Due to their nutrient composition and high water content, citrus fruit is susceptible to infection by microbial pathogens. Their natural acidity (pH range 2.2-4) makes them particularly vulnerable to pathogenic fungi.
Citrus packers rely heavily on synthetic post-harvest fungicides, substances which are subject to stringent legislation due to high residual toxicity and the latent effect on human health and the environment. Citrus exporters are having to comply with revised legislations from import countries, that effectively ban the use of these fungicides.
GHC were one of the first packers in the Southern African region to proactively address this concern; opting to use a combination of permitted chemical substances together with improved sanitisation processes onsite. “We needed to improve our fruit sanitisation processes due to new EU restrictions on the accepted MRL’s of post-harvest chemicals,” says pack house manager, Andre Nel. We decided to use a systems approach to this problem and have experienced the benefits of ArcAqua’s user friendly system.”
In November 2016, GHC installed ArcAqua systems at four of their pack house facilities. The equipment was installed after the flume and pre-sort area, with the main gantry positioned on top of the brush bed.
In addition to sanitising the surface of the fruit, the brushes under the ArcAqua nozzles also experienced the positive sanitising effect of ozone, resulting in improved surface sanitisation of the equipment and reduced risk of microbial cross- contamination at subsequent stages within the packing process.
During the 2016-2017 citrus season GHC recorded a 70% decrease in the decay of the fruit picked and packed. They now incorporate ArcAqua’s sanitisation system at integral sanitisation points on all eight of their pack lines.