UK – Westfalia Fruit, a leading multinational avocado supplier, has successfully conducted trials of an innovative, natural method aimed at enhancing food safety within the avocado supply chain through an exclusive probiotic technology.

Traditionally, the industry relies on manual deep cleaning of avocado ripening rooms to uphold stringent food safety standards and eliminate residue from natural fruit mold.

The revolutionary approach by Westfalia involves the use of a probiotic, uniquely distributed as a water mist throughout the ripening room.

This novel method delivers multiple advantages for both food safety and sustainability. Andrew Mitchell, Head of Innovation at Westfalia Fruit, elaborates on the probiotic’s nature: “Our innovative probiotic liquid is similar to that found in yoghurts, which can help with the natural balance of our digestive system.”

“This type of probiotic is also very effective at attacking yeasts and molds. We have developed the application of this natural probiotic further as a liquid, and Westfalia Fruit is the only avocado supplier able to do this.”

Initial trials have demonstrated promising results, with a 65% reduction in micro levels compared to control rooms.

The study also showcased a significant reduction in mold on individual fruits. Avocados treated with the probiotic remained mold-free for up to fifteen days, resulting in a remarkable 20% reduction in internal rot.

Beyond the evident food safety benefits, this method eliminates the need for chemical cleaning materials, avoids disruptions from shutting down ripening rooms, and can be applied to challenging areas like ventilation ducts and fans.

Westfalia is currently conducting a second trial, applying the probiotic liquid from the roof of the ripening room, anticipating a 90% reduction in micro levels.

Continuous monitoring of fruit quality over a four-week trial period will pave the way for the initial implementation of this technology across Westfalia’s UK facilities.

Andrew Mitchell outlines the roadmap, stating that moving forward Westfalia Fruit will be managing a roll-out to its European operations with extended trials across a range of products, including citrus and mango.

“Looking even further ahead, with the benefit of Westfalia’s integrated supply chain, the unique misting technique can be applied within shipping containers, giving fruit the benefit of the probiotic application before reaching its final destination,” he stated.

Expressing excitement about the breakthrough, Mitchell emphasizes its alignment with Westfalia’s sustainability goals: “This project is a clear example of how Westfalia continues to ensure consistent high-quality avocados are available for consumers to enjoy 365 days of the year. We are very excited about this breakthrough, as well as the immediate benefits.”

“We anticipate a further reduction in potential waste product while successfully and naturally maintaining food safety, all of which directly aligns with our ambitious sustainability goals.”

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