The trade of horticultural green goods at the local and more significantly, at the international degree is governed by certain factors. These factors necessitate the design and execution of steps to do the green goods competitory. These factors can be considered in two ways-quality and safety factors ( Kader and Rolle, 2004 ) .

1.1 Significance and inter-relationships of different properties of horticultural green goods

Horticultural produce peculiarly fruits ; veggies, roots and tubers have formed portion of the day-to-day diets of worlds providing foods for the wellbeing of the human organic structure. With the development of the horticultural industry in modern times, green goodss are moved from production countries to retail mercantile establishments either locally or internationally. For this ground, the green goods supplied dramas two-pronged map of run intoing the safety and quality demands of the importation states and supplying income to the exporting states when they meet the purchasers specifications ( Thanh, 2006 ) .

1.2 Quality properties of the green goods

The term “ Quality ” is “ evasive ” in its definition taking different descriptions. Its definition depends on the user, the merchandise, the value or even the maker. In general footings nevertheless, quality is defined either as “ conformity to demands ” or more popularly as “ fittingness for usage ” ( Mitra, 1998 ) . It involves giving consumers what they need, at the right clip, at the right monetary value and every clip they need it. Quality attributes associated with horticultural green goodss include structural features such as size and form and centripetal features such coloring materials, flavour/ gustatory sensation.

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Production stageDetermination and care of quality through the supply concatenation

Harvesting ( harvest adulthood )

Agronomic factors ( fertilizer and H2O application )

Familial factors ( Varietal choice )

Climatic factors ( Temperature and light strengths )

Postharvest phase

Conveyance, distribution and retail

Packaging ( traceability )

Screening and rating ( size, coloring material and form )

Storage ( temperature direction )

The quality attributes of fruits, veggies, roots and tubers are determined pre-harvest and at harvest and these properties are non increased but are either altered or maintained at the postharvest phase. The determiners of the quality are varietal choice, agronomic patterns, climatic conditions and adulthood at crop. At the postharvest phase, screening and rating at the packhouse allows for choice of appropriate-sized, molded and colored green goods. Temperature direction during conveyance and storage reduces metabolic rate and maintains the quality of the green goods. Boxing protects the green goods from physical and microbic harm and incorporates information of the green goods for intents of traceability. Management of temperature during distribution and proper show of green goods under appropriate conditions of visible radiation can besides act upon its quality ( Lee and Kader, 2000 ; Hewett, 2006 ) .

1.2.1 Structural features – size and form

Produce are visually appraised by their size, coloring material and form. Size is frequently associated with adulthood and assortment of a peculiar green goods. If the green goods is either excessively large or excessively little in relation to the specific harvest or assortment, in inquiry so is it frequently disregarded by the retail merchant every bit good as the consumer. Besides, form is characteristic of specific green goods in that a malformed or shrivelled green goods will be selected against by consumers as this is untypical of the peculiar green goods in inquiry and considered unfit for ingestion ( Kader and Rolle, 2004 ) .

1.2.2 Centripetal features

a. Colour

The coloring material is the most common characteristic that determines consumer perceptual experience of the eating quality of the green goods. Some produce by nature ripen to go ruddy or xanthous ( most fruit ) ; some mature and still look green ( most veggies ) . In the former, the green goods quality is synonymous to mature and can be harvested at that phase while in the latter where coloring material alteration does non happen, they are picked at “ preparedness to reap ” phase. Therefore, the purchaser equipped with this cognition would make up one’s mind to purchase a peculiar green goods based on the color feature of that green goods. A blotched coloring material will be perceived as an off-type which is unfit for ingestion ( Camelo, 2004 ) . Crisosto ( 2009 ) found that in some fruits such as Prunus persicas and Prunus persica nectarinas, mechanical harm can do a reactive stain ( inking ) on the fruit tegument ensuing in economic losingss.

b. Texture

Texture refers to the feel of the green goods. At the retail mercantile establishment, it could be felt by manus but can be determined by oral cavity feel ( smooth, crispy etc. ) after purchase. The texture finding by manus could mention to the soundness or smoothness of the green goods. For case, the tegument of apples is smooth while that of oranges are unsmooth but in both instances they need to be steadfast to be acceptable to the consumer. Softening of fruits could ensue from cell wall debasement due to metabolic dislocation of assimilates, H2O loss in dry storage conditions or microbic infection. All these scenarios are unacceptable to the purchaser and more serious is the latter instance. Spoilage micro-organisms such as Alternaria alternata or Botrytis cinerea has been associated with softening of tomato fruits ( Bombelli and Wright, 2006 ) .

c. Flavour

The spirit as determined by a characteristic olfactory property reflects the eating quality of green goods. Therefore ; any produce with off-flavour will non be regarded as tantrum for ingestion. For this ground, supervising systems are aimed at guaranting the acceptance of production and handling patterns that helps to keep the natural spirit and gustatory sensation of green goods. As indicated by Kader ( 2008 ) , the flavour quality of the green goods is affected by familial, pre-harvest, harvest and postharvest factors. There is familial variableness in volatile compounds possessed by fruits and veggies and these are affected by pre-harvest conditions such as fertilizer and irrigation governments, adulthood phase of harvest home and postharvest handling. The storage of green goods in elevated C dioxide atmosphere can take to anaerobiotic respiration, bring forthing ethyl alcohol, ethanal and lactic acid and ensuing in off-flavour production.

d. Nutritional value

Nutritional quality is the least attribute considered in consumers purchase determination. Apparently, because the alimentary content of the green goods can non be determined in the usual manner as in the other quality properties. Foods of major concern include vitamins such as A, B and C, minerals such as Ca and Fe and indispensable amino acids every bit good as dietetic fiber. The nutritionary composing of fruits and veggies can be influenced by familial makeup of the green goods achieved through genteelness. Climatic factors such as temperature and visible radiation is known to impact alimentary degrees in fruits and veggies. High temperature and light strength are known to increase ascorbic acerb content in tomatoes at pre-harvest while high N and H2O application cut down it. Postharvest heat interventions in fruits and veggies nevertheless consequences in loss of vitamin B and C ( Kader, 2008 ; Wills et al. , 1998 ; 2007 ) .

1.3 Safety properties of the green goods

Unlike the quality attributes, safety factors associated in horticultural green goods can non be easy perceived by the consumer unless by research lab analysis or when they manifest themselves in a signifier of illness after devouring an insecure nutrient. Food safety is hence defined as “ the confidence that nutrient will non do injury to the consumer when prepared and/or consumed harmonizing to its intended usage ” ( CAC, 2003 ) . Safety attributes considered as “ jeopardies ” are explained in three ways: physical, chemical and biological jeopardies.

Physical jeopardies

These are touchable stuffs that are found in nutrient and which if ingested can do injury to the consumer. They include broken branchlets, irritants or spinal columns in harvested horticultural green goods. However, they do non present important hazard as their sensing and happening are about negligent to do injury ( New South Wales nutrient safety authorization, 2009 ) .

Chemical jeopardies

Chemical jeopardies that occur during production, managing, storage and selling of horticultural green goodss include agrochemicals ( pesticides ) , environmental pollutants such as lead, and quicksilver, lubricators from machinery every bit good as sanitising agents. Naturally, some harvests produce defense mechanism chemical which at higher degrees are insecure for human ingestion. Examples are murphies which produces glycoalkaloid and acrimonious manioc that produces hydrocyanic acid. In a survey by Saldana et Al. ( 2007 ) , pregnant adult females exposed to pesticides every bit good as phenoxy weedkillers are prone to gestational diabetes while a related survey implicated agrochlorines such as endosulfan and dicifol in autism spectrum upsets in kids when their female parents are exposed in early gestation.

Biological jeopardies

Biological jeopardies arise from taint of bugs or their toxins. In the production of horticultural green goods, the bugs of concern include:

Salmonella spp. – an enteral bacteria that can do typhoid and GI infection when ingested. Between 1996 and 2006, the UK recorded about 88 eruptions of salmonella from lettuce taint while Canada recorded 25 eruptions for the same period with sprouts as the concerned trade good ( FAO/WHO, 2008 ) .

Clostridium botulinum – this is found of course in the dirt and unlike Salmonella spp. , they form neurolysins which when ingested even at really low doses causes paralytic unwellness ( botulism ) and can ensue in decease. In 1991, home-made canned tomato was implicated in three instances of botulism in Ontario, Canada with moderate to severe symptoms ( Loutfy et al. , 2003 ) .

Escherichia coli – besides enteral and the most of import member of the group is E.coli 0157: H7 whose toxin can do unwellness to the consumer and sometimes decease. In 2006, the USA recorded a countrywide eruption of E.coli O157: H7 which infected 205 and killing at least three people. The infection was implicated on bagged fresh Spinacia oleracea ( DeWaal, 2007 ) .

Parasites such as Cryptosporidium parvum- it is a parasite that is transmitted through faecal-oral path and infection can happen with the consumption of every bit low as 10-30 oocysts. Sysmptoms include diarrhea, abdominal hurting and sickness. In 2008 in Finland, 72 people were infected though the ingestion of contaminated assorted salad ( Ponka et al. , 2009 ) .

1.4 Systems designed to pull off the safety and quality of horticultural green goods

Codex Alimentarius ( nutrient codification )

Before the 1960 ‘s, states and regional organic structures had nutrient criterions implemented to protect consumers within their administrative boundaries. As trade expanded beyond state and regional boundaries, there arose the demand for a consonant criterion with a planetary influence. To this consequence, the Food and Agriculture Organisation ( FAO ) of the United Nations in 1961 established the Codex Alimentarius ( nutrient codification ) which is a digest of different criterions refering to the safety and quality of nutrient. It has since being administered by a joint committee ( Codex Alimentarius Commission ) of the FAO and the World Health Organisation of the United Nations with a adhering conformity in international trade ( FAO/WHO, 2006 ) .

HACCP

With increasing nutrient safety concerns across the Earth, the Codex Alimentarius ( Food Code ) Commission ( CAC ) has recommended for acceptance of a consonant and internationally recognized criterion, in this instance HACCP for the care of nutrient safety throughout the nutrient supply concatenation i.e. from the farm to the fork. In general, the CAC emphasises that nutrient and nutrient merchandises shall be safe and suited for human ingestion, free from off-flavours and any obnoxious affair. Unlike the traditional quality control measures which rely on terminal sampling for measuring possible jeopardies, HACCP is a nutrient safety system which adopts a systematic and preventive attack at placing and commanding possible jeopardies that are critical to nutrient safety. This system identifies seven basic stairss known as the seven rules of HACCP to place and command nutrient safety jeopardies or cut down them to acceptable degrees throughout the concatenation ( CAC/RCP, 2003: FAO and WHO, 2007 ) .

EC Regulation on pesticide residues on nutrient and provender of works and animate being beginning

Manufacturers of fruits and veggies use pesticides to protect their harvests from pest infestation. The uninterrupted usage of these chemicals helps to command the plagues but some do non degrade rapidly and hence accumulate in the green goods to degrees that are mammalian toxic. Therefore, ingestion of such green goodss incorporating residuary pesticide above certain degree is insecure for the consumer. For this ground, the European Commission ( EC ) has set Maximum Residue Levels ( MRLs ) for pesticides on horticultural green goods. This is aimed at guaranting the safety of consumers particularly the vulnerable group ( babes, weak and vegetarians ) .Therefore, providers of horticultural green goodss have to follow with these criterions to keep a interest in European trade. The ordinance sets bounds for assorted pesticides and harvests. Where a peculiar pesticide has non been specified in the ordinance, a baseline of 0.01mg/kg is used as a baseline ( EC, 2008 ) .

The Ghana Food and Drugs Law

The Ghana Food and Drugs Law is a legislative instrument which was enacted in 1992 to guarantee that nutrient and drugs produced in the state or imported from exterior are safe for ingestion. The jurisprudence is enforced by the Food and Drugs Board ( FDB ) and importers of nutrient and drugs have to be registered by the Registrar Generals Department before being permitted to import into the state. Since there is no proviso for nutrient safety demands and pesticide degrees, the Board endorses the Codex criterions sing nutrient safety and pesticide degrees ( GAIN, 2009 ) .

Safe Quality Food codification 1000

The Safe Quality Food codification 1000 is a HACCP – based system that is designed to guarantee that primary manufacturers demonstrates their due diligence in the production of quality and safe nutrient as per the demands of the consumer. It was established in 1994 in Australia but has since 2004 been administered by the Food Marketing Institute in the US mandated to manage nutrient safety issues non merely in the US but around the Earth. The codification ensures that manufacturers undergo a three point enfranchisement system i.e. Food safety basicss, certified HACCP based nutrient safety programs and a comprehensive nutrient safety and quality direction systems. They have to show their due diligence on these three systems over the full primary production procedure every bit good as field handling of harvested green goods with mention to HACCP. It is a system that has been recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative of the CIES and its ideal for manufacturers engaged in direct supply to retail merchants or stock agents ( Safe Quality Food Institute, 2009 ) .

Quality direction Systems ( ISO 9000 series )

The Quality Management Systems involves processs and activities employed to supervise and guarantee that the consumer receives a merchandise in a manner that meets is intended usage. This can take a two-pronged approach- Quality Control ( QC ) and Quality Assurance ( QA ) .

Quality Control merely implies sensing of failure and may affect review, trying the green goods and analyzing it to place and extinguish the failure with regard to a peculiar criterion.

Quality Assurance on the other manus involves the bar of mistakes by taking all the precautional steps to guarantee bringing of the merchandise as per its specifications.

In general, the QMS takes a holistic attack to include HACCP and Pre-requisite Programmes such as provider quality confidence, operator preparation and hygiene, preventive care, standardization of equipment, environmental hygiene and cleansing every bit good as pest direction to follow with quality and safety criterions ( Mitra,1998 ; Evans and Lidsay,2008 ) .

Global GAP/EurepGAP

As indicated before, EurepGAP or soon Global GAP is an enterprise of retail merchants in the European states who usually import horticultural produce largely from tropical parts. In their quest to guarantee their clients of safe and quality produce, have instituted the EurpGAP or Global GAP enterprise as a criterion for the manufacturers and/or providers in these parts. The term “ GAP “ is an acronym for Good Agricultural Practices. Crop production begins from the farm and any handling pattern associated with a peculiar green goods at the production or reaping phase can act upon the quality and safety of the green goods at the postharvest degree. For this ground, the EurepGAP has established critical points and conformity standards for fruits and veggies aimed at following the GAP strategy on farms. The countries of much accent in this regard include input supply, production patterns, worker wellness and safety every bit good as environmental issues ( European Commission, 2006 ) .

Assured Food Standards

These criterions were established in the 1990s in the UK by retail merchants of fresh horticultural green goods. They have been benchmarked against the Global GAP criterions and hence implore agriculturists to show due diligence by following with the criterions to bring forth quality and safe nutrient for UK consumers. The criterions topographic point accent on environmental and microbiological issues throughout the supply concatenation. Agriculturists certified under these criterions are obliged to follow an integrated plague direction system with minimum usage of inorganic pesticides ( Assured Produce, 2008 ) .

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