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New standard for prospering persimmon trade

International trade in the persimmon, also known as kaki fruit, will be enhanced with the adoption by UNECE in 2015 of the first international quality standard for this fruit.

The first international quality standard for the persimmon, also known as kaki fruit, was adopted in November by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Having a standard for the fruit will make trade easier, open opportunities for exporter countries and offer farmers, traders and inspectors a reliable reference standard, UNECE said in a press release. By referencing the UNECE standard in contracts, traders can be assured the products they order live up to the specified quality and sizing criteria outlined in the standards, it said.

The new persimmon standard, for which preparatory work was initiated by Tajikistan, outlines quality requirements for the products at the export-control stage, after preparation and packaging. These requirements include provisions concerning:

  • quality (such as requirements of the product to be intact, sound and clean, and practically free from pests, etc.),
  • sizing,
  • tolerances for defects,
  • presentation (such as packaging specifications),
  • and marking.

The name ‘persimmon’ is derived from ‘putchamin’, used by the American Indians of the Algonquian tribe for the North American varieties. Persimmons are reportedly high in beta carotene and minerals and are a typical autumn fruit.

They are primarily grown in Asia – with China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Azerbaijan accounting for 95% of the 4.6 million tons produced globally in 2013, according to FAO data. UNECE said.

Until recently, persimmons were relatively little known in Europe but in the past years, trade in them has increased drastically, with Spain emerging as one of the largest exporting countries following the application of new post-harvest techniques allowing for the fruit to be transported longer distances. Today consumers can find persimmons worldwide and in many varieties.

Excerpts from the 2015 UNECE persimmon standard:

A. Minimum requirements

In all classes, subject to the special provisions for each class and the tolerances allowed, the persimmons must be:
• Intact, with the calyx attached, which may be with or without peduncle and dry and brown
• Sound; produce affected by rotting or deterioration, such as to make it unfit for consumption, is excluded
• Clean, practically free of any visible foreign matter
• Practically free from pests
• Free from damage caused by pests affecting the flesh
• Free of abnormal external moisture
• Free of any foreign smell and/or taste.

The development and condition of the persimmons must be such as to enable them:
• To withstand transportation and handling
• To arrive in satisfactory condition at the place of destination.

B. Maturity requirements

The persimmons must be sufficiently developed, and display satisfactory ripeness. The development and state of maturity of the persimmons must be such as to enable them to continue their ripening process and to reach the degree of ripeness required in relation to the varietal characteristics.
At least the lower 1/3 of the fruit should be yellow or the colour of the fruit should be turning.

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Smoked garlic a sticking point for Codex garlic standard

The US has argued that smoked garlic is a processed commodity and should not be included in the fresh garlic standard being developed within the framework of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV).

Smoked garlic is a processed commodity and should not be included in the fresh garlic standard being developed within the framework of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV). That was the position taken by the US at the committee’s 19th Session, held October 5-9 in Mexico.

A report on the meeting published by the USDA says that during discussion on the proposed draft standard for garlic, most issues were resolved except for the inclusion of “smoked” dried garlic. “Some delegations supported the U.S. position in expressing concern that certain smoking practices may alter the taste and/or appearance of this raw agricultural commodity,” the US delegate said in the report.

“The United States is on record for expressing concerns that smoked garlic may be outside the scope of the CODEX CCFFV terms of reference, which clearly state: ‘to elaborate standards for fresh fruits and vegetables.’ Since smoked garlic should be considered ‘processed,’ it should be referred to the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) for further discussion.”

In regard to other issues discussed at the meeting, the delegate reported the following:

Proposed Draft Standard for Kiwifruit: The Committee discussed the draft standard and agreed to exclude Actinidia species such as the A. arguta (kiwiberry) from the standard. The standard was aligned with the approved sections of the revised CCFFV standard layout. There was lack of consensus on size-based classes; i.e. the inclusion of different minimum sizes (diameters) per class along with the minimum maturity requirements. The draft standard was advanced to Step 5 for continued elaboration.

​Actinidia-arguta, commonly called kiwiberries

Proposed Draft Standard for Ware Potatoes: Differing view/positions on several provisions of this proposed draft standard such as sprouting, green coloration, presence of rot and allowance for the presence of soil were not resolved at this session. Therefore the CCFFV agreed to return the proposed draft standard to a working group, led by India, at Step 3 for further revision and consideration at its next session.

Proposals for New Work: The Committee considered proposals for the elaboration of new Codex Standards for fresh dates (India), shallots (Indonesia) and yams (Costa Rica). The proposal from India was approved as new work by the CCFFV, subject to CAC approval, while those from Indonesia and Costa Rica were returned for redrafting and submission at the 20th CCFFV session.

Proposed Draft Standard for Aubergines/Eggplant: The Committee made changes to this draft standard based on the product’s characteristics and trade practices to harmonize with an international interpretation. The Committee agreed to forward the draft standard to the 39th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in June 2016 for adoption at Step 5/8. The U.S. delegation was instrumental in ensuring that this standard harmonized with the revised CCFFV Standard Layout to better reflect global trade and regulatory practices.

The full report, including discussion of the Proposed Revised Layout for Codex Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Standards, can be read online at:

The 20th CCFFV Session is tentatively scheduled in 18 months.

Read other reports by Eurofresh Distribution on the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) here.

Image sources:

  • Smoked garlic: by Jeremy Keith from Brighton & Hove, United Kingdom (Smoked garlic  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC BY 2.0 (], via
  • “Actinidia-arguta”: by Hiperpinguino – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons
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New Codex aubergine standard

A new standard for aubergines has been forwarded for final adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission by the Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

A new standard for aubergines has been forwarded by the Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to the Codex Alimentarius Commission for final adoption.

The committee has also recommended that the commission advance on draft standards for garlic and kiwifruit and has sought its approval on a proposal for new work on a standard for fresh dates. A draft standard for ware potatoes was returned to working group level for further work.

According to Codex, these were among the outcomes from the committee’s 19th session, which took place in Guerrero, Mexico, October 5–9.

“Member countries will have an opportunity to further work on the standards for garlic, kiwifruit and ware potatoes via electronic working groups to address outstanding issues in these standards,” it said in information published on its website.

“The subsequent revised draft standards will be considered by the next session of the committee which is planned for the second quarter of 2017.

“Other technical matters regarding the template layout of Codex standards for fresh fruits and vegetables were addressed and the meeting also agreed to develop a glossary of terms that would be applied to the layout and standards in this area,” it said.

A full final report will eventually be published on the Codex website here under ‘related meetings’.

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Spinneys, the Premier Supermarket Retailer in the Middle East, Joins GLOBALG.A.P. as a Member

Spinneys, the Premier Supermarket Retailer in the Middle East, Joins GLOBALG.A.P. as a Member.

Fine Fare Food Market LLC, which operates Spinneys, the premium supermarket retailer in the Middle East, has become the first in the region to join GLOBALG.A.P. as a retail member. This is in line with the company’s strategic decision to support a sustainable sourcing policy in order to benefit their farming partners, the environment, and their customers.

The company operates hypermarkets and supermarkets in Qatar, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and, through a franchise agreement, 30 stores in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). GLOBALG.A.P. Membership confirms the company’s commitment to supporting initiatives that assure sustainable and safe products for consumers.

By December 2015, Spinneys UAE plans to import only GLOBALG.A.P. certified fruits and vegetables from South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, and Europe. In 2016, the retailer will expand its sourcing policy and work with producers from other countries, including Sri Lanka, Australia and USA, to help them achieve GLOBALG.A.P. Certification.

“We welcome Spinneys as a member in our GLOBALG.A.P. Community,” said Kristian Moeller, CEO of GLOBALG.A.P. “This move will make GLOBALG.A.P. certified produce available also to consumers in the Middle East ‎and opens up a very interesting market for certified producers.”

First established in 1924 by Arthur Spinneys in the suburbs of Alexandria Egypt, Spinneys sold high quality fresh produce, grocery, and baked goods at a fair price and in a fresh and friendly shopping environment. By 1960, it had grown into a chain and succeeded in opening additional retail outlets in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan and supplying food for petrol exploration teams across the Gulf region.

Spinneys opened its doors in Lebanon’s old Beirut Souks in 1948, followed by additional stores in various parts of the country in the 1970s, but unfortunately the stores closed due to the civil war at that time. Thirty years later, Spinneys pioneered the concept of a hypermarket in Lebanon and re-opened its doors in 1998 through one big store and seven other standalone outlets, in addition to regional expansion in the Middle East.

Spinneys was ranked one of the world’s 50 best grocers by UK based retail magazine The Grocer in 2013.

source: GLOBALG.A.P. media release

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GLOBALG.A.P. version 5 launched in Almeria

The new GLOBALG.AP version 5 comes after nearly 400 changes, including reinforcement of microbiological risk monitoring and the responsible use of water.

The new GLOBALG.A.P version 5 has just been announced and presented worldwide. Almeria was chosen for its debut last May. In June 2015 and June 2016, producers may choose to certify the current version (ver.4) or the new one (ver.5). As of July 2016, it will be mandatory to certify version 5.

World launch

This is a new version of the standard, which comes after nearly 400 changes, including reinforcement of microbiological risk monitoring and the responsible use of water. The standard for plant propagation material has also been integrated into the crop standards, so the certification process will be simpler”, explains Ignacio Antequera, head of the technical team and large accounts at GLOBALG.A.P.

Farmers will have a one-year grace period to adjust to the changes, so even though it will take some time to learn the new requirements, the transition should take place smoothly. “The needs of producers and the demands of their customers were a constant reference throughout the review process of the standard, which took over two years. Other interested parties also had their say, including certification authorities, national working groups and private associations, which all took part in development of the standard during the public consultation periods.

GLOBALG.A.P. – a global and sustainable mission

Maria Carmen Morales, head of Quality and Systems at Anecoop and member of the GLOBALG.A.P. Executive Committee, gave a presentation analysing ‘GLOBALG.A.P Management Committee Strategies and Aims’: “The mission of GLOBALG.A.P. members is to develop the incentives necessary to encourage farmers worldwide to adopt safe and sustainable practices that will make the world a better place for our children to live in. GLOBALG.A.P.’s goal is a worldwide link between food production and distribution that is safer for consumers, and laying the foundations for the protection of natural resources through good agricultural practices lets us visualise a sustainable future. A key factor in achieving this goal, among others, consists of nurturing values such as transparency, integrity and trust, which are reinforced by having producers and retailers as partners in this project.”

This is part of an article from the July-August 2015 edition, number 138, of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read it here:

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Standards for kiwifruit, ware potatoes, garlic and aubergines on agenda for Codex meeting next month

Draft standards for aubergines, garlic, kiwifruit and ware potatoes are on the agenda at the 19th session of the Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Guerrero, Mexico, October 5–9.

Draft standards for aubergines, garlic, kiwifruit and ware potatoes are on the agenda at the 19th session of the Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Guerrero, Mexico, October 5–9.

And a Codex standard for shallots is also up for discussion at the meeting. That standard has been proposed by Indonesia, which says that, based on FAO data, world production on shallots and onions increased 2.7% per year over 1980-2011.

Read more about the Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in our article on its 18th session, held in Thailand in February last year.

image source: “Proposals for new work on fresh fruits and vegetables


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Debate next week over blood orange & other fresh produce package labelling

Differing views between Italy, the US and Spain on terms used for labelling citrus fruit packages are among topics to be discussed at a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) meeting in Geneva next week.

Differing views between the US, Spain and Italy on terms used for labelling citrus fruit packages are among topics to be discussed at a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) meeting in Geneva next week.

The US has advised it is “deeply concerned” that proposed changes could mean its quality inspectors are asked “to validate species, varieties and/or their hybrids – something they are not trained or equipped to do.”

In regard to the labelling of packages containing a mixture of citrus fruit of different species, a working group has proposed  the name of the variety or variety group – for example: “Navels”, “Valencias”, “Sanguinelli”, “Tarocco”, etc. – be required.

Among its comments on proposed changes, Spain said it would prefer to label the name of the variety as under the current standard but could accept the name of the variety group for oranges as an option. Spain proposes adding more examples “to make it clear that there are two options of marking: variety or variety group.” It proposed the following label options: “Navelina” or “Navels”, “Valencia delta seedless” or “Valencias”, “Sanguinelli” or “Blood oranges”, “Tarocco” or ”Blood oranges”, etc.

Meanwhile among its comments, Italy said the indication “Blood oranges” as a variety group could create a misunderstanding. “Please note that for us “Tarocco” and “Sanguinello” are variety groups,” it said.

The discussion about changes is part of a plan to make labelling of citrus fruit packages unambiguous and easy to follow. This would involve changes the UNECE Standard for Citrus Fruit. The issue is on the agenda for the sixty-third session of the Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (GE.1) to be held April 21-24.

Also up for consideration are a draft Standard for Lambs Lettuce and an explanatory brochure and Standard for Persimmons.

And among other revisions to UNECE standards to be discussed are:

  • Apples: relating to the structure of the List of Varieties taking into consideration the correspondence received from the delegation of the Netherlands and WAPA;
  • Garlic: the Spanish delegation will make proposals on revising the Standard for Garlic to reflect the results of the OECD work on an explanatory brochure for this product;
  • Watermelons: the Specialized Section will continue its work on revising the Standard for Watermelons;
  • Early and ware potatoes: the Hungarian delegation is expected to provide information supporting its proposals for revising the standard;
  • Tomatoes: delegations will revisit the 2014 post-session text of the tomatoes standard to decide whether to delete “cherry tomatoes” from the commercial types listed in the “Definition of produce” section;
  • Leeks: the Specialized Section may wish to review the Standard for Leeks to take into account the OECD work on an explanatory brochure for this product.

Separately, the delegations of France, Hungary and Poland have requested a discussion on how marking or labelling provisions of the standards could support traceability, and a working group will report on food waste related to the use of standards.

The agenda also says that the Specialized Section will discuss its future work and whether the following standards, last amended in 2010, need to be reviewed in 2016: anonas, artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, avocados, beans, berry fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, ceps, cherries, cucumbers, courgettes, kiwifruit, peaches and nectarines, peas, ribbed celery, rhubarb, root and tubercle vegetables, strawberries, and table grapes.

Documents for the meeting are available online here:
Blood Orange image by Eric Hill from Boston, MA, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons