The role of post-harvest
management in
assuring the quality
and safety of
horticultural produce

Adel A. Kader
Department of Pomology
University of California
Davis, United States of America
Rosa S. Rolle
Agricultural and Food Engineering
Technologies Service
FAO Agricultural Support Systems Division
Rome, 2004

Table of Contents

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

ISBN 92-5-105137-2
ISSN 1010-1365

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to the Chief, Publishing and Multimedia Service, Information Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy or by e-mail to: [email protected]

© FAO 2003

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

1.1 Value of horticultural perishables and their post-harvest losses
1.2 Quality factors
1.3 Safety factors

2. Genetic, Pre-harvest, and Harvesting Factors that Influence the Quality and Safety of Horticultural Crops

2.1 Genetic factors
2.2 Climatic conditions
2.3 Cultural practices
2.4 Maturity at harvest in relation to quality
2.5 Method of harvesting in relation to physical damage and uniformity of maturity

3. Post-harvest Management Procedures that are Critical to Maintaining the Quality and Safety of Horticultural Crops

3.1 Packing and packaging of fruits and vegetables
3.2 Temperature and relative humidity management
3.3 Cooling methods
3.4 Refrigerated transport and storage
3.5 The cold chain and its importance
3.6 Return on investment in temperature and relative humidity management

4. Post-harvest Treatments Designed to Minimize Produce Contamination and to Maximize Quality

4.1 Treatments to reduce microbial contamination
4.2 Treatments to minimize water loss
4.3 Treatments to reduce ethylene damage
4.4 Treatments for decay control
4.5 Treatments for insect control

5. Post-harvest Treatments Designed to Manipulate the Environment around Produce in Order to Enhance Quality

5.1 Modified atmosphere storage
5.2 Ethylene exclusion and removal
5.3 Return on investment in reducing ethylene damage
5.4 Treatments to enhance uniformity in fruit ripening

6. Criteria for the Selection of Appropriate Post-harvest Technologies

7. References

8. Internet Resources

FAO Technical Papers

Back Cover