Quality

Quality

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Commercial quality standards for apple trees

(Lat. Malus domestica Borkh. L)

In order to maintain the highest production standards and thus provide customers with high-quality fruit, the European Union introduced a set of special requirements concerning the commercial quality of apples. Thanks to these regulations, any non-compliant products, deemed low-quality, are not allowed to be introduced onto the market.

Pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on establishing a common organisation of agricultural product markets and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 922/72, (EEC) No 234/79, (EC) No 1037/2001 and (EC) No 1234/2007 (Dz. U. L 347 of 20.12.2013, p. 671 as amended), in regard to the fruit and vegetables sector and the processed fruit and vegetables sector, apples are subject to specific marketing standards.

These standards specify the quality requirements after fruit preparation and packaging processes, as well as requirements concerning fresh apples. They do not, however, cover apples intended for processing.

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Requirements

Apples intended for trade should meet the following quality conditions,
subject to tolerances allowed:

 

  • Whole – the fruit must be devoid of any mechanical or harvest damage.
  • Sound – products which are decomposing or showing signs of deterioration that render them unfit for consumption are rejected.
  • Clean – free of any visible foreign matter.
  • Pest-free.
  • Free from any flesh damage caused by pests.
  • Free from any foreign odours or flavours.
  • The condition of the products must enable them to withstand transport and handling and make it possible for them to arrive at their final destination in satisfactory condition.

 

Premium class

Until recently, in the industry-specific language, this class used to be referred to as extra. It includes the fruit of the highest quality. The determinant factors are shape, size and colour, which should be in-line with the typical characteristics for a particular variety. Stalks of the fruit belonging to this class must not be damaged and their flesh should be completely healthy.

Choosing the premium class means that we receive only carefully selected apples in a specific size range to guarantee that all fruit in the particular batch are nearly identical.

Class I

Apples belonging to this class should have the basic shape, size and colour characteristics of the particular variety as well. In addition, the fruits should be of good quality and appearance. The flesh must be perfectly sound, but some minor defects in regard to shape, development, colour and peel may be permitted, provided that they do not negatively affect the general appearance, quality or the manner in which the apples appear in the packaging.

The stalks may be missing, provided that the area in which they were situated is clean and the fruit’s peel is undamaged.

Class II

It includes all fruit that does not meet the requirements of the above two classes but still meets the minimal requirements. Defects in shape, development, colour and peel are allowed, provided that the fruit retains its characteristics in regard to quality and appearance.

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Presentation rules

Each packaging must contain a homogeneous batch of apples. This means that the fruit must be of the same origin, variety, quality and size (if sorted based on size) and with the same degree of ripeness. When ordering premium apples, the uniform fruit colour criterion also applies.

  • The visible part of the contents of a given packaging must be representative of the entirety of its contents.
  • Premium fruit must be packed in layers.
  • The apples must be packed in a way that will make them properly protected. The packaging itself must be free of any foreign matter. In particular, retail packaging whose content mass exceeds 3 kg should be rigid enough to ensure that the product inside remains undamaged.
  • The materials used inside the packaging must be new, clean and of a high enough quality as to avoid causing any external or internal damage to the produce. Using market-grade materials, particularly paper or stamps, is allowed provided that the print or label contains only non-toxic ink or glue.
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Labelling rules

Each package must be marked with a label containing the information listed below. The labels should be placed on the same side in the case of each package, and they must be legible, durable and visible from the outside.

Identification

  • Name and address of the packer or dispatcher.

The above text may be replaced in the case of all packaging, except unit packaging, with an officially issued or approved packer or dispatcher code number, placed in close proximity to the term “packer” or “dispatcher” (or appropriate abbreviations) only in the case of pre-packed products, or with the name and address of a seller with a registered office within the EU, which must be placed in close proximity to the term “packed for” or an equivalent term. In this case, the label must also contain the code number of the packer or dispatcher. The seller must provide all information regarding the meaning of this code that the inspection services deem necessary.

Product origin

  • Country of origin and, optionally, the district where grown, or national, regional or local name of the place of origin.
  • In the case of retail packages containing a mixture of apple varieties of different origin, it is mandatory to indicate the country of origin next to the name of the given variety.

Commercial specifications

  • class
  • size or, in the case of fruit packed in layers, number of units. If the identification is based on size, identification data should be expressed in the following way:
  • in the case of products subject to the principle of homogeneity – by providing the minimum and maximum diameter or the minimum and maximum weight of the fruit,
  • in the case of products not subject to the principle of homogeneity – by indicating the diameter or weight of the smallest fruit in the package, and including the words “and larger”, the “+” symbol, or another equivalent term, if applicable, and by providing the diameter or weight of the largest fruit.

Product type

  • the word “Apples” if the contents are not visible from the outside,
  • name of the fruit variety or varieties, where applicable,
  • in the case of retail packages containing a mixture of different apple varieties – the name of each variety included in the package.
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Apple supply chain

Cultivation
Harvest
Sorting
Storage
Shipment