What is quality control in fruits and vegetables?

Paola E. Haiat
February 16, 2021

When it comes to buying in a supermarket, a fruit & vegetable store or in a market, they tend to recognize certain characteristics of the fruits and vegetables they consume: the touch, the size, the consistency and, of course, the flavor. To make this experience consistent, all fruits and vegetables go through a quality control that allows to test that what the consumer is expecting will be effectively fulfilled.

 

What is quality control?

It is an exploration carried out at different levels and scales to fruits and vegetables to determine if they adequately comply with the expected characteristics to reach a final consumer.

 

What is taken into account in a quality control?

External characteristics

1. Firmness

This feature helps to determine the degree of ripeness of a fruit, is done regularly with a penetrometer directly from the fruit in the field.

 

2. Color

This may be one of the most important characteristics, given it allows the consumer to have the feeling that a product is in good condition. There are two ways toperform this measurement: visually or instrumentally, where you can resort to a color chart inside which the product must be or performed with a colorimeter.

 

3.Morphology

It is everything that involves the physical form of the fruit or vegetable, such as size, weight or curvature. Instruments such as scales, sizing machines and tape measures are used to make this measurement.

 

4.  Smell

Especially in fruits such as citrus, a factor that can be decisive is the aroma that the fruit gives off. This smell comes from aromatic substances present in both the skin and the pulp. Currently, one way to measure it through technology is through a gas chromatography combined with mass spectrometry.

Internal characteristics

1. Soluble solids

This measurement is made with a refractometer and allows to know the amount of sugar present in a sample, normally known as the brix scale. This number allows not only to know the amount of sugars, but also indicates the maturity of the fruit and indicates the best time to harvest it.

 

2.  Acidity

It is obtained through the juice of the fruit with a pH electrode. In addition to the level of acidity present in the product being known, it allows to know what possibility exists of proliferation of microbes, since this factor directly affects the ease with which external agents can enter.

 

The quality control is carried out from the harvest in the field until its arrival to the supermarkets, but as we can see a great part of the process is carried out in the production, where the producers ensure that the maturation and physiognomy of the productis the suitable one so that when it arrives to the final consumer it has enough life to be bought and, later, eaten.

A good treatment in the quality control allows the products to always arrive fresh and with good flavor to the plate of dozens of homes, avoiding this way dozens ofwastes in the way!

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