Pineapple core rot caused by poor temperature control: COA

04/06/2021 09:28 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, April 6 (CNA) Pineapple core rot recently reported among exports of the fruit to Singapore and Japan has been caused by poor temperature control in the supply chain and the government has introduced measures to prevent it from happening again, Council of Agriculture (COA) chief Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said Tuesday.

The council has reached out to consumers in Singapore and Japan, and has contacted Taiwanese businesses and nationals abroad, to assure them that overseas buyers will be given fresh pineapples if they have purchased fruit with core rot, Chen told reporters during a conference call.

Chen's deputy, Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季), added that the council has met with pineapple growers, packagers and traders to remind them that temperatures during the export process should be kept between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius, ideally at 13 degrees.

The council has also asked Taiwanese suppliers to send personnel to overseas markets to check temperature management by foreign importers and sellers of pineapples from Taiwan, Chen Junne-jih noted.

The Taiwanese suppliers should also provide fresh pineapples as replacements if problems are found in their exports, he added.

NTUC FairPrice, a supermarket chain in Singapore, said Saturday that it had removed all Taiwanese pineapples from its store shelves following complaints by consumers of core rot in the fruit.

According to Lin Chih-hung (林志鴻), deputy head of the COA's Department of International Affairs, there were similar problems when Taiwan first started to export pineapples to China, which were addressed after better temperature management was implemented.

Since China's ban on imports of Taiwanese pineapples in late February, Taiwan has instead been exporting more of the fruit to Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to the COA.

Between March 1 and April 5, pineapple exports to Japan hit 2,906 metric tons, up from 624 metric tons during the same period of last year, while pineapple shipments to Singapore rose to 231 metric tons from 148 metric tons a year earlier, COA data showed.

Exports to Hong Kong, meanwhile, jumped to 2,289 metric tons from 122 metric tons a year earlier, according to the COA data. The core rot probably occurred because the Taiwanese suppliers failed to inform their new overseas buyers about the importance of temperature management, Lin said.

Since there have been no problems reported among exports to Hong Kong, which only take two days for shipping and Customs clearance, the longer time to clear exports to Japan and Singapore -- seven days -- could be another reason for the rot, according to the COA.

(By Yang Shu-min and Kay Liu)


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