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Frits van den Meulen, KCB
"Overflowing boxes of iceberg lettuce"In the past few weeks, during visits, I have seen a lot of greenhouse product, writes Frits van der Meulen of the Dutch Quality Control Agency (KCB). At the moment, there is a large selection of tomato varieties available, from tomatoes-on-the-vine, and loose tomatoes to cherry tomatoes, all of excellent quality. In the distant past, a hot summer would have caused some quality issues. Now, even in these circumstances most of the growers, with their modern greenhouses and ways, are able to deliver a high quality product.
Sweet peppers are also, generally, of a high quality. What is, however, noticeable, is that there are a lot more burnt spots on the product. This is not so unusual, considering that June was exceptionally hot and sunny. I must say, I saw this problem primarily at the producers' level. The peppers with burnt spots are removed by the staff, but work should have been done before the sorting stage.
The situation regarding aubergines is unchanged - an excellent, problem-free product. The quality of cucumbers is also generally good, causing few problems in the trade channels.
There are, however, more quality problems with iceberg lettuce. After a dry and warm pre-season, we switched to more rain with relatively high temperatures. This combination has caused problems like bulb rot and less dense lettuce heads. It is a pity that some businesses still use the 10-piece standard. This eventually causes quality issues, such as red discolouration and blemishes, further down the supply chain.
Publication date: 8/11/2017
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