Hormone Strip Prevents Food Decay


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avocado

By Mike Brandolino

You’ve probably experienced fruits or vegetables ripening and rotting on the counter or in the refrigerator. It is frustrating when you have to discard precious food.

Ethylene gas is a naturally occurring hormone in the fruits and vegetables, responsible for ripening and rotting. Maybe you have heard about the trick to place fruit in a paper bag and leave it on the counter for a day or two to speed up the ripening process.  As the fruit matures, it produces and emits ethylene gas. Since the fruit is enclosed in paper bag, the gas is concentrated and the fruit will ripen much faster.

But, what if you purchased a large quantity of fresh produce and do not want it to ripen too quickly? You could place it in the refrigerator to slow the ripening process. Now, a novel approach is being used to retard the ripening process and thus extend the shelf life of our expensive fruits and vegetables.

The company It’s Fresh has developed a simple device to slow down the fruit and vegetable ripening and rotting process, which is a 3 inch x 2 inch strip containing a special proprietary blend of minerals and clay. The strip is simply placed in the shipping crate or packaging container.  The large quantities of the small particles on the strips create a massive amount of surface area, which absorb and trap the ethylene gas. By removing the excess ethylene gas, the fruit and vegetables will have a longer shipping and shelf life. This process works basically the same as putting baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in your refrigerator to absorb foul and unpleasant food odors.

The British supermarket chain Tesco is utilizing the It’s Fresh strips to extend the shelf life of avocados and tomatoes. It is estimated that 350,000 packs of avocados casino pa natet and 1.6 million packs of tomatoes will get an extended lease on life. Marks & Spencer, another retailer, expects to extend the shelf life of 40,000 packs of strawberries during peak season.  The life extension will allow families more time to enjoy the fresh foods and reduce the need to discard rotten crops.

Remember, even though the fruits and vegetables have been harvested from the trees, vines, and soil and are no longer connected to the mother source, biological processes continue to occur. The cells contain sufficient energy to continue functioning, which leads to ripening and eventually, rotting.

Sierra Club Green Home applauds the ingenuity and innovative design of the It’s Fresh strips. Everyone benefits from smart and wise lifestyle choices. Saving money and reducing waste is on the path to promote a green and sustainable future.

For related articles, see:
Food Waste: We Leave Tons to Rot
Community Supported Agriculture: Fresh, Green, Local

© 2012 SCGH, LLC. 

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