Many external and internal factors can reduce the life of dried fruits and nuts, spoil, and pollute them. Food spoilage generally includes three physical, chemical, and biological categories. The spoilage brings undesirable changes in the dried fruit. The factors of spoilage in dried fruit include pests. microorganisms, internal and external factors. Pathogens and spoilage of dried fruit reduce the quality and nutritional value of the product and make it unusable. Furthermore, they change the smell, taste, and flavor of dried fruit.
Physical, chemical, and biological methods prevent spoilage of dried fruit and increase their life. Physical methods include preventing the entry of pests, eliminating pests by irradiation, separating clean from unclean products, not freezing contaminated dried fruit, adding ascorbic acid, immersion in sugar syrup, and so on.
Chemical methods include the removal and killing of pests and microorganisms using chemical methods and organic acids (benzoic acid, propionic acid), sorbic acid, sorbates, nitrites, nitrates, sulfites, metabisulfites, formaldehyde, etc.
Biological methods include the inactivation of the existed enzymes in the dried fruit.
Agents for spoilage in dried fruit
- The environment moisture
One desired growth factor for microorganisms is the presence of moisture in the environment. . The free water in the environment provides better condition for the microorganisms than the water in the foodstuff structure. It also accelerates deterioration.
The optimum temperature for the growth of microorganisms in dried fruit is generally the ambient and higher temperature. Therefore, reducing the temperature during the storage and sale of the product can help increase the shelf life of the product and prevent its spoilage.
- Ambient air composition
The ambient air includes oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, etc. Aerobic microorganisms need oxygen to grow, and the presence of gases can increase their growth and speed up food spoilage. Nitrogen is an inert gas. The percentage of oxygen is reduced or removed and the percentage of nitrogen is added in the packaging of many products. One way to increase product shelf life is to use MAP and CAP packaging technology which is based on changing the ratio of the gases in that food.
Many microorganisms use sunlight to provide energy for their survival, and this is not a good factor for food storage. In addition, some light wavelengths that contain higher amounts of energy, such as UV waves, can change the structure of food and impose a risk to the body’s health.
- Maintenance time
Microorganisms have different growth duration. Therefore, they have different spoilage times according to their reproduction and growth. Any action that can prohibit microorganisms’ growth and reproduction can increase the product’s shelf-life and prevent spoilage.
Percentage of moisture in dried fruit
The fruit consists of two parts, aqueous and non-aqueous or solid parts. The amount of moisture in each fruit is different. The higher the moisture content of the food, the more proper the conditions for the growth of microorganisms. Thus, the rate of spoilage of the food increases. Dried fruit loses a large part of its moisture in the drying step according to its nature. Hence, the lower the moisture content and the drier the fruit, the longer the shelf life of the product.
One of the most important causes of food spoilage is microorganisms. Microorganisms include a wide range of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, mold, yeast, fungi, algae, protozoa, etc. The most important of which are bacteria due to having the highest level of adaptation and multiplication in the environment. One way to fight the spoilage of dried fruits is to prevent entering and multiplying microorganisms in dried fruits. Washing and disinfecting the fruits before entering the drying process, and using physical processes such as irradiating the dried fruit can kill all microorganisms and pests and minimize spoilage.
Natural enzymes found in dried fruit
Enzymes act as catalysts for chemical reactions in dried fruit and speed up the spoilage process. Normally, the natural enzymes in the fruit are in tissues and cell layers that cannot participate in reaction. If the fruit is cut, the enzymes are released and contact with ambient air. Therefore, the rate of spoilage will increase. Deactivating biological enzymes in the fruit is one way to increase the life of the dried fruit.
After cutting, you should dry fruits immediately and prevent from contact with ambient air. Then, you should pack and place the dried fruit away from moisture and air passage.
Other factors of dried fruit spoilage include primary insects and pests that can be produced by fresh fruit in the production process and secondary pests that can contaminate the product in the drying step. . You should wash and disinfect the incoming fruits to dryers thoroughly to prevent it. Natural preservatives can also be used to extend their life.
Healthy and seamless packaging without tearing or breaking plays an important role in preventing contamination and spoilage of dried fruit. Keep the dried fruit in a cool and dry place far away from ambient air to stay healthier.
Foodlord Company observes all the principles of hygiene in the import of raw materials, production, and packaging of the product. Furthermore, the dried fruit produced by this company has a long shelf life. Therefore, you will experience a healthy product
How to detect spoilage in dried fruits?
The following factors involves in spoilage of dried fruit generally when we do not have laboratory equipment:
- Observables signs: obvious mold, liquid secretion, unexpected changes in color
- Bad odor of the product
- The plastic and flexible texture of the product and losing dry and brittle state.
- Taste: losing the taste and flavor and not having the fresh and natural taste of fruit shows that the dried fruit has spoiled and lost its quality.
In addition to the correct conditions and principled production and storage of dried fruit according to the valid standards followed by Foodlord Company until the moment of delivery of the goods, the consumer must take into account the mentioned cases to protect the quality and optimal maintenance of this product to prevent corruption until its expiration date.