This week in fresh produce

Cherry defect grader AirJet launched

GP Graders announce the release of their new AirJet cherry defect grader. The company is able to detect the full scope of internal and external defects on fresh cherries. "This comes on top of our existing ability to achieve colour separation, 97% sizing accuracy and shape determination to separate “doubles”, “spurs” and stemless cherries", says Stuart Payne, Director of GP Graders.

Detection and removal of internal defects include softness, bruising, cell breakdown, shrivelling and compression damage. Detection and removal of external defects include pitting, cracking (side and base), cuts, open wounds, mangled, skin peel, under and over mature.

The release of this technology will enable massive reduction of sorting staff and  elimination of pre-sorting. "We made the grader that it has high volume throughput regardless of batch quality."

All existing GP Graders AirJet graders are able to be upgraded to a defect system and all GP Graders mechanical cherry lines are able to have an AirJet defect grader installed.

For a video of AirJet cherry defect grader in operation see:

For more information:
Stuart Payne
GP Graders

Australia rejects a quarter of NZ apple exports

Last week Fresh Plaza reported on the refusal of Tasmania to allow apple imports from New Zealand, despite a World Trade Organisation ruling that Australia had to accept the fruits.

Now it has been revealed at a senate hearing that almost a quarter of New Zealand apples have been rejected since the ruling. The hearing revealed that the Australian Quarantine and inspection Service (AQIS) has inspected 17,638kg or 1121 boxes comprising 87,438 apples and rejected a total of 5030kg or 280 boxes or 21,840 apples.

The revelation comes as Shadow Agriculture Minister, John Cobb, headed to NZ to inspect the processes involved in the country's production and supply chain. Mr Cobb said the three days of field trips and meetings would help MPs better understand the NZ apple industry and potential pest and disease risks from apple exports to Australia.

The rejections took place as a result of the discovery of leaf litter and both live and dead apple leaf curling midge in consignments.

Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) said it was dismayed by the news, but that it was comforting to see the determiniation of AQUIS to protect the county's disease free status. The organisation also said that NZ orchard standards, accepted by Biosecurity Australia, were clearly not adequate.

Meanwhile the Australian apple industry has launched a $1 million marketing campaign encouraging consumers to buy Australian produced apples. The Apple and Pear Growers Association has created an Aussie Apple sticker to label which fruit is Australian.

The president of Apple and Pear Growers of South Australia, Michael Nicol says apple growers want to make it clear where the apple comes from. "It's to identify and stand us out from the rest of the pack so that when we do continue to get more imported fruit that out consumers will be easily able to identify the Aussie apple by this brand," he says.

Price war between Woolworth and Coles continues

Results for December 2011 from the Bureau of Statistics appear to show a continuation of the price war between Woolworths and Coles, with food price inflation slowing down sharply as a result.

According to the ABS Consumer Price Index, the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages fell by 1.5 per cent in the final three months of last year, compared with the September quarter. Compared with the previous December quarter, food inflation was up 2.5 per cent, well below the September quarter's 6.4 per cent annualised rate.