TURKEY – Save Foods an agri-food-tech company focused on developing and selling eco-friendly products specifically designed to extend the shelf life and ensure food safety of fresh fruits and vegetables, has announced that it has flagged off a commercial pilot program of its treatment for citrus fruits with a large Turkish packing house,  HERA Meyve ve Sebze.

The commercial trial, which is scheduled to begin between November 8th and 12th, was designed to verify that the company’s products, when combined with permitted pesticides, mitigate undesirable pathogens but most importantly reduce the presence of the pesticides’ hazardous residues on citrus fruit, as required by the European Union’s (EU’s) recently established “ Farm To Fork Green Deal Initiative ”.

The “Farm To Fork Green Deal Initiative” establishes concrete targets to reduce food waste and the use of pesticides in the EU by 50% and convert a quarter of the total farmlands of the EU to organic cultivations — all to be achieved by 2030 at the latest.

Commenting on the announcement, Dan Sztybel, the Chief Executive Officer of Save Foods Ltd., the Company’s Israeli Subsidiary, expressed his confidence that this trial will confirm that Save Foods treated produce consistently shows efficient control of pathogens with less hazardous residues.

According to the CEO, this is something the company has repeatedly demonstrated in the pilots and scientific studies already conducted in Israel, the United States, Mexico and Spain.

He noted that the program is an important step in advancing Save Foods presence in the EU adding that Turkey is one of the world’s largest producers of fruit and vegetables, and while it is not a member of the EU, it is estimated that more than 42% of all Turkish exports go to EU countries.

“I expect the results achieved here will facilitate our relationships with other regional growers, packers and retailers and help us take advantage of the many opportunities within the European marketplace,” Sztybel concluded.

This past July, the Turkish government announced its Green Reconciliation Action Plan in response to the above-mentioned EU initiatives, which signals Turkey’s increasing commitment to its agricultural industry and efforts to remain competitive in the EU.

Save Foods pre-harvest application

Save Foods’ initial applications are in post-harvest treatments in fruit and vegetable packing houses processing citrus, avocado, pears, bell peppers and mangos. By controlling and preventing pathogen contamination and significantly reducing the use of hazardous chemicals and their residues, Save Foods’ products not only prolong fresh produce shelf life and reduce food loss and waste, but they also ensure a safe, green, and healthy product.

The company recently announced the completion of a series of successful trials in conjunction with a leading California academic institution to ascertain the efficacy and impact of its treatments as a pre-harvest application.

The study’s results demonstrate pre-harvest applications of Save Foods’ treatments are effective in mitigating the presence of decay-causing pathogens on the surface of citrus fruits.

Sztybel highlighted that pre-harvest applications are a natural extension of the company’s existing business model, which until now has focused mostly on post-harvest treatments.

He said that Save Foods’ post-harvest treatments are effective at maximizing the shelf life and safety of fresh produce, and the recent California studies indicate that growers and packers can benefit further from a pre-harvest application.

Any extension of shelf life provides all stakeholders – growers, packers, retailers and consumers – better access to higher quality fruits and vegetables across the supply chain.

Dr. Art Dawson, Company’s U.S. Business Manager added that to really ensure the best quality of the fruit and minimize decay along the food chain, treatment should start in the field and continue into the post-harvest stage.

He noted that the findings in these initial tests indicate that the pre-harvest applications of Save Foods’ holistic treatments successfully control the pathogens that can cause disease and lead to waste.

“This corroborates our internal analysis of the Company’s products and suggests that Save Foods can offer growers and packers a complete, practical and environmentally friendly solution to control and reduce foodborne and plant pathogens, helping to ensure they are delivering a safe product across the supply chain, minimizing waste and loss,” said Dawson.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Safety Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food safety, quality and compliance. SUBSCRIBE HERE