Artichokes [German version]

Table of contents

Product information
  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 Artischocken
English Artichokes, globe artichokes
French Artichauts
Spanish Alcachofas
Scientific Cynara scolymus
CN/HS number * 0709 10 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

The artichoke, of Mediterranean origin, is a thistle-like vegetable (edible artichoke) of the composite-flower family (Compositae).

The flower heads of the artichoke plant, which grow at the ends of long stalks, reach a diameter of approx. 5 – 15 cm. They consist of a very fleshy bottom part and bracts which overlap one another like roof tiles. Only the bottom part and the lower, likewise very fleshy parts of the bracts are eaten. Artichoke color differs according to variety and ranges from whitish through green to purple.

Artichokes have to be harvested before the flowers open and the blue petals become visible. Open bracts are an indication that the artichoke is already overripe and quality will very quickly degrade. Artichokes in this condition are no longer suitable for transport.

There follows a list of some of the many varieties:

„Blanc d’Oran“
„Gros Macau“

green color, round shape, closed head:

„Laon artichoke“
„Green Globe“

purple color, long narrow shape, head somewhat opened:

„Violet de Provence“
„Violet de Perpignan“

Its slightly bitter flavor (caused by the bitter substance cynarin) and high vitamin content make the artichoke a delicacy.

Quality / Duration of storage

If the flower heads have opened, they are no longer suitable for transport. In addition, brown discoloration (of white and green varieties) and dry leaf tips indicate that the artichokes have been stored for too long and their quality has therefore started to degrade. There should be no water or dew between the individual bracts, since moisture encourages mold growth.

Various sources state maximum duration of storage as follows:

Designation Temperature Rel. humidity Max. duration of storage Source
Globe artichoke 0°C 95% 10 – 16 days [1]
Globe artichoke -1 – +1°C high rel. hum. 28 days [5]
Globe artichoke 0°C 90 – 100% 14 – 21 days [12]

Where controlled atmosphere transport is used, the transport and storage duration of globe artichokes may be extended. The following parameters apply in such a case [16]:

Temperature Rel. humidity O2 CO2 Suitability for controlled atmosphere
0.6 – 1.7°C 90 – 95% 2 – 3% 3 – 5% good

Intended use

Artichokes are mainly served boiled as a starter or as a side-dish accompanying various main courses. Artichokes are also processed for canning and used in the production of spirits.


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Photo, artichoke

Figure 1
Photo, artichoke

Figure 2
Drawing, artichoke

Figure 3
Photo, artichoke

Figure 4

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 Italy, Spain, France, Turkey
Africa Algeria, Morocco, Egypt
Asia Israel, Iran
America USA, Argentina

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Artichokes are generally transported in wooden fruit crates. Any one crate must only contain artichokes of the same variety, quality and size. The stems must be 10 cm long at most. Artichokes can also be transported in air-permeable bags or baskets.

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo
Symbol, temperature-controlled


Means of transport

Ship, aircraft, truck, railroad

Container transport

Refrigerated container with fresh air supply or controlled atmosphere.

Cargo handling

Since artichokes are highly sensitive to impact, they must 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, since moisture may lead to mold growth and premature spoilage.

Stowage factor

2.77 – 2.83 m3/t (fruit crates) [1]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, well ventilated


Fiber rope, thin fiber nets, wooden dunnage

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

Artichokes 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 Table merely constitutes 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°C [1]
0°C [3]
-1 – +1°C [5]

Artichokes are highly sensitive to frost.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

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

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 95% [1]
90% [12]
Water content 82.5% [11]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 90% [1]

Artichokes must be protected from all forms of moisture (seawater, rain, condensation water), since moisture between the bracts may lead to mold growth and premature spoilage.

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RF Ventilation

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

Recommended ventilation conditions: circulating air, 60 – 80 circulations/hour with continuous supply of fresh air, to prevent excessive concentrations of CO2, ethylene and other gases.

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RF Biotic activity

Artichokes 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).

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RF Gases

CO2 evolution During storage, artichokes evolve CO2 by respiration processes.
Upper limit of permissible CO2 content 3 – 5 vol.%
Ethylene evolution  
Active behavior The rate of ethylene production is very low, being below 0.1 µl/kg*h [16].
Passive behavior Ethylene sensitivity may be classified as low [16] (allelopathy).

If ventilation has been inadequate (frost) or has failed owing to a defect, life-threatening CO2 concentrations or O2 shortages may arise. Therefore, 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 Artichokes have a very slight, pleasant odor.
Passive behavior The cargo is highly odor-sensitive and must therefore not be stored together with odor-emitting products.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Artichokes do not cause contamination.
Passive behavior The cargo is sensitive to 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

Because of their high impact- and pressure-sensitivity, artichokes must be treated with great care during cargo handling, transport and storage, since otherwise they may spoil prematurely.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

If ventilation has been inadequate (frost) or has failed owing to a defect, life-threatening CO2 concentrations or O2 shortages may arise. Therefore, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out. The TLV for CO2 concentration is 0.49 vol.%.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

The normal weight loss due to a reduction in the moisture content of the product is approx. 1% [1].

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Black spots beneath the heart of the artichoke in the vicinity of the stalk indicate the presence of worms.

Moisture between the bracts may lead to mold growth during transport and storage and reduce storage life.

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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