Traditionally, bell peppers haven’t been a big ocean container mover as they don’t hold up very well in long transit times. “They are a weaker vegetable variety and several challenges limit their shipability,” says Christian DeBlasio with Purfresh. “First of all, they are very susceptible to decay, softening, and wrinkling of the outer skin,” he mentioned. Another challenge with long-distance transportation of bell peppers is the high risk of botrytis and grey mold decay, which can easily spread from fruit-to-fruit.
Fresh produce travels the globe to find its way to the end-consumer. The fruit market in particular is very global with about nine percent of all fruits grown being traded internationally. The majority is shipped in refrigerated ocean containers. During the transit process different factors determine the quality of produce upon arrival at its destination. “People look at visual quality as well as safe quality,” says Christian DeBlasio with Purfresh.
Wheatsheaf Group Limited (Wheatsheaf), through its wholly owned food safety solutions subsidiary TriStrata Group, has acquired 90% of Purfresh, a global provider of specialized controlled atmosphere systems that reduce the risk of high value cargo loss through spoilage in refrigerated ocean shipping containers.
“At Purfresh, we specialize in offering in-transit cold treatment management,” said DeBlasio. “It saves product shelf life for the customer, but most importantly, we monitor the fruit pulp probe temperatures continuously while the fruit is on the water.” The Purfresh process for cold treatment includes in-transit reefer container temperature changes, when required.
“We provide remote, in-transit corrective actions to containerized shipments.” All year long, vessels shipping fresh produce are moving all over the globe and are in some cases out to sea for a time frame of 30 days or more. Importers, shippers, traders, also called beneficial cargo owners, all want their produce to arrive at the destination in excellent condition for optimum shelf-life and quality product.
“Costa Rica is a world leader in producing high-quality pineapples that have a good shelf-life and travel well,” says Christian DeBlasio with Purfresh. Not only does the country have the technology to produce them efficiently, it also excels in post-harvest technology that includes clean water management, waxing, and pre-cooling.