Pg. 26-29Quality Standards in Litchi Packinghouses: Packinghouse Sanitation

Improving quality standards is inevitable if the South African Litchi industry is to conform to increasingly stringent regulations on export fruit. In order to consistently meet these export standards, weak links in the handling and marketing chain, which result in partial or total fruit quality loss, should be addressed. Sanitation levels in packinghouses were assessed at various points including crates, the pH dump tank, in air under dryers, the off-loading area, on brush and sorting rollers, on sorting and packing conveyer belts, and in air surrounding the packing line. Bacteria, yeasts and filamentous fungi were isolated and enumerated on both non-selective and selective growth media. Total microbial counts ranged from log 1.31 cfu t’ in packinghouse air to log 3.41 cfu cm2 on brush rollers. The microbial populations of packinghouses included a number of genera associated with litchi diseases. This research supports the need for an improvement of quality standards in the litchi industry.

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