Blueberries [German version]

Table of contents

General:
Product information
Packaging
Transport
  Container transport
  Cargo securing


Risk factors and loss prevention:
Temperature Odor
Humidity/Moisture Contamination
Ventilation Mechanical influences
Biotic activity Toxicity / Hazards to health
Gases Shrinkage/Shortage
Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion Insect infestation / Diseases




Product information

Product name

German Heidelbeeren, Blaubeeren
English Blueberries
French Myrtilles
Spanish Arándanos
Scientific Vaccinium corymbosum
CN/HS number * 0810 40 30


(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)



Product description

Blueberries, also known as bilberries, belong to the heather family (Ericaceae).

A basic distinction can be drawn between wild blueberries and cultivated blueberries. Wild blueberries grow in the wild, cultivated blueberries, on the other hand, are cultivated in fields.

The color of blueberries reveals whether or not they are ripe. The initially green fruits turn blue as they ripen, while the stem-end turns from red to blue.


Quality / Duration of storage

Blueberries sent for transport must be fresh and free of mold, rot, insect infestation and mechanical injury. They must have their characteristic flavor and not be contaminated by any foreign odor or flavor. To prevent mechanical injury, they should be free of stalks and leaves. Blueberries spoil very quickly and become bitter. They must be sold quickly.

Maximum duration of storage and transport is as follows:

Designation Temperature Rel. humidity Max. duration of storage Source
  -0.5 - 5°C 85 - 95% 7 - 21 days [1]
  0°C 90 - 100% a few days [3]
Wild blueberry -1 - 0°C not stated 21 days [5]
Cultivated blueberry -1 - 0°C not stated 42 days [5]
  0°C 90% 10 - 14 days [20]


Intended use

Blueberries are eaten fresh and used for flans, stewed fruit, jams etc.


Figure

(Click on the Figure to enlarge it.)

Photo, blueberries

Figure 1



Countries of origin

This Table shows only a selection of the most important countries of origin and should not be thought of as exhaustive.

Europe Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France
Africa  
Asia  
America USA, Canada
Australia New Zealand


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Packaging

Blueberries are mainly packaged in quantities of 1 - 3 kg in chip baskets and trays of wood, paperboard or plastic. To prevent the fruit from drying out, 200 - 250 g punnets are wrapped in polyethylene film.

Photo, blueberries

Figure 2
Photo, blueberries

Figure 3



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Transport

Symbols

Symbol, general cargo

General cargo


Temperature-controlled



Means of transport

Ship, aircraft, truck, railroad


Container transport

Refrigerated containers with fresh air supply, also thermally insulated containers for short distances overnight to the destination.


Cargo handling

Because of its impact- and pressure-sensitivity, the fruit has to be handled with appropriate care.

The required refrigeration temperature must always be maintained, even during cargo handling.

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, as there is otherwise a risk of premature spoilage.


Stowage factor

approx. 2.86 - 4.0 m3/t (palletized cartons) [20]



Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry


Segregation

Each pallet of cargo is labeled.


Cargo securing

Because of its considerable impact- and pressure-sensitivity, packages of this cargo must be secured in such a way that they are prevented from damaging each other. Spaces between packages or pallets must be filled, to prevent slippage or tipping. By selecting the correct packaging size or cargo unit (area module or area module multiple), holds can be tightly loaded (without spaces).


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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Blueberries require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

A written cooling order must be obtained from the consignor before loading is begun. This order must always be complied with during the entire transport chain.

The following Tables merely constitute an estimate of appropriate temperature ranges. Temperatures may deviate from these values, depending on the particular transport conditions.

Designation Temperature range Source
Travel temperature -0.5 - 5°C [1]
0°C [3]
-1 - 0°C [5]
0°C [12]
0°C [20]


Where refrigeration is inadequate, moisture loss causes spoilage and shriveling.


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RF Humidity/Moisture

Blueberries require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 85 - 95% [1]
90 - 100% [3]
90% [20]


Where relative humidity is too low, moisture loss occurs: the berries shrivel and may spoil.


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RF Ventilation

Blueberries require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: 5 changes/hour (airing)

Do not ventilate excessively, as otherwise the berries lose moisture.


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RF Biotic activity

Blueberries display 2nd order biotic activity.

They are living organs in which respiration processes predominate, because their supply of new nutrients has been cut off by separation from the parent plant.

Care of the cargo during the voyage must be aimed at controlling respiration processes (release of CO2, water vapor, ethylene and heat) in such a way that the cargo is at the desired stage of ripeness on reaching its destination. Inadequate ventilation may result in fermentation and rotting of the cargo as a result of increased CO2 levels and inadequate supply of atmospheric oxygen (see Ventilation).

The relatively short journey times make it very unlikely that quality will be reduced by metabolic products.


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RF Gases

CO2 evolution During storage, blueberries evolve CO2.
Upper limit of permissible CO2 content They are insensitive to high CO2 concentrations and low O2 concentrations in the hold/container
Ethylene evolution  
Active behavior Blueberries produce small quantities of ethylene, their ethylene production rate being 0.1 - 1.0 µl/kg*h [16].
Passive behavior The risk of allelopathy is quite slight in the case of blueberries. On the one hand, they exhibit low sensitivity to other ethylene producers [16], while on the other hand journey times are generally relatively short.


Where transport times are longer, which is not typical for blueberries because of their short shelf life, dangerous CO2 concentrations may arise in the hold. In cases of doubt, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out.


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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

No risk.


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RF Odor

Active behavior Blueberries do not release any odor.
Passive behavior They are sensitive to foreign odors.



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RF Contamination

Active behavior Injured wild blueberries can cause severe contamination due to the severely staining blue juice which they exude. Cultivated blueberries have light flesh and do not stain.
Passive behavior Sensitive to dust, dirt, fats and oils. The holds or containers must accordingly be clean and in a thoroughly hygienic condition before loading.



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RF Mechanical influences

Blueberries are highly pressure sensitive and must therefore be handled with care during transport and storage. Mechanical injury causes the juice, which causes severe staining, to leak and leads to rapid spoilage of the cargo.


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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

Where transport times are longer, which is not typical for blueberries because of their short shelf life, dangerous CO2 concentrations may arise in the hold. In cases of doubt, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out.


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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Slight losses in volume are possible due to improper handling.

Moisture loss may occur as a result of excessive ventilation and over-long transport times.


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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Blueberries are susceptible to mold. Mold starts to grow either at the stem-end or at the flower.

Photo, mold

Figure 4


The quarantine regulations of the country of destination must be complied with and a phytosanitary certificate may have to be enclosed with the shipping documents. Information may be obtained from the phytosanitary authorities of the countries concerned.


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