Review

New approaches in
The aim of this review article is to describe an integrated
approach to modern minimal

improving the shelf life

processing of fresh produce.

Current know-how on all of the steps involved in minimal
processing of fresh produce from raw materials to packaged

of minimally processed

products is introduced. Shelf life and quality aspects of minimally processed produce are also presented.

For reasons of expense, labour and hygiene, the catering industry aims to purchase vegetables and fruit that
are already peeled and possibly also sliced, grated or
shredded, that is, minimally processed. Consumers are
increasingly demanding convenient, ready-to-use and
ready-to-eat fruit and vegetables with a fresh-like quality, and containing only natural ingredients’. In Europe,
particularly in France but also in the UK, the market for
minimally processed fruit and vegetables grew explosively at the start of the 1990s (Ref. 2). In the USA,
it is believed that the market share of fresh-cut produce
will account for 25% of all produce sales in the US
retail market by the year 2000 (Ref. 3).
With regard to the rationalization of production and
the utilization of peeling waste, it is reasonable to aim for
centralized peeling and minimal processing of fruit and
vegetables. Minimal processing of raw fruit and vegetables
has two purposes. First, it is important to keep the produce
fresh, yet supply it in a convenient form without losing
its nutritional quality. Second, the product should have a
shelf life sufficient to make its distribution feasible to its
intended consumers4. In an ideal case, minimal processing can be seen as ‘invisible’ processing. The microbiological, sensory and nutritional shelf life of minimally
processed vegetables or fruit should be at least 4-7d,
but preferably even longer, up to 21 d depending on the
market; the loss of ascorbic acid and carotenes is the
main limiting factor of nutritional quality5,6.
The aim of this article is to present the quality and safety
aspects of minimally processed fruit and vegetables, and
to describe an integrated approach to the modem minimal
processing of produce. Up-to-date know-how on all of the
steps of the food chain, beginning with raw materials,
through processing methods and ending with packaging
factors, that affect the quality and shelf life of minimally
processed fresh prepared fruit and vegetables will be introduced (Box 1). Some factors may seem self-evident, but
it is important to remember that the minimal processing of
vegetables is often practised by small family businesses,
where the importance of hygiene may not always be
sufficiently recognized.

Reasonsfor quality changesin minimally processed
produce
As a result of peeling, grating and shredding, produce
will change from a relatively stable product with a shelf

R. Ahvenainen is at the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT),
Biotechnology and Food Research, PO Box 1500, 02044 VTT, Espoo,
Finland (fax: +358-O-455-2103;e-mail: raija.ahvenainen@vtt.fi).

Trends in Food Science & Technology June 1996 [Vol. 71

fruit and vegetables
1 R.Ahvenainen

life of several weeks or months to a perishable one that
has only a very short shelf life, even as short as l-3 d at
chill temperatures.
Minimally processed produce deteriorates because
of physiological ageing, biochemical changes and microbial spoilage, which may result in degradation of the
colour, texture and flavour of the produce7J. During
peeling and grating operations, many cells are ruptured,
and intracellular products such as oxidizing enzymes are
liberated.
and biochemical changes
The most important enzyme with regard to minimally
processed fruit and vegetables is polyphenol oxidase,
which causes browning 5,7.Enzymatic browning requires
the presence of four different components: oxygen, an
oxidizing enzyme, copper and a suitable substrate. To
prevent browning, at least one of these components
must be removed from the system. Another important
enzyme is lipooxidase, which catalyzes peroxidation
Physiological

6oxl.lhekey
l

l

Good qua&y raw mate&k (correct cukitEar variety, correct cultivation,
harvestingand storageconditions)
Strict hygiene and good ~n~~~ng
critical control point principles

practices, use of.hazard analysis and

l

Low temperaturesduring processing

l

Careful eltsaniq an&ior washing before and ~,~~j~g

l

God quality water &r~sory, ~~c~~~~,

l

PHI forwastring

Use of mild additives in washiig water for d~si&&m
browning

l

G&e

spin dfying foll&ng

l

Gentkpeeling

l

Gentle c&i%

l

Correct packaging mater&Is arrd

l

Correct temperature and hu~i~~ during &t&&n

BPthe pmverkn of

washing

slkIng and/or shredding

01996,

s
and retailing

179

Elsevier Science Ltd
PII-SO924-2244(96)10022-4

Cornell University. can grow well in ready-to-eat logical changes in sliced fruit.ence books as well as research carried out on minimally etables vary widely.2 of initial microbial flora of vegetables for soup was probably due to the aData taken from Ref. at GS’C to achieve a sufficient shelf life and ensure microbiological safety. mal processing.NY 14456.0 78 bacterial soft rot’. Furthermore. An increase in the Lettuce 1. with an initial count of approximately lo5 colony-forming units (cfu) per g.Aerobic plate count. may be partially responsible for bringing about physio.0).Furthermore. 71 . 1. exceeding reactions. Many studleads to anaerobic respiration and thus the formation of ies show that a simple correlation does not exist between spoilage chemical markers. cutting grade and tem. ketones and aldehydes’O. cutting and shredding. In particular. causing the formation of numerous bad-smelling even 108cfu/g. hydrophik. Mixed salads and carrots were on average found to be aldehydes and ketones’.).Safetyaspectsof m inimally processedproduce Because minimally processed fruit and vegetables are bage for coleslaw (Table 1). most of which fall into not heat treated. this which a product can be considered spoiled.6 x 106cfu/g.0 5.Geneva. acetic acid and carbon dioxide levels and sensory quality. in the case of minimally processed vegetables. salads. and the total microbial cell load13*16-‘8. even as high as 106cfuJg. A.6 to predominate11J3-18.ficult to establish the cell-number threshold beyond perature ‘sg. The predominant microflora of processed produce demonstrate the importance of low fresh leafy vegetables are Pseudomonas and Erwinia temperature l4.. they must be handled and stored at refrigerthe low-acid category (pH 5. a species frequently associated with human disease. the respiration activity of minimally The high initial load of microorganisms makes it difprocessed produce will increase 1. although low numbers of moulds and yeasts are also present7J2. and because ethylene contributes to the These authors also found surprisingly high initial counts biosynthesis of enzymes involved in fruit maturation. Foodand EnvironmentalSanitarians.5 X lO’cfu/g and 106cfu/g for aerobic bacteria. Effect of unit operations of commercial processinglines on aerobic microbial plate counts from various vegetables” 180 Trends in Food Science & Technology June 1996 (Vol. the environment. Copyrightheld by the InternationalAssociationof Milk. et al. the high humidity and the large number of cut surfaces can provide ideal ation temperatures. The bacterial populations found on fruit and veg. respectively’*.spp.4 12 will shift the composition of the microflora such that lactic acid bacteria tend Peeler Carrot 610 3. Ethylene production can also increase following mini. If packaging conditions are anaerobic. In fact. the surface of different minimally processed fruit and vegetable prodproduce is exposed to air and to possible contamination ucts seem to have different spoilage patterns. Pseudomonas spp. temperature has a greater Table 1.reprintedwith permissionfrom journal as human and natural contamination. Microbial counts of commercial miniCentrifuge Shredded cabbage 63 68 mally processed products have also Stick cutter (4 in) Peeled carrot 65 59 been studied in Italy13J8Jgand in the USA”. such as pH. it for Aeromonas hydrophila. acid.8 140 storage temperature and the carbon dioxide concentration in the package Slicer Onion 0. lactic ethanol.‘*.13also found high initial APC. Garg eta/. major sources of in-plant contamination are the shredders used to prepare chopped lettuce and also cab. of the Departmentof FoodScienceand Technology. and lactic Conveyor belt Shredded cabbage 78 acid bacteria. or even more. in colony-formingunits counts for psychrotrophic bacteria and total mesophilic bacteria. Basic food sciconditions for the growth of microorganisms’*. Manzano 63 et aLI8 concluded that the high level Cauliflower floret 8. as well New York StateAgricultural ExperimentStation.more contaminated than either red or green chicory. regardless of the use of additives or packaging. ofFood Protection. approximately lo* &u/g. such as softening’. According to Garg according to the characteristics of the raw materials4*13.“. coliShredded lettuce 14 0. USA. 11 (by N. in various commercial vegetable salads. For example.25 forms. Shredded cabbage (red) 96 110 5.2-7. M icrobiologicalchanges During peeling. depending on the produce. Even the initial total counts of Water bath Spinach 160 78 various bacteria were high in vegetables for soup packed in modified Chlorinated ice water Carrot sticks 64 57 atmospheres.0-fold. machinery. no mention is madeabout whether the vegetableswere pre-washedbeforethe unit operation was carried out Marchetti et a1. yeasts and moulds. pectinolytic strains of Pseudomonas are responsible for Shredder Cabbage 2.During APC x 104fg cold storage of minimally processed Unit operation Vegetable Before After leafy vegetables. which vary with bacteria.Inc.8-6.

acid fruit. As the table shows. the customer uses the product within 3-4 d l l l Products are also intended for retailing l l l l Customers Shelf lie at 5°C (days) Examplesof suitable fruit and vegetables Standard kitchen hygiene and tools No heavy washing for peeled and shredded produce. cabbages. fat and fibre contents of minimally processed produce5.6 blf longer shelf life. systematic studies on the microbiological safety of refrigerated minimally processed fruit and vegetables are still needed. Furthermore. However. red cabbage. those spoilage microorganisms that are present in refrigerated produce are psychrotrophic and. in addition to the customers listed above 5-7b Carrot. it is selfevident that correct hygiene including the application of HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) principles and good manufacturing practices is of utmost importance to prevent the risk of microbiological contamination4-6~‘7~21. edited by Wiley5. potato. Chinese cabbage. If the principle is that products are prepared today and consumed tomorrow. schools. but not for retailing. it is self-evident that vegetables or fruit intended for pre-peeling and cutting must be easily washable and 181 .Table 2. therefore. flavour and texture measurements as well as by microbiological determinations. potato is an exception Packages can be returnable containers Catering industry.6. as well as the correct choice of raw materials that are suitable for minimal processing. potato. Requirementsfor the commercial manufacture of pre-peeledand/or sliced. purposes. industry l-2 Most fruit and vegetables Disinfection Washing of peeled and shredded produce at least with water Permeable packages. some pathogens such as Listeriu monocytogenes.22 are needed. hydrophilu may still survive and even proliferate at low temperatures’4~20. up to l4d is required. beetroot. It is clear that more research is needed with regard to the nutritional quality of minimally processed fruit and vegetables. berries ’Data taken from Ref. If products are required to have a shelf life of several days up to one week. not all produce is suitable for this type of preparation. clearly shows that most studies on fresh and minimally processed fruit and vegetables have been concerned with market quality as determined objectively and subjectively by colour. Salmonella spp. Nutritional changes A recently published book. schools. consumption tomorrow l l l Preparation today. However. Usually. The greatest advantage of this principle is the low requirement for investment. potato is an exception Catering industry. the vitamin. have a competitive advantage over most pathogens. amino acid. Such products are suitable for catering. Yersinia enterocolitica. or even more in the case of products intended for retailing. berries Good disinfection Chlorine or acid washing for peeled and shredded produce Permeable packages. then more advanced processing methods and treatments using the hurdle conCept5. Methodsto improve the shelf life and safetyof m inimally processedproduce Minimally processed vegetables can be manufactured on the bases of several different working principles (Table 2)6. and A. Brackett14 regards minimally processed fruit and vegetables to be relatively safe when compared with other foods. However. However. industry 3-5 Carrot. iceberg lettuce. restaurants. restaurants. beetroot. Preservation is based on a combination of several treatments. Raw materials No-one has published systematic studies on the matching of raw materials and processing requirements in the minimal processing of fruit and vegetable9.On the other hand. 71 processed produce are given in the chapter entitled ‘Cleaning. grated or shreddedfruit and vegetables” Working principle Demandsfor processing Preparation today. sugar. especially fruit products as they are generally acidic enough to prevent the growth of pathogens. some data on the effects of washing on the vitamin content of minimally Trends in Food Science & Technology June 1996 [Vol. Most fruit and vegetables are suitable for this type of preparation. potato is an exception Additives Retail shops.the storagetemperaturemust be 1-2°C effect on respiration activity than other factors such as slicing gradeg. then very simple processing methods can be used. washing and drying’. that is. acid fruit. Little is known about the nutritive value.

agricultural practices. carrots or apples. particularly that of potatoes. whereas washing in water is enough for hand-peeled 82 potatoes. only some of them are currently used in commercial lines. The effectiveness of chlorine can be enhanced by using a Trends in Food Science & Technology June 1996 [Vol. The correct choice of variety is particularly important in the case of carrot. have demonstrated that peeling should be as gentle as possible. For example. O’Beime25 has obtained similar results with carrot discs. preferably <5”C. the use of some of them such as chlorine compounds is not necessarily allowed in all countries. According to several researchers. the results from two research projects. These aspects of minimal processing should be studied further. Usually. Coarse and fine abrasion peeling increased the rate of microbial growth over that of hand peeling. Carrots cut with a razor blade were more acceptable from both a microbiological and a sensory point of view than carrots cut using various commercial slicing machines. However. whereas abrasion peeling (both fine and coarse) of new season Irish carrots almost doubled the respiration rates compared with the rate for hand-peeled carrots. chemically or in high-pressure steam peelers5. when chlorine is used. can also significantly affect the ‘behaviour’ of vegetables. because vibrating equipment may impair the quality of sliced surfaces. Washing the produce in flowing or air-bubbling water is preferable to simply dipping it in wate?6. they should be carefully cleaned before processing. From the point of view of sensory quality. however. enhancing the possibility of microbial growth and enzymatic changes. However. lOO-200mg of chlorine or citric acid per litre is effective in the washing water before or after peeling and/or cutting to extend shelf life5*s*16. such as potatoes. carrot must be washed before grating 16J7. 71 . and information about the effectiveness of the others is lacking. Carborundum-peeled potatoes must be treated with a browning inhibitor. if mechanical peeling is used. However. washing and drying It is clear that if incoming vegetables or fruit are covered with soil. thereby improving both the shelf life and sensory quality of the product. soil conditions. hand-peeled carrots were somewhat better than abrasion-peeled carrots. In the case of stored carrots. the respiration rates recorded for coarse abrasion-peeled carrots were almost threefold higher than those recorded for hand-peeled . The ideal method is hand peeling using a sharp knife.17. Both the microbiological and the sensory quality of the washing water must be good and its temperature low. So. steam peeling or caustic acid disturb the cell walls of a vegetable. Carborundum. cutting and shredding Some vegetables or fruit. carrot and rutabaga varieties that give the most juicy grated product cannot be used in the production of grated products that need ‘to have a shelf life of several days. thus reducing microbial growth and enzymatic oxidation during subsequent storage. the results showed that climatic conditions. O’Beirne25 found that the hand peeling of carrots increased the respiration rate over that of unpeeled carrots by approximately 15%.g. whereas poor colour and flavour become problems if the variety of potato is wrongz3. and their quality must be first class. with a 1% hypochlorite solution.25. including the use of fertilizers and the harvesting conditions. on an industrial scale. Chinese cabbage and white cabbage must be washed after shredding. Wiley5 has presented an excellent overview of possible preservatives for use in the minimal processing of fruit and vegetables. Cleaning. Furthermore. for example. It is probable that in the future. A slicing machine must be installed securely. require peeling. mud or sand. The results revealed that not all varieties of a particular vegetable can be used to manufacture prepared vegetables. one just completed in Finland at VTT6 and another in progress in Ireland25. Peeling. which included a preliminary study of the suitability of various cultivar varieties of eight different vegetables to minimal processing6. Furthermore. a second washing step must be performed after peeling and/or cutting5s6. Preservatives can be used in the washing water to reduce microbial numbers and retard enzymatic activity. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland financed a project during 1991-1994 (part of an EU COST 94 Action on ‘Post-harvest Treatment of Fruit and Vegetables’). Several peeling methods are available. The recommended quantity of water that should be used is 5-lOl/kg of product before peeling and/or cutting4 and 3 l/kg after peeling and/or cuttingi6.@.17. Many studies confirm that cutting and shredding must be performed with knives or blades that are as sharp as possible. it should ideally resemble knife peeling. and furthermore that plant geneticists will select and create cultivars or hybrids that are adapted to the specific requirements of minimal processing7fz4. these being made from stainless steel. Mats and blades that are used in slicing operations can be disinfected. Ohta and Sugawara26found that sharp blade slicing or rotary cutting of lettuce were both superior to either dull blade slicing or chopping. however. vegetable material should subsequently be rinsed to reduce the chlorine concentration to that found in drinking water and to improve the sensory shelf lifei6. Correct and proper storage of vegetables and careful trimming before processing are vital for the production of prepared vegetables of good quality5.peelable. during minimal processing.Washing after peeling and/or cutting removes microorganisms and tissue fluid. rutabaga and onion. potato. peeling is normally accomplished mechanically (e. using rotating carborundum drums). It is clear that slicing with dull knives impairs the retention of quality because it ruptures cells and releases tissue fluid to a great extent.carrots. fruit and vegetables intended for minimal processing will be cultivated under specified controlled conditions. The project at VTT showed that the browning of potatoes peeled with carborundum was much greater than that of hand-peeled potatoe#. For example.

9 7. and packed in heat-sealed 40 pm oriented polypropylene film. Citric acid (CA) combined with ascorbic acid (AA). pure water and correct contact time5x8. 1 min 1.0 Washing with normal tap water containing 100 mg/l active chlorine.2 1. Trends in Food Science & Technology June 1996 [Vol.1 1. The most attractive methods to inhibit browning would be ‘natural’ ones. but not necessarily in root vegetables or cabbages (Table 1)“. and with normal tap water. 17). Data on the effectiveness of chlorine compounds on the microorganisms found on fresh fruit and vegetables are contradictory. sulphites have been used to prevent browning. which causes a particularly poor appearance. The combined treatment inhibited potato discoloration for 14d at 4’C. Even the sensory shelf life of grated carrot improves markedly if whole carrots are washed in a citric acid or chlorine solution after peelingi7. However.0 7.4 Washing with normal tap water containing 0.“. however.6 5. seem to be promising alternatives for sulphites. the optimum contact time is 12-13 s.Ohta and Sugawara26 obtained the best shelf life for shredded lettuce by drying it in basket-type centrifuge (basket diameter 52cm. they can cause dangerous side effects for people with asthma.0 2. 1 min 2.7 4.9 Washing with normal tap water. even though chlorine compounds are quite effective for inactivating microorganisms in solutions and on equipment8. Torriani and Massal found that washing sliced carrots in chlorinated water (20mg free chlorine per litre) resulted in a significant reduction of the coliforms.0 2. as Table 3 shows for grated carrotsz7.4 Washing with normal tap water containing 100 mg/l active chlorine. washing with water is not effective enough to prevent discoloration 5.0 1. Furthermore. and there is increasing interest in substitutes for sulphites30. 1% CA and 1% sodium acid pyrophosphate. 1 kg of grated carrot per bag low pH.2 5. The amount of washing liquid was 3 I water/l kg carrot. at 1000 rpm) for 30 s.“.9 .5% citric acid.8 7.33 have obtained promising results with pineapple juice. carrots were grated into 3-mm strips.According to Kabifl. the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) partly restricted the use of sulphites in the spring of 1990 (Ref. alone or in combination with potassium sorbate in the case of potato (Table 4)5123 or 4-hexyhesorcinol in the case of apple3i.0 8.6 6. However. For this reason. After washing. 27.9 7. In particular. ‘Data taken from Ref.0 1. 29). 1 min 1. Centrifugation seems to be the best method. 71 Browning inhibition In the case of fruit and vegetables. the centrifugation time and rate should be chosen carefully21+28. up to 7-8d (Refs 16. such as pre-peeled and sliced apple and potato.0 1.0 2. It is recommended that the washing water is removed gently from the product5.0 5.23.2 6. careful washing with water containing 100mg chlorine per litre and subsequent rinsing improved the sensory shelf life of minimally processed vegetables by several days.Traditionally. The effects of various washing methods and storagetimes on the cl-caroteneand p-carotene content of air-packed grated carrot’ p-carotene (mg/l 00 g fresh weight) a-Carotene (mg/l OOgfresh weight) Sampleand washing methodb 2 days 4 days 8 days 2 days 4 days 8 days Freshgrated tarrot No washing 2. whereas the number of aerobic bacteria was not affected. +6”C. +3O”C.5 6. Navarre) were washed.1 Stored grated carrot No washing 2. +6”C.7 6. high temperature. +6”C. the main reducing factor is storage time. particularly when hand peeling is used.i4.9 2. It seems that chlorine compounds reduce the counts of aerobic microorganisms at least in some leafy vegetables such as lettuce5. such as the combination of particular salad ingredients with each other. compared with 3-6d with the browning inhibitor treatment alone. Potatoes were heated for 5 -20 min in a solution containing 1% AA and 2% CA at 45-55°C cooled and then dipped for 5 min in a browning inhibitor solution containing 4% AA. Sapers and Miller3* have obtained promising results by treating pre-peeled (abrasion or high-pressure steam peeled) potatoes with a heated solution of AA and CA.[able 3. the results are the mean values from four parallel samples bWhole pre-washed and pre-peeled carrots (cv.6 7. t6”C. which appears to be a good potential alternative to sulphites for the prevention of browning 183 .6 6. for which the main quality problem is browning.1 7. Washing does not decrease the vitamin content (vitamin C and carotenes) of grated carrot.8 2. 1 min. Lozano-deGonzales et a1. shredded Chinese cabbage or peeled potatoes significantly. if the chlorine concentration is 70 mg/l. However. their use has some disadvantages.17. 1 min 2.

Kader et ~l. The effects of washing time with some browning prevention chemicals”and heat treatmentbon the browning indexcof pre-peeledsliced potatoes kv. Modified-atmospherepackaging However.3% t 0. Both of the composite materials have permeable packaging materials.5% 2 1 0 0 A A t CA t CaCI.1% t 0. The. defined size and of a defined number in the material Several chapters in the recent book edited by Wiley5 to avoid anaerobis36. which is basedon the sensoryevaluationof 20 slices.Most films do not Day35 and Riquehne et al.The browning index value should be below 10 for a potato lot to be regardedas suitablefor processing. this aim is the most difficult of all the tasks The final.5% t 0. as well as some aspects of the However.Table 4. optimal gas balance inside the package.3% t 0. 71 . and CO. of fruit and vegetables. specifically intended for minimally processed fruit and Other solutions include the combination of ethylene vinyl acetate with oriented polypropylene and low-denvegetables.5% t 0.1% 4 1 T 1 A A t CA t potassium sorbate 0.. on the market is permeable enough35. Ascorbicacid. The browning susceptibility of potatoes could also be reduced to some extent by heat treatment (2 weeks at 15°C) before pre-peeling (Table 4). browning is not consideredto be a problemfor a potato lot dPotatoeswere winter-storedfor 8 monthsbefore the experiment AA.5% 3 2 3 2 AAtCA 0.If the browning index is in the rangeO-5. but the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are not detrimental to the product. 0.5% 2 1 1 0 AAtCA 0.1% 11 9 3 2 AA 0.with a shelf life of several days. The aim of both principles is to create an packaging of salads.by a trained panellist.5% 7 5 2 2 CA 0. This procedure significantly imcover retail. and the rest nitrogen34*35.3% t 0.ethylene or the oriented polypropylene much used in the ing materials.most studied packaging method for pre. In general. Powrie and Skura’O. where the respiration activity of a product is as low as possible. but not the least important.005% 3 2 4 1 Sodium benzoate CA t 4-hexylresorcinol aData taken from Ref. The main reason for this is that the levels of reducing sugars decrease during the heat treatmentz3. The main problem is pared raw fruit and vegetables is modified-atmosphere that ‘none of the packaging materials that are available packaging (MAP). The basic principle in MAP is that a modified atmos. 2o have presented excellent result in optimal 0.This method is used in industrialpractice.5% 3 2 1 0 AAtCA 0. Mco/aId left to stand for two hours No heat treatment Browning prevention treatment Concentration l-min wash Heat treatment 3-min wash 1-min wash 3-min wash No treatment 145 Water 13 8 5 3 AA 0. gas permeability should Trends in Food Science & Technology June 1996 [Vol.23 bHeat treatment:2 weeks at +15”C ‘Browning was measuredby the so-calledbrowning index. or actively by using a a significantly higher gas permeability than either polyspecified gas mixture together with permeable packag.5% 2 1 2 1 0. CA.2% 2 1 1 1 0.sity polyethylene or the combination of ceramic material phere can be created either passively by using properly with polyethylene. especially overviews on the principles and modelling of the MAP when the produce has a high level of respiration. for example17. operation in involved in manufacturing raw ready-to-use or readyproducing minimally processed fruit and vegetables is to-eat fruit and vegetable products of good quality and packaging.~~.cut from the middle of 20 different potatoes. the aim is to have a gas composition of 2-5% CO. one solution is to make microholes of a packaging of minimally processed fruit and vegetables.1% 5 4 4 2 CA 0.5% t 0. atmospheres. however. 2-5% 0.5% t 0. Citric acid in fresh apple rings. bulk and transport packaging methods proves the shelf life of grated carrots.

.04% reasons. which has a three-layer structure development in bags despite good visual quality. The gas age. Products can be packed in normal air in these ethylene bags. edible coatings have the potenthat MVP improved the microbial quality of red bell tial to reduce moisture loss. All of the cellulose delayed water loss or browning. seal the sensory quality of apricot and cucumber.4~concluded that acceptablewould only be possible to extend the shelf life by a few quality diced onions can be kept for 10d at 2°C using more days. monocytogenes.was greater in the multi-layer film bags than in the polydustry.Recently. They disorder of peeled carrots known as white blush. and carry additives that retard the microbial and sensory quality of mung-bean sprouts discoloration and microbial gro~th~~. 71 185 . sliced apple and sliced tomato. content stabilizes the quality of the well as a couple of good reviews42.Most attempts recognize tivity by correct active packaging. thin layModerate-vacuum packaging ers of material that can be eaten by the consumer as part One interesting modified-atmosphere packaging of the whole food product.be even higher still. restrict the entrance of oxypepper. however. and reduced the be created. respiring produce is packed in a rigid.40have the interaction of respiration by the packaged product examined the quality changes of diced onions with and and the diffusion of respiratory gases through the pack. and cluded that approval is considered quite likely. but the FDA tems: (1) 59 pm multi-layer co-extruded film bags has not yet approved carrageenan as a component of containing atmospheric air. cause of quality changes in minimally processed produce: enzyme and microbial activity. An extensive book4’ as ure. (2) 59 pm multi-layer co. and 20% CO.4~ and a mixture of cut vegetables. Salmonella typhimurium and Bacillus of fatty acids and the sodium salt of carboxymethylcereus on mung-bean sprouts at 7°C. Both these materials have good 20% CO.39applied MVP to flexible 80 t. it appears that it is possible to affect respirto attempt to model gas changes occurring inside package atmospheres. On the other hand. gen. consisting of a two-ply blown co-extrusion approximately 25 pm thick with an outer layer of K-Resin Active packaging Active packaging. The lower 0. The idea is not new. 37). Baldwin et ~1. as well as. airtight citrus fruit. However. in particular. and 20% CO.. It is obvious that no universal model for minimally processed produce (peeled. edmethod is moderate-vacuum packaging (MVP)3s. Baldwin et a1. It is claimed that fresh salads washed in chlorine solution ous gas absorbents and emitters.coatings. browning polypropylene that is generally used in the vegetable in. those based pathogens lost viability quickly during storage in MVP. In this ible films were already in use in 12th-century China for system. is another interesting and packaged in this film have a shelf life of 16 d at packaging method for minimally processed fruit and vegetables35. However.cantly throughout the world. grated. it diced onions. compared the shelf life of shredded iceberg lettuce in Carrageenan and chitosan coatings are also promising MVP with its shelf life in three other packaging sys. enterocolitica. Howard et ~1. and the development of a physiological ethylene bags (evacuated to a pressure of 46 kPa).. lower respiration. Those based on sucrose polyesters Y. Storage time in excess of 10d should. of lettuce was carrot packed in these composite materials is 7-8d at poor in the first packaging system after 3 d. The shelf life of shredded cabbage and grated whereas the visual quality.mushrooms.43on edible films and produce by slowing down metabolic activity and the coatings have appeared recently. composite materials’6~‘7. and approval of chitosan as a food additive is extruded film bags containing 80% 0.43conand (3) 80 pm polyethylene bags containing 80% 0. When let5”C. and 78% NJ but at a reduced partial gas press. MVP and the third packaging system inhibited enzymatic browning during storage for 10d at 5’C.describe some patented and commercially available ducted pathogen challenge tests with L. shredded) can absorbent removed ethylene effectively. The research has been carried out ation activity. a new breathable film however. packaging that includes variKRlO and an inner metallocene polyethylene layer. 0. microbial activity and plant hormone acmainly with whole produce5x34. sliced. interest in edible coatings increased signifiCO. in the package of and gas balance inside the package could be created. once the minimal processing of container under 40kPa of atmospheric pressure and foods started to gain popularity and it was recognized stored at refrigeration temperature (4-7°C).for lightly processed fruit and vegetables. heat-sealing properties. ethylene also result in the development of colour the postharvest storage life of lightly processed fruit and problems. in some Edible films and coatings Another possible ‘packaging’ method for extending cases. and therefore 2-3d longer than in the oriented tuce was packaged in 80% 0. that is. vegetables is the use of edible coatings. that is. off-odours and off-taste@. be avoided because of increasing off-flavour has been patented. chicory (endive).without a commercial gas absorbent that is based on potassium permanganate and activated alumina. growth of spoilage microorganisms. still pending in the USA. even if an exact model levels of sulphur volatiles and CO. edible film solutions.. This is because respiration is not the only the potassium permanganate gas absorbent. retard ethylene production. and they are also commercially available6.r. on cellulose derivatives retarded the discoloration of cut Heimdal et a1. Gorris et ~1.~~found At least theoretically.rnpoly. A lot of work has been done in different laboratories still in its infancy. Gorris et aL3* also con. The initial that packaging should be minimized for environmental gas composition is that of normal air (21% O. Howard et a1. and only a few reports are available. and both in flavour volatiles. Trends in Food Science & Technology June 1996 [Vol.Active packaging of this type of product is l-2°C (Ref.

Technol. such as inhibitors produced by lactic acid bacteria. Brussels.701-703 Willocx. R.. J. but for some markets this is not enough: a shelf life of 2-3 weeks is sometimes necessary. Churey. Commission of the European Community..C. depletion and excessive CO. CC.R. ed.B. Institute of Packaging Professionals. B. pp. eds). handling. 44 (l/2). Espoo. Exama et ~1. Commission of the European Community.V. Maifreni. and Bolin. Current Status and Future Prospects..41-46 Mattila. USA Leistner. C. R. Brussels. New cultivars need to be selected and created or hybrids adapted to meet the specific requirements of minimal processing. Kumpulainen. E. Sci. H. D. 225-234. (1989) ‘Processing and Distribution Alternatives for Minimally Processed Fruits and Vegetables’ in Food Techno/. References 1 Lund. Casadei. 1. 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There is no sense in disturbing the quality of produce by rough treatment during processing. CAP’90. Z. and Romojaro. Anal...242-247 2 Day. M. and Guerzoni. pp. P. Institute of Packaging Professionals. F. CC.. L. L.. ed. B. ed. ‘Factors Affecting the Quality Retention of Minimally Processed Carrot’ in Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium of the European Concerted Action Program COST 94 ‘Post-hawest Treatment of Fruit and Vegetables’. W.R. Brussels. C.. 475-492. T.97-l 08 Brackett. needs further development so that it can process produce more gently. Belgium Ohta. A... E.G.E. Current Status and Future Prospects.P. Reretning No. A. Chapman & Hall 6 Ahvenainen. 32-37 3 Garret. M. (1994) Minima//y Processed Refrigerated Fruits and Vegetables.A. Hurdle technology that makes use of natural preservatives.60-67 Anon. A. F. USA 9 Mattila. Food Sci. Technol.F. Finland 7 Varoquaux. (1994) ‘Bacteriological Survey on Ready-to-use Sliced Carrots’ in lebensm. lebensm. (1987) ‘Influence of Processing and Storage Conditions on Quality Stability of Shredded Lettuce’ in Nippon Shokuhin Kogyo GakkaiShi 34. (1991) ‘Modified Atmosphere Packaging of Fruits and Vegetables’ in Modified Atmosphere Packaging of Food (Ooraikul. Hakkinen. VA. M. Citterio. 155-l 60. 43. CRC Press Marchetti. (1995) ‘Microbial and Sensory Quality of Vegetables for Soup Packaged in Different Atmospheres’ in 1..). E. USA 4 Huxsoll. and Hurme. No. pp.Verpack.-Wiss. which prevents excessive 0. and Whitaker. COST 94 ‘Post-harvest Treatment of Fruit and Vegetables’. ed. Commission of the European Community. Current Status and Future Prospects. (1995) ‘Prevention of Browning of Pre-peeled Potato’ in Proceedings of Workshop on Systems and Operations for Post-Harvest Qua/ify(De Baerdemaeker. Products intended for retailing are in particular need of further development. Belgium (in press) Manzano. (1990) ‘Effect of Processing Conditions on the Microflora of Fresh-cut Vegetables’ in /. et al. 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M. (91. A. Lencki. B. making identification of the molecule more difficult. many of the advances in MS have involved new ionization techniques. B. R. L. J. lyengar. (1993) ‘Enzymatic Browning Inhibited in Fresh and Dried Apple Rings by Pineapple Juice’in 1. Nutr. Abell with intermediate and smaller masses. T. T. E. Further developments such as fast atom bombardment and plasma desorption extended the MS mass range into the low kilodalton region. H.M. e-mail: psporns@afns. Mass spectrometry (MS) has long been used as a powerful tool to identify and study molecules (further background information on MS can be obtained from the Internet sites listed in Box 1). 35. Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). S. University of Alberta. Jr (1994) ‘Quality Changes in Diced Onions Stored in Film Packages’in 1. Zagory.Sci. is rapid.. pp.. can be used to analyze crude extracts that have been prepared using almost any solvent. and Cuq. Food and Nutritional Science. the molecules or their fragments can be separated and identified on the basis of their mass-to-charge ratio (m/z).. Espoo. 63-66 39 Heimdal. and Otwell. in the late 1980s matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI)‘“. Although the major research focus has been on the analysis of large molecules (>20000 Da). (1993) ‘Suitability of Plastic Films for Modified Atmosphere Packaging of Fruits and Vegetables’ in /.A.30 McEviJy.ualberta. Baldwin. making ionization of molecules with masses of up to several million daltons possible3.8. and Nisperos-Carriedo.M. E. J... Food Sci. (1994) ‘Refrigerated Storage Under Moderate Vacuum’ in ZFL Focus ht. C. and Toupin. and Bennik. (1989) ‘Modified Atmosphere Packaging of Fruits and Vegetables’in Cm. R. KS.R. and Ohlsson. 509-524 Review MAlDl mass Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) has developed into an analytical technique that has many advantages for food analysis. 1365-l 370 37 Anon. (1996) ‘Bags Extend Salad Shelf Time’ in Packag. The first step for any MS method is ionization of the sample molecules in the gas phase.M. However. G. and can simul- analysis taneously quantify analytes of differing masses. M. Arul. Pike. Lee. 187 Elsev~er Science Ltd PIIbSO924-2244(96)10021-Z .A.. 3991104 34 Kader. 28 (1). L. C.117 41 Krochta. MALDI-MS could become the preferred analytical technique for the analysis of many compounds in foods. (1991) ‘Sulfite Alternative Prevents Shrimp Melanosis’ in FoodJechnol.1276 40 Howard. M. Wrolstad. N. McEviJy. The first widely used technique was electron impact ionization.80-86 31 Monsalve-Gonzalez. Following ionization to a negatively or positively charged species (most commonly the latter).G.Hexylresorcinol’ in Food Jechnol.H. (1994) Edible Coatings and Films to improve Food Quaky. A.. MALDI-MS is also applicable to analytes Peter Sporns and Darcy C. Nisperos-Carriedo..110-l 18 32 Sapers.Z. Gontard.45. parent molecular ions were often small or not present. P. Technomic 42 Guilbert. 173-207.. in which Peter Sporns and Darcy C. 60. l-30 35 Day. L. 762-766. R. 58. Food Sci. 8. FoodSci. and is the subject of this article. and Durst.. Finland 36 Exama.A. Edmonton.. R. 59. and Melchior Larsen. Food SC. requires only picomole quantities of sample. MALDI-MS has no spectrometry for food theoretical mass limit. (1994) ‘Modified Atmosphere Packaging and Active Packaging of Fruits and Vegetables’in Minimal Processing of Foods (VJT Symposium Series 142) (Ahvenainen. (1995) ‘Biochemical Changes and Sensory Quality of Shredded and MA-packaged Iceberg Lettuce’in I. Mattila-Sandholm.. 45 (61.. A. Although this fragmentation was helpful in determining structural features. Barbosa-Canovas. resulting in considerably less molecular fragmentation. D. (1995) ‘Technology and Applications of Edible Protective Films’ in Packag. Food Sci.. D.. (1995) ‘Heated Ascorbic/Citric Acid Solution as Browning Inhibitor for Pre-peeled Potatoes’in 1. R. the mass barrier was broken.V. L&M. Barrett.. Volatilized molecules were ‘soft’ ionized by using ionic gases. R.Jechnol. (1995) ‘Use of Edible Coatings to PreserveQuality of Lightly (and Slightly) Processed Products’in Crit.J. Rev. leading to further fragmentation. Poll. 71 thermally volatile molecules were ionized by using a beam of electrons. Food Sci.G.W. The resulting ionized molecules also absorbed a portion of the energy of the original electron. Food Sci. 339-346 43 Baldwin. eds). MALDI could have a major impact on how food analyses are performed in the future.J. Y..E.F.W. de Witte. A.. January 1996. In the 1960s the development of chemical ionization enhanced the versatility of MS. M. with the advent of electrospray ionization and.L. 66-70 38 Corris. and Baker. Trends in Food Science& Technology June 1996 [Vol. and lyengar. Canada T6G 2P5 (fax: +l-403-492-4265.110-112. 60. R. Over the years.A. 776 33 Lozano-de-Gonzales. Abel1 are at the Department of Agricultural. R. and Kerbel. Yoo. L.49. S. A. Alberta. E.H..ca)..L.P.. Rev. Falk Kuhn. and Miller. and Miller.1265-l 268.O.]. Non. Dig. 01996. When instrument costs drop sufficiently. L. 58. (1995) ‘Inhibition of Enzymatic Browning in Apple Products by 4.