Apricots, dried [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 Aprikosen, getrocknet
English Apricots, dried
French Abricots séchés
Spanish Albaricoques secados
Scientific Prunus armeniaca
CN/HS number * 0813 10 00

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

The apricot (rose family, Rosaceae) comes originally from China and the region between the Caspian and the Black Seas and is the stone fruit of the apricot tree. It is 4 – 8 cm in size.

The flesh of fully ripened apricots is yellow to deep orange in color, juicy and extremely delicious. Fruits with a high water content have a low sugar content and little flavor.

Dried apricots are a type of dried fruit. Apricots (whole, stoned, or as halves) are dried to a water content of 22%, either naturally (air or sun drying) or in drying plants. Apricot „slabs“, which are made from overripe fruit which has fallen from the tree, are a particularly sweet and distinctive product.

In order to extend storage life and prevent fermentative browning, which rapidly results in darkening of the fruit, the apricots are treated with sulfur vapor (sulfur dioxide, SO2).

Apricots are the most sensitive of all dried fruits.

Quality / Duration of storage

Californian apricots are graded as follows [2]:

slabs: fallen fruit
standard: smallest fruits
choice: selected fruits
extra choice: particularly selected fruits
fancy: large fruits
extra fancy: particularly large fruits
jumbo: extra large fruits

The maximum duration of storage for dried apricots is as follows:

Temperature Rel. humidity Max. duration of storage Source
0 – 7°C 60 – 70% up to one year [1]
below 8°C 75% several years [5]

Intended use

Dried apricots are used in the confectionery and bakery industries, but are generally enjoyed raw. They are also an ingredient of trail mix.


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Photo, apricots

Figure 1
Photo, apricot

Figure 2
Photo, apricot

Figure 3

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 Turkey, Spain
Africa South Africa
Asia Iran, Pakistan
America Argentina, Chile, USA
Australia Australia

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Dried apricots are packaged in, among other things, 12.5 kg cartons, 12 or 14 kg boxes and 70 kg bags.

When packaged in corrugated or millboard cartons, the product should be transported on pallets. The packaging size should be so selected that the dimensions of the individual area modules or area module multiples are conformed to the conventional pallet sizes (800×1200 mm and 1000×1200 mm) and cargo units may thus be produced.

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo


Means of transport

Ship, railroad, truck

Container transport

Standard containers / refrigerated containers are used, subject to compliance with lower limits for water content of goods, packaging and container flooring.

Cargo handling

Since the packages are sensitive to impact, appropriate care must be taken during cargo handling.

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since this may lead to mold, rot, fermentation and tackiness.

Stowage factor

3.10 m³/t (flat linen fabric bag) [1]
1.56 m³/t (13 kg paperboard cartons) [1]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation if required


Oil crayon, marker pen, mats, jute coverings, fiber rope, thin fiber nets

Cargo securing

In order to ensure safe transport, the cargo must be stowed and secured in the means of transport in such a manner that it cannot slip or shift during transport. If loss of volume and degradation of quality are to be avoided, the packages must not be damaged by other articles or items of cargo.

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Dried apricots require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Precise details should be obtained from the consignor as to the storage temperature to be maintained.

Designation Temperature range Source
Favorable travel temperature 5 – 20°C [1]
0 – 7°C [4]
8°C [5]

At temperatures < -2°C, there is a risk of spoilage, while possible mite growth is inhibited at temperatures < 10°C.

At temperatures > 20°C, fruit sugar forms on the fruits, so hardening and discoloring them. Such crystallized fruits may, however, be reconditioned in steam.

Chemical reactions proceed rapidly at temperatures between 25 and 30°C.

When exposed to heat, dried apricots turn a blue-black color.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Dried apricots require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

Precise details should be obtained from the consignor as to the relative humidity to be maintained.

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 60 – 70% [1]
60 – 70% [4]
75% [5]
Water content 22 – 23% [1]
22% (untreated) [5]
25% (sulfured) [5]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

Dried apricots should be protected from all forms of moisture (seawater, rain, condensation water). A relative humidity > 70% results in tackiness, mold growth and yeast growth.

At relative humidities < 60%, the apricots become tough and hard, so making them largely unsuitable for eating raw.

Direct contact with water in particular results in swelling and mold growth. The product should be protected from sweat with dunnage

The steep gradient of the sorption isotherm for dried apricots indicates the strong hygroscopicity of these dried fruits. At a water content of 22%, dried apricots are at equilibrium with 65% relative humidity.

Sorption isotherm, apricots

Figure 4

Avoid exposure to moisture as the product is strongly hygroscopic and moistening may result in swelling and mold growth. Contact with water may also initiate a fermentation process in the fruit. Once initiated, such a fermentation process is irreversible and, despite starting from a single point, finally spreads throughout the entire cargo.

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RF Ventilation

Dried apricots require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions).

If the product is at „shipping dryness“, i.e. if there is no risk of degradation by mold etc. due to water content, ventilation is not required. If this is not the case, the following ventilation measures should be implemented:

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: 6 changes/hour (airing)

Lack of ventilation in conjunction with heat and incorrect stowage result in the formation of fruit sugar, hardening and discoloration and increase the fruit’s susceptibility to pests.

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RF Biotic activity

Dried apricots display 3rd order biotic activity .

They belong to the class of goods in which respiration processes are suspended, but in which biochemical, microbial and other decomposition processes still proceed.

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RF Gases

No risk.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

Chemical reactions proceed rapidly at temperatures > 25°C. Considerable syrup formation and self-heating may be the result.

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RF Odor

Active behavior Dried apricots have a slight, pleasant odor.
Passive behavior Dried apricots are highly odor-sensitive and should not be stowed in the vicinity of onions and other alliaceous vegetables as their essential oils cause odor-tainting.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Excessive temperatures and excessively high stacking (pressure) may result in the formation of syrup, which may contaminate other goods.
Passive behavior Dried apricots are extremely sensitive to contamination.

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RF Mechanical influences

The packages must be secured appropriately in the hold or container so that they cannot move during transport. In the case of container transport, it is also important for the goods to be secured in the door area so that they cannot fall out of the container when the doors are opened.

Pressure, combined with exposure to heat, brings about candying, agglomeration, syrup formation and fermentation.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

Mite infestation may cause gastrointestinal conditions if the product is eaten. Inhalation of mite dust may cause asthma attacks and frequent contact with mites may result in skin conditions.

Treatment with sulfur dioxide (SO2) must be indicated.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Weight losses may occur due to drying of the product and the release of water vapor.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Exposure to heat and moisture may result in mite infestation, which may make the apricots inedible and cause severe gastrointestinal conditions. Mite infestation may be determined by examination with a magnifying glass: mites may be distinguished from crystallized glucose because they are whitish, slow moving dots. Development from the egg to imago (sexually mature insect) takes approx. 10 days.

Heat and moisture make dried apricots susceptible to pests. They may be infested by cockroaches, moths (dried fruit moth, meal moth and tobacco moth), beetles (sap beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles and flour beetles), rats, mice and ants.

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