Pineapple [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 Ananas
English Pineapples
French Pineapple
Spanish Pinas
Scientific Ananas comosus
CN/HS number * 0804 30 00

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Pineapples originally come from Paraguay. Columbus discovered them in 1493 in Guadeloupe and from then on they became native to all tropical latitudes.

The pineapple is the cylindrical false fruit (pseudo-fruit) of the family Bromeliaceae and consists of a thickened, fleshy, very juicy axis core and inedible, scaly, warty skin, resembling a pine cone: only the polygonal, flattened outsides of the individual fruits are visible at the surface of the multiple fruit (syncarp). The fruit is topped by a crown of prickly leaves. The axis core (central cylinder) in the middle of the false fruit is woody and therefore inedible.

The English name „pineapple“ points to the similarity to a pine cone.

Important commercial varieties include „Smooth Cayenne“, the most important variety in the canning industry, the yellow „Queen“, which is cultivated for eating fresh, and the Spanish group, „Red Spanish“ likewise being suitable for eating fresh.

The pulp generally only reaches its full flavor if the fruit is left to ripen on the plant. The pale yellow to golden pulp is high in sugar and acids and has an excellent flavor (eating, luxury or dessert fruit).

The fruit is harvested while still firm (two-thirds ripe). In most varieties, the degree of ripeness of the fruit is clear from the yellowness of the skin. However, a pineapple may be fully ripe while still green on the outside. If one of the inner crown leaves can be pulled out easily, the pineapple is fully ripe. Pineapples intended for shipping are harvested when green, while those intended for immediate eating are harvested in the semiripe state and those intended for canning in the ripe state. Since pineapples are a nonclimacteric fruit, they should not be cut before ripening begins if a good flavor and quality are to develop.

A distinction is drawn between greenhouse products, e.g. from the Azores (ripe for harvesting after nine months, externally more attractive than outdoor pineapples but more sensitive and with a shorter keeping period) and outdoor pineapples (ripe after 14 – 22 months, externally not so uniform as greenhouse products, but more robust and better suited to long journeys).

Quality / Duration of storage

Only sound fruit provided with fungicidal paste on the cut stalk may be approved for transport. Pineapples which are bruised prior to transport must be rejected, as they start to rot very rapidly.

Pineapples suffering from glassy spoilage (translucent appearance) are unsuitable for transport, since they quickly develop a vinous flavor due to fermentation. Glassy pineapples have an increased susceptibility to surface mold. Glassy fruit exhibit similar symptoms to those of cold-damaged fruit. They are denser than sound fruit and sink in water. Glassy fruit is no longer suitable for dessert purposes. Pineapples exhibiting more than 20% glassiness constitute a transport risk.

The fruit may be tested for glassiness as follows:

Pineapple hydrometer: this device has been developed to distinguish between pineapples exhibiting slight, medium and severe glassiness. It consists of a light frame, which holds the fruit in an upright position. The pineapple to be tested is introduced together with the frame into a water bath; the degree of glassiness is determined from the immersion depth. A vertical indicator fitted on the frame indicates the degree of glassiness.
Finger tapping method: performed by tapping the thick end of the fruit. Different degrees of glassiness produce different tonal resonances. However, this requires a lot of experience and good hearing. This method has long been practiced by pineapple packers but it is of questionable reliability.
Cutting method: determination of glassiness by cutting a randomly selected sample at right angles to the core of the fruit, so that glassiness is clearly visible.

Maximum duration of storage and transport is as follows:

Designation Temperature Rel. humidity Max. duration of storage Source
  7 – 12°C 90% 4 weeks [1]
  6 – 7°C > 90% 4 weeks [5]
  10 – 12°C 85 – 90% 4 – 5 weeks [14]
green, unripe pineapples 10 – 12°C 85 – 90% 2 – 4 weeks [39]
50% yellow pineapples 7 – 10% 85 – 90% 3 – 4 weeks [39]
ripe pineapples 4.5 – 7°C not stated 2 – 3 weeks [39]

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

Temperature Rel. humidity O2 CO2 Suitability for controlled atmosphere
7.2 – 10.0°C 85 – 90% 5% 10% Moderate

Intended use

Pineapples are both eaten fresh (e.g. in fruit salads) and subjected to further processing (e.g. canning and juice, concentrate and jam production).


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Drawing, pineapple

Figure 1
Photo, pineapple

Figure 2
Photo, pineapple

Figure 3
Photo, pineapple

Figure 5
Photo, pineapple

Figure 6

Countries of origin

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

Africa Ivory Coast, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon
Asia Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, India
America Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Hawaii

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Pineapples are packaged in corrugated board cartons, crates and fruit crates.

Since pineapples can rapidly develop „pressure sores“ under their own considerable weight, they are not generally packaged on their sides, but rather upright in telescope cartons of the „Japanese Garden“ type. These telescope cartons, which are perforated at the top and sides, each contain for example two inserts each with six cells to carry a total of 12 pieces of fruit. The inserts are easily removed and make good presentation boxes for the retail trade. Each individual fruit may be protected against impact by wood wool.

Figure 7

The packaging must additionally allow sufficient ventilation of the pineapples, since stagnant air around the pineapples encourages mold growth. This is ensured by perforations in the sides and the top and bottom of the described cartons.

Other packaging types are:

Compartment packaging (developed in South Africa): the carton is subdivided into rectangular compartments tailored to the particular dimensions of the different varieties and the bottom is lined with a 10 cm thick layer of plastic for accommodating the ends of the pineapples in order to prevent pressure sores. A rectangular collar is fitted between the shoulder and the lower end of the crown and fixes the pineapple securely in its compartment. However, this packaging has the disadvantage that ventilation of the fruit is very poor.
Open packaging: this lacks the compartments, the fruit being separated by padded battens. The bottom is again padded with a layer of plastic. This type of packaging does allow appropriate ventilation of the fruit.

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo


Means of transport

Ship, aircraft, truck, railroad

Container transport

Refrigerated container with fresh air supply or controlled atmosphere

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

2.83 – 3.26 m3/t (half-boxes) [1]
4.20 m3/t (cartons) [1]
1.95 – 3.26 m3/t (boxes and cartons) [14]
4.00 m3/t (palletized cartons) [39]

The stowage factor depends very much on weight categories and the packaging units used.

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation


For segregation, do not use paint or modify the cartons in any other way, instead use fiber rope, thin fiber nets or 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

Pineapples 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 7 – 12°C [1]
7 – 13°C [2]
6 – 12°C [5]
10 – 12°C [14]
10 – 12°C (green, unripe pineapples) [39]
7 – 10°C (50% yellow pineapples) [39]

Chilling damage arises in the varieties „Queen“ and „Smooth Cayenne“ when they are stored for 14 days at temperatures of < 7°C. Signs of chilling damage are: loss of skin gloss, formation of brown to black stripes under the skin and around the woody central cylinder (endogenous brown spot), watery flesh, insipid taste, susceptibility to rotting and loose crown leaves.

At temperatures > 10°C, the crown leaves have an increased tendency to bolt. Bolted crown leaves impart a tired appearance to the fruit and diminishes its value. In addition, the tendency to fruit rot (black rot) also increases, often occurring as butt rot above the stem but also arising in the crown.

Susceptibility to chilling damage reduces as ripeness increases.

The cargo and holds/containers must be cooled before loading starts, to ensure that the cold chain is unbroken and the quality of the fruit is not reduced.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

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

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 90% [1]
85 – 90% [2]
>90% [5]
85 – 90% [14]
85 – 90% [39]
Water content approx. 85% [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 90% [1]

Since the fruit transpires heavily, it would shrivel severely at relative humidities of < 85%.

Moisture on the fruit, such as seawater, condensation water, rain or the like, results in rapid spoilage.

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RF Ventilation

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

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate 40 – 60 times per hour with constant supply of fresh air, so as constantly to remove the ripening gases arising and to keep the CO2 content of the hold air low.

Spoilage may occur as a result both of inadequate ventilation (danger of rotting) and of excessive ventilation (drying-out, weight loss.

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RF Biotic activity

Pineapples 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 In pineapples, metabolic processes continue even after harvesting. The fruit absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide and ethylene.
Upper limit of permissible CO2 content 10 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]. However, it is essential to avoid loading together with citrus fruits (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. Pineapples tolerate a CO2 content of 10 vol.%, but the TLV for CO2 concentration is 0.49 vol.%.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

No risk.

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RF Odor

Active behavior Pineapples have a very slight, pleasant odor, which increases as they ripen.
Passive behavior Pineapples are highly odor-sensitive.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Pineapples do not cause contamination.
Passive behavior Pineapples are sensitive to dust, dirt, fats and oils. Therefore, before the cargo is accepted, holds must be very thoroughly cleaned and ventilated. It is recommended that fitness for loading be confirmed by an independent surveyor.

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RF Mechanical influences

Pineapples are very sensitive to impact and exhibit high pressure-sensitivity. If stored on its side, the fruit, each item of which weighs approximately 1 – 1.8 kg, rapidly bruises, leading ultimately to rot, i.e. it forms „pressure sores“. For this reason, the cargo is only transported upright, in special cartons or boxes.

Photo, storage

Figure 4

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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. Pineapples tolerate a CO2 content of 10 vol.%, but the TLV for CO2 concentration is 0.49 vol.%.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

The fruit’s respiration process and excessive ventilation may cause weight losses of 8 – 10%. It is possible to protect the cargo from weight loss by treatment with wax emulsions (dipping, spraying).

There is additionally a risk of theft.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Animal pests clinging to the pineapples, such as the common scale insect, can be removed simply by brushing.

Fruit rot (black rot), which arises as a result of entry of the fungus Thielaviopsis paradoxa via the cut made through the stalk during harvesting, is the most significant post-harvesting disease, producing soft rot inside the fruit. For this reason, the cuts must be treated with a fungicide no more than 6 hours after harvesting. 

Other types of fungus enter through small wounds after harvesting and cause black rot patches.

To reduce development of mold, the fruit is dipped in fungicidal emulsions.

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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