Community has its own Regulation in this matter, approved by
Law 2/1987 of the Cortes Valencianas, of 9 April, that lays down the Statute of
Consumers and Users of the Valencian Community(DOGV No 568 of 15 April), and
Decree 132/1989 of the Consell de la Generalitat Valenciana, of 16 August (DOGV No
2807 of 9 August), that develops the mentioned law, regulates the infractions, procedure
and sanctioning in this matter.
As much in this matter as in the defense of the consumer, there is also a national
legislation. The Royal Decree 1945/1983 of 22 June, deals with the infractions and
sanctions in the consumer defense and the agro-food production.
Infractions, sanctioning and procedures in the defense of the agro-food quality
Some places have it. The Valencian Community is one of the few autonomies that has its
own legislation in this matter, laid down by Law 12/1994 of administration measures of
28 December (DOGV No 2418 of 31 December), chapter V. Subsequently, by Decree
153/1996 of the Valencian Government, 30 July (DOGV No 2807 of 9 August), that
develops the forementioned law, regulate infractions, procedure and sanctioning in this
Labelling of foodstuffs
Already mentioned in the specific legislation of fruit and vegetables.
Packages and residues
Regulated by the European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EEC).
Material in contact with foodstuffs
In Spain, there is a specific legislation, Royal Decree 1425/1988, of 25 November, for
which Sanitary Technical Regulation is laid down on conditions of foddstuffs cold
storage, and Royal Decree 397/1990, of 16 March, by which the general conditions of use
of foodstuffs materials (apart from the polimeric) are laid down.
In Spain there are two Regulations for cold storage (Royal Decree 168/1985) and general
storage (nonrefrigerating; Royal Decree 706/1986).
In Spain, the Royal Decree 2483/1986 lays down the technical and hygienic conditions to
The information that the product contains depends on its presentation.
The product in bulk without packaging (that is to say, in bulk in the point of sale's shelf)
and the prepackaged product in units for the consumer are given attention, in Spain, in the
legislation of general foodstuffs, in the Royal Decree 1334/1999.
The labelling of the bulk packaged product (packages in bulk or for transport) is governed
by the indications of the Quality Regulation, of communitarian application.