An analysis of temperature breaks in the summer fruit export cold chain from pack house to vessel

Haasbroek, Laura Marchand (2013-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is great concern in the fruit industry that too much fruit and money is lost each year due to breaks occurring in the export cold chain of fresh fruit. Therefore, the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) and Stellenbosch University were approached to do research on this problem. This particular study focuses on the cold chains of table grapes, summer pears and plums as these fruit are especially sensitive to temperature. Observations were made on fruit farms, in pack houses, in cold stores as well as in the Port of Cape Town. From these observations it was clear that protocols are not always followed and fruit quality is sometimes neglected because of pressure to speed up the exporting process. In order to analyse the export cold chains of these fruit types, temperature trials were conducted and temperature data received from exporting companies was analysed. The data was analysed from the cold store up to the point where the vessel sailed out of the Port of Cape Town. From the analysis it became clear that too many cold chain breaks occur during fruit exports from South Africa, especially during the loading of containers at cold stores. As a final output to the study, a good cold chain practice guide for the export of table grapes was developed with the aim of assisting the fruit industry in minimizing these cold chain breaks. The guide was developed with simplicity to ensure easy understanding under all role-players in the industry. This study was a small step in the right direction, but it should be highlighted that the complexity of the problems in the fruit cold chains are substantial and further research will have to be done in order to eliminate the occurrence of these cold chain breaks.

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