CITROSOL’s new system controls the level of the microbial load, reducing water consumption
Fruit Today euromagazine talked to Benito Orihuel, CEO of CITROSOL.
Why did CITROSOL, which is known as highly specialized on technologies and postharvest for citrus fruits, decide to plunge into the pre-prepared and convenience food range?
We have been diversifying for some time now, trying to resolve problems occurring with other fresh fruit and vegetables. In 2010, we examined fresh peppers in depth, with the development of the CITROCIDE® PC P SYSTEM. Following this, in 2013, after years of R&D+i, we managed to introduce the CITROCIDE® PLUS T SYSTEM in tomatoes. We believe that the environmental and potential food safety problems caused by the DBPs (chlorates, chlorites and perchlorates) from chlorine will need to be resolved in the future.
What does the aqUAFRESH project consist of? Does it have an international scope?
aqUAFRESH is intended to improve food safety and reduce water consumption in the fruits and vegetables fresh-cut industry.
It is a European project formed by a consortium in which CITROSOL and KRONEN, a Germany company specialising in machinery for fruit and vegetable processing, are taking part. The CNTA, the National Centre for Technology and Food Safety of Navarra is also attached to the CITROSOL-KRONEN consortium.
It has been funded by Eurostars-Eureka with almost 665,000 euros and the project will take place over two and a half years.
If I am not mistaken, we are reaching the end now. Am I right?
In June, the last of the industrial scale pilot schemes with Vegamayor came to an end. Now we are studying the data from the different microbiological analyses and the DBPs, as well as the data from the control systems of the CITROCIDE® FRESH-CUT SYSTEM and the KRONEN washing machines in order to be able to present the conclusions.
In view of the preliminary results from the industrial pilot scheme, we have observed that the CITROCIDE® FRESH-CUT SYSTEM can control the level of microbial load, significantly reducing water consumption and therefore, the water footprint.
In food safety terms, will this mean greater guarantees and efficiency?
On the one hand, we have managed to characterise the concentrations of CITROCIDE® PLUS and the water refreshments needed in order to keep a tight rein on the microbial load for different types of leaves and vegetables. And on the other hand, we have developed the automatic measuring, controlling and dosing system (CITROCIDE® FRESH-CUT SYSTEM) to guarantee that these concentrations are always suitable, resulting in robust equipment from the food safety point of view and highly efficient in water and CITROCIDE® PLUS consumption.
But are there any limitations to the CITROCIDE® SYSTEMS?
The real limitation of these systems lies in the use of Peroxiacetic Acid (PAA) which, as with any technological coadjutant, requires a certification that guarantees its safety for consumers. Accordingly, CITROSOL has obtained favourable evaluations from the Scientific Committee of AECOSAN (Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition), the top authority on the subject and we are working to extend the safe use of our CITROCIDE® to other fruit and vegetables.