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“We must ensure scientific rigour against sensationalism”

Fruit Today interviewed Jorge Bretó, General Manager of Citrosol, to talk about key questions such as food safety, wastage and biological coverings, all of them from the point of view of science

In these difficult times, food safety in fruit and vegetables is a vitally important subject. What is Citrosol’s evaluation?

Without any food safety, the fresh fruit and vegetable sector could not exist and it must always be a priority. For Citrosol, it has been a basic element both in product development and in application systems, which facilitate the work at the critical control points in the warehouses. A good example of this is the Citrocide® system, which allows the hygienic washing of fruit and vegetables. We have made many advances, such as turning the washing machine into a barrier that prevents crossed contamination and manages to recycle the washing water, meaning an increase in the water flow, reaching a 70% saving in water.

Another of the innovations that we have been developing in recent years is the Citrocide® Fresh-Cut System for Pre-prepared foods. We are now seeing a great demand with regard to this fruit and vegetable market.

Another of the concerns is disinfection inside the warehouses. What products does Citrosol have in its portfolio?

A good disinfection is one of the key factors for the successful control of rotting; the reduction in the inoculum levels in the warehouses decreases the likelihood of rotting problems at the destination. We have products for aerial disinfection, disinfection of walls and floors, in addition to specific hydro-alcoholic disinfectants for applying on the preparation lines.

The new reality is going to cross the T’s and dot the I’s on subjects such as food waste. A priori, it is understood that waste only occurs in households, without taking into account all the previous processes the produce is subjected to. What role do Citrosol’s products play on this point?

According to the UN, food waste is responsible for 7% of the global emissions of greenhouse effect gases and almost 30% of the agricultural land in the world is used to produce food that will never be eaten. It is obvious that we are faced with a very serious problem.

Citrosol’s products play an important role in the reduction of this wastage, but this is not their only role. Our application systems, along with our advisory service for post-harvest processes are essential to reduce losses to a minimum along the entire chain.

It is obvious that awareness-raising campaigns for end consumers are needed, but the reduction in dehydration and the level of rotting are reduced with the application of post-harvest solutions that allow the products to remain fresh for longer on the supermarket shelves and in the households.

Recently, several start-ups have appeared in the sector for vegetable coverings that are making a lot of noise with their marketing campaigns, even being sponsored with media stars and alliances with top supermarket chains. These companies are presenting natural coverings that are deemed suspicious by some sources in the sector. What is your evaluation of this point?

It must be said that some of these companies have developed excellent marketing and communication campaigns, presenting their coverings as the solution to losses and food wastage. However, we are in a highly regulated sector, with a deep scientific base; in any event, at CITROSOL we have always been committed to scientific rigour in our communications. The companies that bring value to the food chain have a great social responsibility and we must ensure scientific rigour against media sensationalism.

Coverings with a good control over dehydration are not exclusive to any of these companies. At Citrosol we have offered PLANTSEAL, plant-based coverings, certified as inputs for agricultural farming in Europe, with a high control over dehydration and ageing of fruit, which also allows a suitable exchange of gases, and which, in the case of citrus fruits, also control marks due to Cold Damage.

Citrosol is opting for global solutions that cover all the causes and reduce the shelf life of fruit and vegetables, in this way decreasing losses and food wastage, and not only controlling the dehydration and reducing the oxidation processes over which these companies are drawing more attention.

What are the company’s future plans, both in Spain and outside its borders?

Our aim is to continue growing nationally to increase our market share in the countries where we are already present and to disembark in countries where we have not yet arrived. And obviously, continuing innovation in products such as the line for Ecological Production BIOCARE by Citrosol, to which we have incorporated the PLANTSEAL® coverings. We have also just launched the CI-Control coverings, formulated to manage to reduce, or even eliminate, marks appearing due to cold damage on citrus fruit during long periods in cold storage or extended shipping journeys.

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