Technological developments Globally, which India can
incorporate for advancements
1. New High-Volume Laser Sorter
Key Technology introduced the new high-volume Optyx® 6000 Series
Sorter with Raptor Laser Technology at Process Expo, the food processing
show co-located with Pack Expo.
Optyx 6000 Raptor can sort fresh, frozen and dried fruits and
vegetables, including frozen potato products, tree nuts, raisins and
other food products at production rates of up to 40,000 pounds (~18
metric tons) per hour, depending on the application. Optyx analyzes size
and shape as well as millions of subtle color difference and removes
defects based on user-defined accept/reject standards.
Raptor Laser expands the sorter’s inspection capabilities by reliably
detecting foreign matter based on differences in the structural properties
of the product and any foreign material. Combining the industries most
sophisticated color sorting with the highest resolution laser technology
maximizes the removal of defects and foreign matter in the product
stream while improving recovery rates. As the only Class I laser sorter
in the food industry, Optyx with Raptor sets a new standard in both
performance and worker safety.
Featuring a doublewide platform that harnesses the horsepower of Key’s
G6 engine, Optyx 6000 Raptor detects the smallest defects and foreign
material to optimize product quality and maximize food safety at double
the throughput. As the first wide-belt laser sorter to maintain the high
resolution of the finest narrow-belt laser sorters, Optyx 6000 Raptor sets
a new standard.
The icon-based graphical user interface (GUI) is easy to learn and use,
reducing operator training and simplifying operation. The user interface
displays Raptor information, allowing the operator to see what the laser
is “seeing.” This patented feature delivers more intuitive machine
feedback to the operator, which allows for more accurate adjustment of
accept/reject thresholds. Product settings can be stored and retrieved for
fast product changeover. Key Technology, an ISO-9001 certified
company, is a manufacturer of process automation systems, integrated
electro-optical inspection and sorting systems, and processing systems.
India can benefit itself by introducing the technology at a wider
2. Electron beam technology to disinfest fruit and vegetables for
the export market by irradiation
Titan Corporation in the USA, is the manufacturer of the electron beam
The process uses a high-energy electron beam to irradiate the food; this
is generated by high-voltage electricity and does not use radioactive
material. The electron beam in this new plant is only used to kill insects,
larvae and other pests in containers of fruit and vegetables. The
technology for this process is not unlike a commercial large-scale
microwave oven with a conveyor belt running through it to carry
The process uses microwave linear accelerators, which are also known as
radio frequency linacs. These accelerate electrons to 10MeV over the
range of 1m. The electron beam is generated by alternating electric fields
in the vacuum of the linac cavities, which consist of copper lined tubes.
The electron beam pulse generated is focused using electromagnets and
then passes through a 3mm titanium foil exit window before passing over
the fruit and vegetables.
India can also use Irradiation service for companies exporting fruit
and vegetables over long distance to lengthen shelf life of the
US FOOD SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approve the technology for disinfesting
delicate fruit and vegetables. US food legislation requires irradiation of
much of the imported produce as a phyto-sanitary measure against
notifiable insect pests, which could infest US crops.
The use of irradiation does save the use of pesticides (such as methyl
bromide) on the same exported produce and so would appear to be more
environmentally friendly. APHIS has suggested that in the future, fruit
and vegetables imported to the USA should carry dosimeter indicators,
which show if the produce has been irradiated, with what dose and
where the irradiation was carried out.
There is much controversy over food irradiation in the world forum. Some
researchers think that irradiation of food reduces its nutritional value and can
cause harmful compounds to be produced (2-alkyl cyclobutanone).
3. Greenhouse Vegetable Research - the Leading Edge of New
The technology has introduced new innovations as involved
developing virus and leaf mold resistance in tomatoes, pollination by
bumblebees, deleafing, cluster pruning, increased stem density during
summer months, etc. greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and Coloured
sweet peppers and eggplant, peppers. The seedless type of cucumber
had totally displaced the seeded variety in Ontario greenhouses. The
current farm-gate value of European seedless cucumbers in Ontario is
over $100 million, which is a substantial return on investment.
Hydroponic research included studies on nutrition, water management,
and evaluation of various kinds of media, such as perlite, pumice stone,
baked clay pellets, and coco coir. In N. America growing in rockwool on a
commercial scale is being practiced.
The Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre (GPCRC), located
at Harrow, Ontario, develops and transfers new technologies for
production of greenhouse vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers),
field-grown processing vegetables, soybeans, and edible beans.
The mission of the greenhouse vegetable team is to develop new
technology for crop management, crop protection, and greenhouse
environmental control. The goal is to improve greenhouse vegetable
production efficiency and marketability, in a sustainable,
environmentally safe production system.
Bean and field vegetable research emphasizes insect, disease, and weed
management, cultivator evaluation and development of integrated
production systems to optimize yield and quality while minimizing
High yielding soybean and dry bean cultivars are developed with special
quality traits for food processing with the intention of increasing
Canadian exports to Europe and the Pacific Rim.
Soil, Crop and Water Management
The soil, crop and water management research of the integrated crop
production systems team focuses on agricultural practices that both
enhance field crop production and maintain soil and environmental
quality. Conservation tillage, water table management, crop rotation,
weed and herbicide management, cover crops and soil amendments
including compost and other bio solids are being investigated as means
to reduce nitrate and pesticide leaching losses, improve soil structure,
increase organic matter content, enhance soil hydraulic properties, and
increase overall profitability of field crop production.
Canadian Clonal Genebank
The Clonal Genebank preserves the genetic diversity of Canadian
fruit/Vegetables crops by acquiring, evaluating and maintaining wild
germ plasm and named cultivars. This will ensure the ongoing
availability of a reservoir of valuable genes for use in plant breeding.
Investment in Research
Through the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Matching Investment
Initiative (MII), producers' associations and private companies can invest
in research projects at the Research Centre. Investment in research pays
dividends by providing new technologies for improved production of
greenhouse vegetables, field vegetables, soybeans and edible beans.
Additional information on MII is available from the Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada (http://res2.agr.ca/research-recherche/industry/
4. Genetic Engineering
Most genetically engineered fruits and vegetables have not received final
approval for marketing from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at
It can rightly be called the Vegetable Revolution.
There is stiff competition among US companies to bring genetically
engineered fruits and vegetables to market. Government official estimates
that there are almost 300 projects under way to develop genetically
engineered plants. These include the following and many others:
Several companies are working on tomatoes that can be vine-ripened and
shipped without bruising. Others are trying to improve tomatoes that are
processed for catsup, soups, pastes, or sauces by genetically engineering
them to contain more solids, be thicker, and to contain more lycopene,
which provides the red color. One company has set research priorities for
processing tomatoes with improved viscosity (thickness and texture,
meaning fewer tomatoes for the same amount of catsup), higher soluble
solids, better taste, improved color, and higher vitamin content. Its
objectives for fresh market tomatoes include enhancing overall flavor,
sweetness, color, and health attributes.
Genetic engineering is being used to develop potatoes with more starch
and less water to prevent damage when they are mechanically harvested.
A potato with less water content may absorb less oil when it is fried,
producing healthier french fries or potato chips.
Other researchers are using genes from chicken embryos and insect
immune systems to try to make potatoes more disease resistant.
Some companies are trying to transfer a gene into sweet corn to prevent
sugars from turning to starch. The new corn would stay sweet longer
after it is picked.
Squash and Cantaloupe
One seed company is developing squash and cantaloupe varieties that
resist viruses. A piece of a gene from the virus is transferred into the
plant where it acts like a vaccine to protect the plants.
Another company is working to improve the flavor and sweetness in
melons produced for the winter markets. Its researchers believe the same
technology can be applied to peaches produced during the main crop
The Science of Flavr Savr
Pectin, used to make jelly thicken or gel, occurs naturally in many fruits,
giving them their firmness. The pectin in ripening tomatoes is degraded
by an enzyme called poly galacturonase (PG). As the pectin is destroyed,
the cell walls of tomatoes break down and they soften, making them
difficult, if not impossible, to ship successfully. Reducing the amount of
PG in tomatoes slows cell wall breakdown and produces a firmer fruit for
a longer time. Scientists isolated the PG gene in tomato plants. The next
step was to convert the tomato PG gene into a reverse image of itself
called an antisense orientation. The scientists called this "reversed"
tomato gene the Flavr Savr gene and reintroduced it into the plants.
In order to tell if the Flavr Savr gene was successfully reintroduced into
the plants, scientists attached a gene that makes a naturally occurring
protein that renders plants resistant to the antibiotic kanamycin. By
exposing the plants to the antibiotic, scientists could tell which plants
had accepted the Flavr Savr gene. The ones unaffected by kanamycin
grow to have the desired traits of the Flavr Savr.
Once in a tomato plant, the Flavr Savr gene attaches itself to the PG
gene. With the Flavr Savr gene adhering to it, the PG gene cannot give
the necessary signals to produce the polygalacturonase enzyme that
If approved by the FDA, those plants with the Flavr Savr TM gene will be
grown for commercial tomato production. The seeds will be planted and
grown like any other fresh tomato plants, except the tomatoes can spend
more days on the vine until they reach the desired flavor and texture
The FDA announced its findings that the Flavr Savr tomato is as safe as
tomatoes bred by conventional means, so limited quantities of the new
tomatoes grown from Flavr Savr seeds under the MacGregor's " brand in
selected midwestern and California markets were introduced.
Virus Resistant Squash
Asgrow Seed Company, the agricultural division of The Upjohn Company
of Kalamazoo, Michigan, became the second company to ask the USDA to
rule on the status of a genetically engineered crop, the ZW-20 virus-
resistant squash. This yellow crookneck squash has been modified to
resist watermelon mosaic virus-2 (WMV-2) and zucchini yellow mosaic
The ZW-20 Solution
Asgrow has developed a yellow crookneck squash that can resist both
WMV-2 and ZYMV viruses.
This approach bypasses aphid control methods (Current methods of
controlling the viruses focus on controlling aphids through repeated
spraying of insecticides or oils. These preventive measures have failed to
effectively control aphids that spread the viruses) to focus on the viruses
themselves. The number of aphids in a squash field is less important if
the squash cannot be infected by the disease they transmit.
The Science Behind ZW-20
Asgrow scientists used a method of gene transfer called Agrobacterium
tumefaciens-mediated transformation to produce the new squash.
robacterium tumefaciens is a bacteria that can be used to transfer genes
into the chromosomes of plant cells.
The genes that produce the coat protein of the two viruses WMV-2 and
ZYMV were introduced into the bacteria. Two DNA molecules called
plasmids that were located within the bacteria transferred the two virus
genes into squash plant cells.
Once inside the squash plant cells, scientists hoped the virus genes
would become part of the squash plant's DNA, "vaccinating" it against the
viruses. To be sure, Asgrow scientists attached marker genes for the
antibiotic neomycin phospho transferase to the virus genes before they
were introduced into the bacteria. Plant cells containing the marker gene
with the attached virus genes could grow more rapidly in the presence of
the antibiotic than those that did not.
Scientists selected the plant cells that they knew had the virus genes and
grew them into plants. With subsequent selections, researchers were able
to separate the marker genes from the resistance genes, so the ZW-20
line contains no marker genes for antibiotic resistance.
So India should move into this line and be a part of such researches
and look for improvement in production & development of
resistance in plants for new diseases.
5. Adopting from Technologically advanced countries as Israel
Key Research Interests with Results
• Prolonging storage and increasing quality of potato, sweet potato,
carrot, parsnip and onion.
• Alternative methods to inhibit sprouting of stored potatoes.
• Steam treatment to control pathogens of carrot, potato seeds and
• Using hydrogen peroxide plus (HPP) to control pathogens inside
• Studying the defense mechanisms of celery, parsley and citrus
• Function and regulation of nucleases and ribo-nucleases
associated with plant senescence and programmed cell death.
• Study of the molecular genetic regulation of dark-induced
senescence and the mode of action of CO2 in delaying artificial
senescence in leafy vegetables.
• Investigating the biological basis for chilling injury
sensitivity/resistance in leafy vegetables.
• Post harvest physiology and phyto pathology of fresh herbs and
• Leaf abscission and senescence.
• Molecular regulation of ethylene biosynthesis and action.
• Controlled atmosphere storage.
• Molecular mechanism of the circadian regulation of post harvest
• Postponement of flowering in leafy vegetables.
• Leaf senescence
• Ethylene biosynthesis and action
• Chilling injury
• Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)
• Minimally processed produce
Major efforts are being done by Dept. of Postharvest Science of Fresh
Produce, Agricultural Research Organization of Israel, The Volcani
Center, P.O.Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel
6. Protective Edible Film Technology
Agricultural Research Service, Pacific West Area, Western Regional
Research Center (WRRC) -USA
To increase consumption, food processors would like to market pre sliced
fruits and vegetables; however, most rapidly loses their color, taste, and
texture if sliced ahead of time. The team at the WRRC has derived a
solution to this problem.
Edible film technology involves the development of a powder comprised
of totally edible ingredients. When the powder is mixed with water,
fruit and vegetable slices can be dipped into it, and it forms a protective
barrier. When treated with this product, fruits and Vegetable slices stay
firm, light-colored, and tasty for up to three weeks while refrigerated.
To transfer this technology, the WRRC team signed a Cooperative
Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Mantrose-
Bradshaw-Zinsser Group (MBZ) of Massachusetts to commercialize the
edible film product.
The edible film technology represents important benefits for U.S.
agriculture and consumers. Coating fruit and vegetable slices increases
the markets for produce. The coating process is simple and economical,
and since it uses only components approved by the Food and Drug
Administration it appeals to consumers. Another benefit may be the
increased export of U.S. apples due to decreased insect infestation.
7. Improving Quality Of Vegetables Through Agricultural
Tramline And Cold Chain Systems- Philippine
The short shelf life of fruits and vegetables and poor post-harvest
handling practices negate the gains achieved in production. These are
aggravated by the long distance between production areas and poor
roads. Tramline and cold chain systems are logical solutions to these
The Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension- Philippine has been
implementing the National Cold Chain and Tramline program to promote
the adoption and utilization of cold chain and tramline systems. This is
in line with the modernization of agriculture as a national thrust of
Government under the Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Act (AFMA)
1997. To date, the program has established three cold chain facilities in
three major vegetable producing areas in the country namely; Benguet
(Northern Philippines), Cebu (Central Philippines) and Bukidnon
(Southern Philippines.) These are being implemented in collaboration
with the private sector. The agency assists the private sector to set-up
viable enterprises. It provides support to train the beneficiaries, it
provides a cold chain technology databank and a market linkage
program. The components of the cold chain include a packing house,
pre-cooler, cold storage, refrigerated transport and refrigerated stalls and
chillers. Tramline systems were also established in the highland areas
where temperate vegetables are grown. Traditional systems were replaced
with two types; mono-cable and bi-cable systems. The tramline is an
alternate transport system in isolated areas providing a hauling facility
using cables and pulleys. It minimizes the drudgery in manual hauling
temperate vegetables to the roadside.
The prospects of these systems continue to grow because of the
technology transfer initiatives promoted by the government and other
participatory methodologies. India can operate in collaboration to
adopt the technology.
8. Automatic Identification Technology-Radio Frequency
It is an identification technology whereby digital data encoded in an RFID
tag or “smart label” is captured by a reader using radio waves. RFID is
similar to bar code technology but uses radio waves to capture data from
tags, rather than optically scanning the bar codes on a label. RFID does
not require the tag or label to be seen to read its stored data—that's one
of the key characteristics of an RFID system.
RFID tags consist of an integrated circuit (IC) attached to an antenna—
typically a small coil of wires—plus some protective packaging (like a
plastic card) as determined by the application requirements. RFID tags
can come in many forms and sizes. Some can be as small as a grain of
rice. Data is stored in the IC and transmitted through the antenna to a
reader. RFID tags are either “passive” (no battery) or “active” (self-
powered by a battery). Tags also can be read-only (stored data can be
read but not changed), read/write (stored data can be altered or
rewritten), or a combination, in which some data is permanently stored
while other memory is left accessible for later encoding and updates.
The reader, using an attached antenna, captures data from tags, then
passes the data to a computer for processing. As with tags, readers come
in a wide range of sizes and offer different features. Readers can be
affixed in a stationary position (for example, beside a conveyor belt in a
factory or dock doors in a warehouse), portable (integrated into a mobile
computer that also might be used for scanning bar codes), or even
embedded in electronic equipment such as print-on-demand label
Information is sent to and read from RFID tags by a reader using radio
waves. In passive systems, which are the most common, an RFID reader
transmits an energy field that “wakes up” the tag and provides the power
for the tag to respond to the reader. In active systems, a battery in the
tag is used to boost the effective operating range of the tag and to
support additional features over passive tags, such as temperature
sensing. Data collected from tags is then passed through communication
interfaces (cable or wireless) to host computer systems in the same
manner that data scanned from bar code labels is captured and passed
to computer systems for interpretation, storage, and action.
Advantages: Passive smart label RFID systems offer unique capabilities
as an automatic data capture system in that they: Provide real-time,
wireless transmission of data without human intervention; Do not
require line-of-site scanners for operation; Allow stored data to be altered
during sorting or allow workflow process information to be captured with
the data; and Work effectively even in harsh environments with excessive
dirt, dust, moisture, and extreme temperatures
Conceptually, bar coding and RFID are quite similar; both are intended
to provide rapid and reliable item identification-and-tracking capabilities.
The primary difference between the two technologies is that bar coding
scans a printed label with optical laser or imaging technology, while RFID
scans, or interrogates, a tag using radio frequency signals. Because of
the low cost of bar code labels, established standards, and global
deployment, bar coding is a widely accepted, mature technology, while, in
the past, RFID had been limited to niche applications. Furthermore, just
as there are different bar code symbologies in use today, there are
different RFID standards for RF communications protocols.
Bar codes and RFID technologies are NOT mutually exclusive, nor will
one replace the other. They are both enabling technologies with different
physical attributes. Bar codes utilize one-way, serialized, and periodic
data. RFID utilizes two-way, parallel, and real-time data
RFID is of high interest to the perishable goods industry because
there are such tight deadlines in which to get goods to shelves in the
retail operation. Some food products can spoil in as little as seven days.
RFID tags can be used to track food products through the supply chain
and gather data that can reveal how long it took products to move from
one point to another. Ambient data, such as temperature or humidity,
can also be captured to indicate how much shelf life is left for given
products. Some in the industry are hoping to use this data to calculate
when to replenish perishables and how much product to put on shelves.
The benefits of applying RFID to perishable goods include improved food
safety, more efficient product recalls, reduced costs due to less spoilage,
lower inventories, more efficient logistics, and improved customer service
Fruit and vegetable processing
Fresh vegetable storage:
The vegetables can be stored, in some specific natural conditions, in
fresh state, that is without significant modifications of their initial
In order to assure preservation in long term storage, it is necessary to
reduce respiration and transpiration intensity to a minimum possible;
this can be achieved by:
1. Maintenance of as low a temperature as possible (down to 0° C)
2. Air relative humidity increased up to 85-95 % and
3. CO2 percentage in air related to the vegetable species.
Vegetables for storage must conform to following conditions:
1. They must be of one of the autumn or winter type variety;
2. Be at edible maturity without going past this stage;
3. Be harvested during dry days;
4. Be protected from rain, sun heat or wind;
5. Be in a sound state and clean from soil;
6. Be undamaged.
From the time of harvest and during all the period of their storage
vegetables are subject to respiration and transpiration and this is on
account of their reserve substances and water content. The more the
intensity of these two natural processes are reduced, the longer sound
storage time will be and the more losses will be reduced.
Some optimal storage conditions for fresh Vegetables are:
Vegetables Storage conditions
Temperature, °C Relative humidity, %
Potatoes +1…+3 85-90
Carrots 0 … +1 90-95
Onions 0 … +1 75-85
Leeks 0 … +0.5 85-90
Cabbage -1 … 0 90-97
Garlic 0 … +1 85-90
Beets 0 … +1 90-95
1. Vegetable dehydration in tunnels
2. Vegetable dehydration in belt dryers
Technology for vegetable powder processing
This technology has been developed in recent years with applications
mainly for potatoes (flour, flakes, granulated), carrots (powder) and red
tomatoes(powder). In order to obtain these finished products there are
a) Drying of vegetables down to a final water content below 4% followed
by grinding, sieving and packing of products;
b) Vegetables are transformed by boiling and sieving into purées which
are then dried on heated surfaces (under vacuum preferably) or by
spraying in hot air.
Industrial installations that can be used for these products and
technological data are summarised below:
• Dryers with plates under vacuum are equipped with plates heated
with hot water. Stainless steel plates containing the purée to be
dried are placed on them. Process conditions are at low residual
pressure (about 10-20 mm Hg) and a product temperature of
50-70° C. This equipment is discontinuous but easy to operate.
• Drum dryers have one or two drums heated with hot water or
steam as heating elements. Feeding is continuous between the two
drums which are rotating in reverse direction (about 2-6 rotations
per minute) and the distance of which is adjustable and determines
the thickness of layer to be dried. he product is dried and removed
by mechanical means during rotation.
• Drying installations by spraying in hot air; the product is
introduced in equipment and sprayed by a special device in hot air.
Drying is instantaneous (1/50 s) and therefore can be carried out
at 130-15O° C.
Packing and storage of dried and powdered vegetables
Dried vegetables can suffer significant modifications that bring about
their deterioration during storage.
The main factor in maintaining the quality of dried products is to follow
the maximum moisture contents permissible. The moisture content of
dried vegetables is not constant because of their hygroscopicity and is
always in equilibrium with relative humidity of air in storage rooms.
Technical solutions for maintaining a low dehydrated products moisture
a) storage in stores with air relative humidity below 78%;
b) use packages that are water vapour proof. The most efficient
packages are tin boxes or drums (mainly for long term storage periods);
combined packages (boxes, bags, etc.) from complexes (carton with
metallic sheets, plastic materials, etc.) mainly for small packages. One
solution for some dried vegetables may be the use of waterproof plywood
c] Modern solutions are oriented not only to the maintaining product
moisture during storage but also reducing this parameter by the use of
desiccants (substances which absorb moisture) introduced in packages,
d] A desiccant in current use is calcium oxide. Granulated calcium
oxide is introduced in small bags from a material which is permeable to
water vapour but which does not permit the desiccant to escape into
products. With desiccants, product moisture can be reduced to even
below 4%, and this inhibits or reduces the biochemical and
microbiological processes during storage.
Another factor that can deteriorate dried/dehydrated vegetables is
atmospheric oxygen through the oxidative phenomena that it produces.
In order to eliminate the action of this agent some packing methods
under vacuum or in inert gases (carbon dioxide or nitrogen) are in use,
applied mainly for packing dried carrots in order to avoid beta-carotene
oxidation in beta-ionone (foreign smell, discoloration, etc.). In order to
avoid the action of oxygen it is also possible to add ascorbic acid as
antioxidant (for example in carrot powder).
Sun or artificial light action on dehydrated vegetables generally causes
discoloration which can be avoided by using opaque packaging materials.
Dehydrated vegetable compression (especially for roots) to form blocks
with a weight of 50-600 g, is practiced sometimes; it has as advantages
the reduction of evaporation surface and contact with atmospheric
oxygen and volume reduction. Dehydrated vegetables are compressed at
about 300 at. Compressed blocks are packaged in heat sealed plastic
Storage temperature has an important role because this reduces or
inhibits the speed of all physico-chemical, biochemical and
microbiological processes, and thus prolongs storage period. The storage
temperature should be below 25° C (and preferably 15° C); lower
temperatures (0-10° C) help maintain taste, colour and water rehydration
ratio and also, to some extent, vitamin C.
Moisture and shipping factors for some dehydrated vegetables
Product Form/cut Moisture % Weight kg/m³
Bean (green) 20 nun cut 5 1.6
Bean (lima) 5 3.3
Beet 6 mm strips 5 1.6-1.9
Cabbage 6-12 mm shreds 4 0.7-0.9
Carrots 5-8 mm strips 5 3-5
Celery Cut 4
Garlic Cloves 4
Okra 6 mm slices 8
Onion Slices 4 0.4- 0.6
Pea (fresh) Whole 5 3.4
Pepper (hot) Ground 5
Pepper 5 mm strips 7
Potato (Irish) 5-8 mm strips 6 2.9-3.2
Diced 5 3.3-3.6
Tomato 7-10 mm slices 35
Canned vegetables can be classified as follows:
1. - canned products in salt brine;
2. - canned products in tomato concentrated juice;
3. - canned products in vegetable oil.
Food & Fertilizer Technology Centre
An International Information Centre for Farmers in the asia Pacific
Region E-mail: email@example.com
Address: 5F.14 Wenchow St., Taipei 10616 Taiwan R.O.C. Tel: (886 2)
2362 6239 Fax: (886 2) 2362 0478
Quarantine And Food Safety
Maximum Residue Levels (MRLS)
The maximum residue level is a basic concept in food safety, and in
international regulations. It means the maximum permitted level of
various kinds of chemical residues, especially pesticides, herbicides
The concept of the MRL is applied to both human food and animal
feed. All countries have their own MRLs. Nowadays there is an
international set of standards as well. This is known as the Codex
Alimentarius, or Codex for short. The Codex MRL levels were
discussed at various FFTC seminars. It was pointed out that the
international MRLs are based mainly on Western body size and
patterns of food intake.
Westerners tend to be larger than Asians, and have a different diet.
One recommendation from the seminar was that a Subcommittee of
Codex should be established. This would help ensure that MRLs of
chemicals as a percentage of total food intake reflect Asian food
consumption patterns, as well as Western ones. For example, Asians
have a higher average vegetable consumption than Westerners. An
MRL for a vegetable which is safe for Western people might be too
low for Asian people who eat a lot of that vegetable.
The safety of exported agricultural produce is a major issue in
international trade. Most countries demand that the level of
pesticides in imported food does not exceed their own national MRL.
At first sight, this seems reasonable. However, it gives many
problems to Asian countries, especially tropical ones.
Pressure from pests is much higher in a tropical country than in a
temperate one, where the cold season breaks the buildup of pest
populations. This means that countries with a tropical climate tend
to use higher levels of pesticides. Temperate countries can impose
lower pesticide residue levels than is feasible for crops grown in the
tropics. The effect may be to exclude Asian exports such as tropical
fruit from these temperate countries.
A related problem is the registration of pesticides. Some countries,
including the United States, have a policy of zero tolerance for
residues of pesticides which have not been registered for domestic
use. In some cases, this banning may reflect a legitimate health
In other cases, the pesticide is not registered simply because the
country does not need it. The country may not have the relevant
pest, or it may not grow the relevant crop. Exporting countries
facing such bans might find that they exclude their cheapest and
most effective pesticides.
Hybrid seed makes use of the well-known trait of "hybrid vigor". This
is a very important genetic trait. Hybrids of rice and other crops can
be expected to give a yield 20-25% higher than ordinary varieties. In
China, about 15 million hectares of paddy fields are now planted in
hybrid rice. So are a growing number of rice paddies in Vietnam, India
and the Philippines.
In the production of hybrid rice, a male sterile line is used. In
conventional hybrid rice breeding, this generally involves a three-line
system, using a sterile male line and two other lines. Recently a two-
line system has been adopted in China. This uses a seed parent which
is sterile in some environments, and fertile in others.
A major drawback of hybrid seed is that farmers cannot save seed
from their own crop to plant the following year. Instead, they must
purchase seed every year. Current research is developing vegetative
propagation of hybrid rice for resource poor farmers, such as ratoon
Hybrid seed is also labor intensive. To produce hybrid rice seed takes
an extra 50 man-days per hectare. This is a disadvantage only in
countries with a labor shortage. It could be seen as a benefit in
countries where jobs are scarce in rural areas.
Nitrates In Vegetables
Heavy applications of nitrogen fertilizer can cause nitrates to accumulate
Vegetables are a high-value crop. Farmers tend to apply large amounts of
fertilizers, especially nitrogen. This is a reasonable insurance against
yield losses from nutrient deficiencies, especially if fertilizers are fairly
cheap. However, applying too much nitrogen fertilizer may be bad for
Nitrates are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units which combine with
various organic and inorganic compounds. Once taken into the body,
nitrates may be converted into nitrites. Crops containing high levels of
nitrates can be identified by laboratory tests. However, they appear
normal to the eye. Nitrates in vegetables and fruit have no taste or
Nitrates occur naturally in fruit and vegetables, but only in small
quantities. They can rise to high levels in intensively grown crops.
Organic vegetables are no safer than conventional crops, in this
respect. As far as nitrates are concerned, it makes no difference
whether the nitrogen comes from compost or from chemical fertilizers.
Organic vegetables sometimes receive more than thirty tons of
compost a year, and may contain high levels of nitrate. There is a
strong relationship between the amount of nitrogen applied to the
crop, and the level of nitrates in the plant. Nitrate levels are also
affected by the season, and even the time of the day. There is some
evidence that nitrate levels in produce are very high in countries with
a cold climate, where most vegetables are grown under structures.
High levels of nitrate in food or drinking water are known to be
dangerous to babies in the first three months of life. They cause the
blood to carry less oxygen, and the infant may suffocate. Older
children and adults are not affected in this way. However, the
prolonged intake of high levels of nitrate is linked to gastric problems,
due to the formation of nitrosamines.
Such compounds have been found to cause cancer in animals. The
same may be true of human beings. Of particular concern is the
possible link between fruit and vegetables with a high nitrate content,
and cancer of the gullet. A current study in Scotland is examining the
possibility that human saliva may be converting nitrates into
carcinogens, which come into force at the gastro-oesphageal juncti
TIFAC, an autonomous organisation under Department of Science
and Technology chaired by Dr. R. Chidambaram, (Former Chairman,
Atomic Energy Commission & Secretary, Deptt of Atomic Energy)
Currently DAE Homi Bhabha Chair Professor, Bhaba Atomic Research
Centre (BARC) Trombay, Mumbai, aims to keep a technology watch on
global trends and formulating preferred technology options for India.
Technology Vision 2020 Reports
Among, the wide spectrum of technologies studied under its Technology
Vision programme, Agro-Food Processing assumes importance due to its
impact on national economy and role in sustainable development. The
case study on Agro-Food Processing is presented in brief along with the
summary of future technology directions and scenario in the following
Agro-Food Processing: Technology Vision 2020
TIFAC had identified Agro-Food Processing as an important technology
area for a detailed study due to its wide spread impact on Indian
economy and high value-addition potential. In order to understand and
assess the future technology directions and for shaping up a long-term
technology vision for India, TIFAC constituted a Task Force for an in-
depth analysis and fore- cast of future scenario for agro-food processing.
Such an exercise was also aimed at formulating an action oriented
technology and business plan so as to accelerate the growth of the
specific industry sector in India. The Task Force, Chaired by the CEO of a
leading food processing industry and co-Chaired by the Joint Secretary,
Ministry of Food Processing Industry (Govt. of India), inducted area
specialists from the industry, academia, R&D and the Government. The
Task Force had detailed deliberations on various elements of agro-food
processing sector in the country. In view of the volume and complexity of
the task and considering the relative importance and impact, the
following areas were identified for a detailed study:
i) Milk ii) Cereals iii) Fruits iv) Vegetables
While the study was conducted under the overall guidance of the Task
Force, Expert Panels were created for each of the identified sector.
Fruits & Vegetables : Technology Status & Future Vision
The total production of fruits in the world is around 370 million MT.
India ranks first in the world with an annual output of 32 million MT.
While there are almost 180 families of fruits that are grown all over the
world, citrus fruits constitute around 20% of world's total fruit
production. The levels of processing in the major fruit producing
countries in the world are, Brazil : 70%, USA: 60-70%, Malaysia : 83%
and Israel : 50%. International trade in processed fruit products is
around US $ 9200 million.
India with its current production of around 32 million MT accounts for
about 8% of the world's fruit production. The diverse agro climatic zones
in the country make it possible to grow almost all varieties of fruits and
vegetables in India. The TIFAC study has dealt in details the current
status in post harvesting technologies including processing and
packaging for export markets for eight major varieties of fruits in India.
These are mango, banana, citrus fruits, apple, guava, papaya, pineapple
India is the second largest producer of vegetables in the world
(ranks next to China) and
accounts for 15% of the world's production of vegetables. The
current production level is over 71 million MT and the total area
under vegetable cultivation is around 6.2 million hectares, which is
about 3% of the total area under cultivation in the country.
TIFAC study has focused on 12 select vegetables, which account
for about 65% of the total production in India.
It is estimated that around 20-25% of the total vegetables is lost
due to poor post harvesting practices.
Less than 2% of the total vegetables produced in the country is
commercially processed as compared to 70% in Brazil and 65% in
USA. Around 150,000 MT of vegetables is sold as processed
Export of processed vegetables has registered a compounded
annual growth rate of 16% in volume and 25% in value in recent
Onions account for about 93% (in volume) of the total export of
fresh vegetables from India.
The other major items of export are potato, tomato, brinjal, beans,
carrots, chillies, capsicum etc.
The major export markets are Gulf countries, UK, Sri Lanka,
Malaysia and Singapore.
Though India ranks second in the vegetable production in the
world, the average yield for various vegetables are low compared to
those experienced in other countries of the world.
Land ceiling has been a major deterrent for large scale cultivation
of fruits and vegetables especially in the organised sector.
In case of vegetables, potato, tomato, onion, cabbage and
cauliflower account for around 60% of the total vegetable
production in the country.
Vegetables are typically grown in India in field conditions, the
concept is opposed to the cultivation of vegetables in green houses
as practices in the developed countries for high yields.
The vegetables sector also suffers from lack of availability of good
quality planting material and low rise of hybrid seeds. Poor farm
management and manual harvesting practices also apply to
The expert opinion survey has inferred tile following trends in the
future for fruits and vegetables sector.
• Fruits and vegetables would continue to be harvested manually
in the future.
• While small land holdings and non-availability of good quality
planting material have been the major issues of concern, it is
expected that quality of planting material would improve in the
long run due to selection, hybridisation, breeding and tissue
• For poor farm management practices, there exists strong need
for extension education and training for the growers.
• Cooperative and contract farming may solve the problems for
small land holdings towards improved yield and quality in the
• Application of fungicides/pesticides and chemical preservatives
would be phased out and would be replaced by more
environment friendly technologies in the long run.
• While pre-cooling (cold chain) and surface coating are expected
to dominate in the short run, CAIMA packaging and irradiation
technologies are expected to emerge in the long run for
preservation and extension of shelf life.
• While marketing of fruits and vegetables is expected to be
dominated by cooperatives and middle men in short term,
organised direct sourcing supermarkets are likely to emerge in
the long term.
• Frozen and dehydrated products, fruit juices, pickles and other
forms of preserves are likely to emerge as popular processed
• Change in consumer taste, food habits &, life style,
convenience, nutritional value and purchasing power are the
likely reasons for preference of processed products.
• While the level of processing would hover around 5- 1 0% in the
next 10 years, 15-20% of fruits and vegetables may he
processed in the long term.
• The share of sectoral consumption for processed fruits and
vegetables in the long term would be as follows:
Domestic - 30%
Institutions - 40% (including defence)
Exports - 30%
• While the small scale processing units would dominate in the
short term, an advent of large/medium scale units is likely in
the long term.
The summary of future technology and business scenario for the
fruits and vegetables sector is presented in the Table
ASPECT SHORT TERM LONG TERM
Essentially manual Will continue
as land holdings are to be manual
likely to remain
Semi-mechanized Increased use Limited use of
means for bulk crops of farm tools, mechanized harvesters
like potato & onion implements & for potato & onion to be
tractors cultivated on large
Use of hand tools for
Selective use of pre- Increased use Extensive use of mobile
cooling for high of pre-cooling pre-cooling
value crops like techniques
Post Harvest Evaporative
Use of irradiation not Use of broad Limited use of
likely spectrum irradiation for potato,
chemicals to onion & spices
Use of broad spectrum
chemicals to be
No significant 5-10% of fresh 20-25% of fresh
change from produce to be produce to be
currently followed chanelized channelized through
practices in storage through cold cold chain
at field level chain
Less than 5% of
Storage produce would be
Use of CA/MA Very Limited Extensive use of
storage only for high use of CA/MA CA/MA Storage
value perishable Storage
Mainly by trucks and Increased use Reefer trucks and CA/
Transportation by cart load of Reefer MA containers for
Traditional Traditional Traditional methods to
packaging methods – methods to continue but use of
(Jute bags, Rattan continue plastic packaging to
baskets, modern grow at the cost of
boxes) to continue wood based packaging
Use of CFB Cartons, Use of CA/MA
shrink wrapping for packaging to increase
Emergence of packing
No significant Increased role Institutionalisation of
change from current of cooperatives marketing &
practices and private distribution network
continue to play
Level of processing Level of Level of processing
(as % of total processing would be about
production of fresh about 8-12% 15-20%. Focus to shift
product) would from exports to
Processing about 5-8% domestic consumption
Consumption to be Increase in share of
dominated by consumption by
institutional/defence household sector
and export segments
Small scale sector to Small scale units to
Industry dominate emerge as subsidiaries/
Structure ancillaries to large scale
Sun drying and Freeze drying
forced air drying
Predominantly batch Use of low High temperature short
pan concentration in temperature time evaporation will
the small scale vacuum also be used
for large processing
IQF IQF IQF
Freezing Plate Freezing Plate Freezing to
Canning to dominate Canning as Use of aseptic filling
well as use of
No significant Increase in Use of food grade
change from current use of food plastic and aseptic
Packaging of practices grade plastics laminates
Products packaging to
Will account for To account for To account for about
Exports about 1-2% of world about 2-3% of 3-5% of world trade
trade world trade
Thrust on extension Thrust on Increasing role of
services developing private sector in R&D
Thrust on Fruits & Increasing role of
development of Vegetables private sector in R&D.
varieties with with specific
extended shelf life characteristics
List of Abbreviations used:
CA : Controlled Atmosphere
CFB : Corrugated Fluted Board
CFTRI : Central Food Technological Research Institute
HTST : High Temperature Short Time
IQF : Instant Quality Freezing
MA : Modified Atmosphere
MT : Metric Ton
UHT : Ultra High Temperature
Technology to preserve vegetables
The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) here has
developed a series of technologies for the preservation of food items,
including the preservation of vegetables in farm-fresh condition. The
technology will help preserve nearly 20 popular Indian vegetables in
sachets for retail marketing.
The technology, developed under a project supported by the Union
Ministry of Food Processing Industries, has standardised protocols for
modified atmosphere packaging and storage of minimally processed
vegetables in ready-to-use form. The protocols, in a combination of basic
science and advanced technologies, include minimal pre-treatment and
processing operations to reduce the rate of spoiling of farm products.
The processing involves washing, peeling, trimming, cutting, treatment
with permitted preservatives, removal of surface moisture, packing in
polymeric film pouches, and refrigeration. The shelf life of the vegetables
can be extended by three to five times, and studies have indicated
reduction in the initial microbial load.
The technology has been test marketed through the outlets of
Horticultural Produce Co-operative Marketing and Processing Society
(HOPCOMS) in Mysore.
Further, it has developed a process for the production of dehydrated
green pepper without using sulphur dioxide.
The dehydrated pepper obtained by this method has good flavour and
colour, and can be a substitute for canned green pepper.
1. Vegetable Processing-Chlorination Technique- annexure as Pdf file
2. Harvest & Storage of Fruits & Vegetables-Annexure as Pdf file
3. Drying of Vegetables-word document
4. European Vision for Plant Genomics & Biotechnology-Annexure as