Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Mahajan, P.V., *Sousa-Gallagher, M.J. and Mezdad, T.
41st Annual UCC Food Research Conference
Evaluation of Commercial Packages for Mushrooms and Strawberries
Cork, Ireland
Poster Presentation
2012
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Optional Fields
26-APR-12
27-APR-12

Strawberries and mushrooms are high perishable because they have high respiration and transpiration rates, therefore packaging is essential for maintaining quality, extending shelf-life and minimising waste. The aim of this study was to perform a market survey on commercial packages of fresh strawberries and mushrooms in four major retailers in Ireland. Mushrooms were found to be generally packed in rigid punnet-trays (rPET) with stretchable PVC film. The gas composition was not modified because the packages were either macro-perforated or had too many micro-perforations. The chilling cabinet temperature/RH for mushrooms was 7-11C/ 45-77% RH and the remaining shelf-life was 2-5 days. Strawberries were packaged in rigid trays with heat sealable flexible film or clamshell with hinged lid. All strawberry packages were found to have gas composition close to air, deviating from recommended gas composition i.e., 5-10% O2 and 15-20% CO2. All strawberries packages had macro-perforations (8 mm) and perforations number varied from 3-22. The chilling cabinet temperature/RH for strawberries was 10-15C/ 40% RH, which was much higher than recommended (0-5C/ 90-95% RH), and the remaining shelf life was 2-3 days. It is well established that modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) can help to increase the post harvest life of mushrooms and strawberries, but no evidence was found in the current market of MAP application for these two products. The existing packaging material is not permeable enough to compensate the high physiological requirements of these two products, and perhaps the reason for using macro-perforations, in order to avoid anoxia and condensation. Therefore, development of optimal packaging through the use of tailored design micro-perforations or development of materials that would allow reaching O2 and CO2 within the recommended range and at the same time avoid moisture condensation inside the package is needed for strawberries and mushroom.