Figs, 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 Feigen, getrocknet
English Figs, dried
French Figues séchées
Spanish Higos secados
Scientific Ficus carica
CN/HS number * 0804 20 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Figs are the pear-shaped false fruits of the fig tree, of the mulberry family (Moraceae). They contain large numbers of tiny stone fruits inside them. They are preserved by drying (dried fruit). The fig tree, which is often more bush-like, is native to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. It is now widespread throughout the tropics and subtropics.

The drying process flattens the figs, resulting in the loss of their pear-like shape and the adoption of a round shape.

Depending on quality, a distinction is drawn between natural figs and processed figs:

Natural figs are dried in the sun or by machine, threaded on cords or into rings. The glucose which crystallizes out and creates a dull surface with its granules preserves the figs naturally as dried fruit.
Processed figs undergo several operations, i.e. drying, immersion in salt water or steam treatment, pressing and then drying again. Pressing into particular shapes (slabs, rolls) and processing give the figs an attractive, shiny appearance. Figs processed in this way are commercially the most desirable.

Quality / Duration of storage

Figs should be large, thin-skinned and light brown and taste sweet, juicy and honey-like. The most sought-after are Smyrna-type figs, which are well suited to the drying process. The whitish coating on the skin is glucose which has crystallized out.

Provided that the recommended storage temperature and relative humidity are complied with, candying of the fruits may be avoided, though this is not spoilage but merely the consequence of fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Thus, fruits which are very severely dried-out and display severe candying and a sour odor are generally from the previous year’s harvest.

Dried figs have only a limited shelf life, due to their high residual water content. Provided that the recommended storage temperature and relative humidity are complied with, dried figs may be kept for a few months. When handled incorrectly, figs may become tacky, support yeast growth, grow moldy, ferment and take on an unpleasant odor.

Intended use

Dried figs are mainly eaten raw, but they are also used in the production of jams, wine, fig bread etc..


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Photo, figs

Figure 1
Drawing, figs

Figure 2
Photo, figs

Figure 3
Photo, figs

Figure 4
Photo, figs

Figure 5
Photo, figs

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.

Europe Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal, South of France
Africa Algeria
Asia Syria
America USA (California)
Australia Australia

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Dried figs are packaged in, among other things, hardwood boxes (13 – 15 kg) and millboard cartons, dried figs for industrial use also being packaged in 25 kg linen fabric 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. Containers should be stowed below deck to prevent the development of high temperatures and thus syrup formation.

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

1.80 m³/t (in 15 kg cartons) [1]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation if required


Marker pen, oil crayon, oiled paper, packing paper

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 figs 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 4 – 20°C [1]
7°C [3]
7°C [5]

At temperatures < 10°C, possible mite growth is inhibited.

At temperatures > 25°C, syrup forms and fermentation may occur. There is a risk of the syrup seeping out of the packaging and damaging other goods.

The product should  not be stored close to heat sources as there is otherwise a risk of drying-out and hardening of the product, which becomes dark brown to coke-like.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Dried figs 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% [3]
60% [5]
Water content 18 – 30% [1]
max. 26% [5]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

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

Figs are strongly hygroscopic. Moisture, in particular ship sweat and direct contact with seawater or rain, causes fermentation. If this is the case, the entire consignment may start to ferment. In order to prevent wetting of the product by sweat from hold or container surfaces, it should be protected with dunnage . If a fermentation process is initiated, it may eventually affect the entire cargo.

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RF Ventilation

Dried figs 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)

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RF Biotic activity

Dried figs 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 and considerable syrup formation and self-heating may be the result.

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RF Odor

Active behavior Dried figs have a slight, pleasant odor.
Passive behavior Dried figs 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 At temperatures > 25°C and under excessive stack pressure, syrup forms and fermentation may occur. There is a risk of the syrup seeping out of the packaging and damaging other goods.
Passive behavior Dried figs 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.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

Mold attack may cause figs to form mycotoxins (poisonous metabolic products).

Dried figs infested by mites may cause severe gastrointestinal conditions if eaten.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

The normal weight loss due to a reduction in the moisture content of the product may be approx. 1%.

Slight losses of volume may occur due to breakage of the packaging container.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Exposure to heat and moisture may result in mite infestation, which may make the figs 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.

Figs are fumigated, so meaning that a fumigation certificate should be available. Fumigation is directed particularly against mite infestation, but also against other pests.

Under appropriate temperature and humidity conditions, there is a risk of infestation by maggots, mites, cockroaches, moths (dried fruit moth, meal moth, tobacco moth), beetles (sap beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles and flour beetles), rats, mice and ants.

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