Europe shares its best-quality processed fruit and vegetables, which embrace European gastronomic heritage with its great variety of food preservation traditions and distinct tastes.
Processed fruit and vegetables overview
Because of the varied growing and harvesting seasons of different vegetables at different locations,
the availability of fresh vegetables differs significantly in various parts of the world.
Processing can transform vegetables from perishable produce into stable foods with long shelf lives
and thereby aid in the global transportation and distribution of many vegetables. The goal of
processing is to deter microbial spoilage and natural physiological deterioration of the plant cells.
The main techniques are the following:
- Drying – drying (or dehydrating) removes enough moisture from the food to protect it from bacteria, molds, and yeasts. Food drying is one of the oldest traditional methods to preserve food. However, it has gone through some changes and innovations. For instance, low-temperature dehydration methods such as freeze-drying (also called lyophilization) have increased the products’ shelf-life to a maximum while maintaining high food quality and the original shape. In contrast to drying, which uses heat, during the lyophilization process, the food is frozen first, and then the pressure is lowered so that the ice could be removed by sublimation. Thus, freeze-drying causes minor damage to the substance compared to high-temperature drying: it saves heat-sensitive nutrients, preserves food flavors, and minimizes the risk of shrinking or toughening the products.
- Canning – Canning is the process of applying heat to food that is sealed in a jar to destroy any microorganisms that can cause food spoilage. Proper canning techniques stop this spoilage by heating the food for a specific period of time to kill the microorganisms.
- Fermentation – During vegetable fermentation, mainly bacteria and, at times, yeast break down vegetable sugars into acid, carbon dioxide gas, and other flavor compounds. The acid produced gives the vegetable tartness and also keeps the food safe by preventing harmful bacteria from growing.
- Pickling – Pickling is the process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The resulting food is called a pickle, or, to prevent ambiguity, prefaced with pickled.
In addition, fruit and berries can become jams (made from the entire fruit, including the pulp), jellies (that contain a whole or large piece of fruit), or marmalade (a jellylike concentrate of prepared juice and sliced peel, which is usually made from citrus fruit).
Processed Fruit and Vegetables Quality Requirements
The Regulation authorizes the Commission to provide marketing standards for fruit and vegetables and processed fruit and vegetables, respectively. According to Regulation, fruit and vegetables intended to be sold to the consumer may only be marketed if they are of sound, fair and marketable.
The Regulation authorizes the Commission to provide marketing standards for fruit and vegetables and processed fruit and vegetables, respectively. According to Regulation, fruit and vegetables intended to be sold to the consumer may only be marketed if they are of sound, fair and marketable quality and if the country of origin is indicated. To harmonize that provision, it is appropriate to set out details and provide a general marketing standard for all fruit and vegetables.
The information particulars required by marketing standards should be clearly displayed on the packaging or label. In addition, to avoid fraud and misinformation, the information should be available to consumers before purchase, especially in distance selling, where experience has shown the risks of fraud and avoidance of the consumer protection offered by the standards.
Packages containing different species of fruit and vegetables are becoming more common on the market in response to demand from particular consumers.
Fair trading requires that fruit and vegetables sold in the same package are of uniform quality. For products for which Union standards have not been adopted, this can be ensured by recourse to general provisions.
Labeling requirements should be laid down for mixes of different species of fruit and vegetables in the same package. They should be less strict than those laid down by the marketing standards to take into account, in particular, the space available on the label.
Processed Fruit and Vegetables Quality Control System
To ensure that checks are properly and effectively carried out, invoices and accompanying documents, other than those for consumers, should contain certain basic information included in the marketing standards.
Based on risk analysis, as provided in Regulation, it is necessary to lay down detailed rules on the selective checks. In particular, the role of the risk assessment when selecting products for checks should be underlined.
Each Member State should designate the inspection bodies responsible for carrying out conformity checks at each marketing stage. In addition, one of those bodies should be responsible for contacts with and coordination between all other designated bodies.
Assortment of Processed Fruit and Vegetables
- Cold dried fruit
- Cold dried vegetables (carrots, beets, assorted veggies)
- Cold dried leguminous vegetables
- Lyophilized / freeze dried fruit or vegetables food bites
- Edible fruit teas
- Cold dried corn
- Cold dried vegetable or fruit powders & sprinkles
- Cold dried herbs