Crooked bananas? How does one go about measuring these? You can soon see the answer to this and similar questions on Maas Fruit Quality Inspection (MFQI) ‘hoe-doe-je-dat-vrijdag’ ('How-do-you-do-that-Friday'). MFQI is a Dutch independent quality control company. They inspect fruit and vegetables, specializing in exotic and overseas fruit.
Banana quality inspection
MFQI's team comprises 25 inspectors. It is based in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands. The business was founded in 2003 by Emiel Maas and Oscar Kleppers. MFQI offers ripening services and provides lecturers to a Dutch learning center, N&S Quality. Here, mostly courses on fruit P-modules are given. The company's focus, however, remains inspection services.
“I dare say, we are the best on the market, by far. That is when it comes to inspecting fruit," says Ludo Tuijnman, an MFQI inspector. "Most of our inspectors have years of experience. Quality control is a passion for them. It has to be."
"Checking all the different kinds of fruit is not just about measuring Brix levels and sizes. The product must be taste-tested too. When it comes to Physalis, this is especially important. It takes years to gain that kind of experience."
Emiel Maas taking a gas reading
The quality inspectors do not only control batches of fruit. They are also asked to give second opinions. "People think if a product has been approved, it is must be good. I see this, especially with traders. That is not always the case. Some types of spoilage or moulds only become visible at a later stage," says Ludo.
"Fortunately, we can advise people well. We can tell them how long a product can still keep. For example, when you can pull a pineapple's leaves out, that does not show it is ripe. In fact, it means the fruit is starting to rot. Its shelf life is, therefore, limited."
"Checks and quality inspections also vary greatly depending on the product's country of origin. Inspecting Spanish citrus demands a different approach to checking those from South Africa or Egypt," explains the inspector.
MFQI has recently been busy repositioning itself on the market. "We asked ourselves the questions - where is the real quality control demand on the market? And how can we respond to this demand?"
"We think we have remained modest in recent years. We are actually the best, but we never say so. We believe it is more important that our clients experience this. However, being modest is not always beneficial. Not in the current market. "
"We, therefore, want to make people more aware of our brand. That is the goal of the 'hoe-doe-je-dat-vrijdag' segment. We have also renewed our website," concludes Tuijnman.
Getting back to the question about curved bananas. You measure a banana down its curve - from the stem end to the blossom end. Here, a flexible measuring tape is an indispensable tool.