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Solving banana waste #2: high-tech option

A UK food freshness technology company is helping combat the issue of banana, and many other fruit and vegetables, waste via a filter system which can prolong the ‘green life’ of bananas.

Industry standards dictate that bananas must stay green during shipment and distribution. If during this stage the fruit turns yellow and starts to ripen, they are thrown away and labelled unsaleable.

On a more domestic scale, many people throw away bananas that have browning skin, even though they are still edible.

This new invention, from It’s Fresh!, could save over 250 million bananas from going to waste every single year, even if only a small number of exporters use the technology, the company suggests.

The filter system recently underwent independent trials in Costa Rica, a major banana exporter, where leading industry expert and post-harvest specialist, Manuel Madrid, led an investigation into its potential to absorb the ethylene that causes bananas to ripen.

His assessment was that the system extended shelf-life and limited ripening in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly manner than other methods.

How does the filter work?

The filter material absorbs ethylene – the ripening hormone – from the bananas’ environment, doubling the ‘green life’ of bananas to an average of 70 days.

It’s Fresh! founder, Simon Lee, says: “Our technology is allowing growers to ship their bananas longer distances to markets they are having difficulty reaching now.

“Our findings enable us to demonstrate the power of this technology, reducing global waste as well as well as helping growers and importers across the world.

“If you want to ship to China or Russia, the extra time it takes creates problems with as much as 20 per cent arriving out of specification. These bananas have to dumped.”

The filters are available in multiple sizes and configurations, depending on the application.

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