Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has announced advisory and guidelines for export of mangoes from India to the US last week.
According to Asit Tripathy, Chairman, APEDA, instances have come to notice in the past where certain courier services have been sending mangoes without irradiation to the USA. Similarly, passengers travelling to the US have carried mangoes as personal baggage without subjecting them to irradiation treatment.
Export of mangoes from India to the US was opened in 2007 after years of persuasion by the Government of India and Import Risk Analysis carried out by the US. The export of mangoes to the US is subject to irradiation treatment. Currently the KRUSHAK facility at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra is the only approved facility for carrying out irradiation on mangoes being exported to the US, it is learnt.
APEDA has issued a Public Notice to the exporters, courier services, passengers that no movement of mangoes in any form such as export, dispatch by courier, personal baggage consignments to the US should occur unless the mangoes are irradiated, Tripathy added.
APEDA has also announced guidelines for pre-harvest and post-harvest operations for sea shipment of mango.
For pre-harvest survey an orchard survey must be undertaken to determine the right stage of harvest of fruit for export. Mangoes normally take 120-150 days from fruit set to maturity. Internally the fruit should have light yellow tinges to the flesh and slightly more yellow coloration round the stone. Fruit should be firm but not hard.
For harvesting pick only clean and healthy looking fruit, i.e. no signs of damage by insect pests or diseases or by other means and all fruits must be of consistent maturity. Fruits should be harvested leaving 10 cm of stalk using mango harvestors and a smooth net pouch for holding the harvested fruit. Harvested fruit should be lowered and placed with stem upwards in clean and disinfected plastic crates. Crates should not be placed directly on the soil. Each crate should be labelled indicating the orchard name, variety, date and time of harvesting
For long distance markets, fruits should be harvested at early maturity. However, fruits should not be immature. In order to ascertain appropriate levels of maturity of the fruits, the following parameters should be carefully observed to avert spoilage. Fruit should be harvested at light green colour stage of mango peel (skin). Fruit should be harvested with a specific gravity of 1.0 or slightly less. The incidence of spongy tissues increases with an increase in specific gravity. Total soluble solids (TSS) of mango fruit is recommended to be between 7 and 8% and fruit acidity recommended pH 4.0. The fruits of uniform characteristics should be harvested and packed to ensure uniform ripening. Consignment lot should comprise fruits harvested at the same period. Harvesting should be planned keeping in view the above factors.
Also, the fruits should be harvested in the morning (before 10 am) or evening (after 5 pm). Harvesting after 10 am and before 5 pm should be avoided in order to ensure reduction of field heat in the fruits. Harvesting should be performed 48 hours in advance of shipping.
For harvesting of the fruits, specially designed mango harvesters (stalk clippers) should be used to improve the quality and shelf life of the fruit. Traditional `jerk harvesting' should not be adopted. It is recommended that after harvesting, the fruits should be immediately kept under shade at safe and clean place until it is transported to the packhouse. Further, for ensuring the quality and shelf life of the fruit, it is advisable that fruits be air/potable water cooled under the shade till harvesting is completed. This will minimise the effect of high temperature on the fruit and would decelerate the ripening process. As far as possible, the cold chain should be maintained from harvesting stage itself.
The fruits should be quickly transported in fully covered vans preferably in the refer vans to packhouse. Efforts should be made to pack the fruits in the nearest packhouse to minimise the delay and to avoid damage to the fruit during transit.
Desapping is a process of removing the sap from mango fruit. The sap from the fruit is removed by cutting the stalk of the fruits at a length of 5-10 mm from the base of the fruit with the help of a sharp edged scissor/harvester. At the time of stalk cutting, the fruit should be held upside down so as to avoid the flow of sap on the skin of fruit. It is advisable that whole sap from the fruit should come out during the de-sapping process. However, to reduce the process time, fruits should be placed upside down at least for 45 minutes. This process should be undertaken by only trained/skilled workers of the packhouse so that the skin of the fruits is not damaged. It would be appropriate if fruits are washed with water by applying a forced jet system of spraying. This will considerably hasten the process of desapping and ensure proper coverage of the fruit by the spraying water.
After de-sapping, the fruits should be washed carefully for 2-3 minutes to remove any patches of sap. During washing, fruits should also be cleaned with soft brushings. The washing is recommended to be done with only fresh potable water of temperature lower than that of the fruit. Neutral detergents like Teapol, Sandovit or Indtron at 0.1% (1 ml of detergent per litre of water) may be mixed with water to help remove latex (sap). It is recommended that the Alphonso mango shall be subject to specific gravity test for removal of fruits affected by the internal disorder - spongy tissue disorder. This may be done by transferring the fruit to a tank containing 2.5% salt solution. The mangoes which sink down are over mature and are likely to be affected by spongy tissue disorder.The mangoes which float in the salt solution are at the right stage of maturity for export.
Hot-Water Treatment is mandatory for USA. After de-sapping and washing, mango fruits should be passed through hot water treatment tanks fitted with thermostat control sensors to maintain the desired temperature of 520 C. The hot water should be treated with disinfectant such as sodium hypochlorite/procloraz etcat 200 ppm concentration for 3-4 minutes. After hot water treatment fruits are passed through the drying table to remove the moisture. The fruits are then cleaned/wiped by a soft muslin cloth/automatic sponge system and transferred to sorting/grading table.
Over-sized/under-sized /blemished /diseased/damaged fruits shall be removed at sorting table. Though maturity indices are observed at harvesting stage as mentioned earlier. It is advisable to observe the maturity index at this stage as well. The fruits falling in uniform criteria shall be graded and packaged accordingly. Fruits should be handled carefully and placed gently into the packing boxes to avoid bruising/injury. Fruits shall be graded as per size, weight, shape and colour or as per the market requirements. The grading shall also be done by following the grade requirements as notified by Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, Government of India.
Immediately after packing, the packed fruits shall be transferred to pre cooling chamber. The recommended temperature of pre cooling chamber is 12-13 degrees C.
It is advisable that packaging should be carried out on tables instead of floor for maintaining proper hygiene. Fruits shall be placed into soft, expandable polystyrene, netted sleeves to prevent bruising before placing into the final