Lleó García, Lourdes and Ruiz-Altisent, Margarita and Riquelme Ballestero, F. and Ortíz, C.
Quality assurance systems in the production and marketing of fresh peaches..
In: "13 th International Congress on Agricultural Engineering", 2-6, febrero,1998, Rabat (Marruecos).
Due to the fast rate of peach post-harvest ripening, damage due to mechanical handling, externally appreciated as bruises and soft areas, is a real problem that leads to an early harvesting and poor quality of the fruits, as perceived by the consumers. More and more, the European consumer asks for good taste and freshness of fruits and vegetables, and these quality factors are not included in standards, nor in most of the producers' practices. Fruit processing and marketing centres (co-operatives) are increasingly interested in adopting quality controls in their processes. ISO 9000 procedures are being applied in some food areas, primarily milk and meat processors, but no generalised procedures have been developed until the present time to be applied to fresh product processes. All different peach and nectarine varieties that are harvested and handled in Murcia cooperatives and sold in a large supermarket in Madrid were analysed during the whole 1997 season (early May to late August). A total number of 78 samples of 25 fruits (co-operative) or 10 fruits (market), were tested in the laboratory for mechanical, optical, chemical and tasting quality. The variability and relationships between all these quality parameters are presented and discussed, and sampling unit sizes which would be advisable for quality control are calculated.