15 September 2000

Dutch extend shelf-life

CONSDUMERS in Holland are buying potatoes with longer shelf-life and more reliable quality thanks to modified atmosphere pre-packs.

The technique, developed by the University of Wageningens Agro-technical Research Institute, prevents potatoes going off by sealing them in a bag with a mix of gases.

Senior scientist Arnold Braaksma will not reveal what makes up the mix, but says the respiration of the potato is balanced with the properties of the packaging to provide a constant environment in the bag.

Indicators on the packaging show if the atmosphere is changing, so that the retailer, or the consumer, gets an early warning of the potatoes going off.

At present, only 1kg packs are available, at about 70p/each.