Zerya® forms part of the LIFE+ Zero Residues (ZR) Project, a consortium that is researching to produce, conserve and market sustainable, pesticide residues-free stone fruit.
The methodology includes adaptations in the fruit processing, the post-harvest conservation, the preparation of derived products and the promotion on the market.
The pre-harvest is based on a holistic strategy where the health of the soil and the vegetable nutrition are carefully monitored to maximise the varietal expression of resistances and use fewer treatments, which promote the appearance of beneficial insects and allow the plant-protection interventions to be minimised.
In the first place, within the framework of the post-harvest techniques the respiratory rates of the fruit being studied are measured. The fruit is then presented on trays wrapped in special materials designed to control the atmosphere inside the wrapping using laser-made micro perforations. In this way, the number of perforations in the plastic films used for packaging is optimised.
Furthermore, from harvesting to marketing, the sensorial, physical-chemical and microbiological parameters are monitored.
ZW fruit which, due to their appearance, are not sold fresh are processed as pulp for preparing baby food. The ZW guarantee is an aspect that is highly valued by baby food manufacturers, given the quality requirements demanded of the raw material.
To conclude, Javier Arizmendi, operations manager at Zerya®, specifies that “it is a tangible reality that supermarkets are becoming more and more rigorous with their suppliers and many of them set the MRLs below the regulated amounts”. This is confirmed by the analysis of the pesticide residues in foods; even some specialised laboratories include the residues levels that are accepted by certain retail chains in their reports.
The Life+ Zero Residues project is co-funded by the European Commission’s Life+ programme and it is aimed at improving the sustainability and quality of stone fruit production to create a more competitive and healthier sector.