Posts Tagged “Tectrol”

In-Transit Issues Part II – Adjusting for Heat from Bagged Pallets

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When hauling the more perishable produce items such as strawberries, knowing your reefer unit, maintaining proper temperature and taking a pulp temperature at shipping point becomes even more critical.  Doing things right results in delivering a better product to your customers, as well as reducing claims and load rejections.

These points are among some important findings in a study released last year, Comparison of Pallet Cover Systems to Maintain Strawberry Fruit Quality During Transport.  As the title indicates, the study compares modified air controlled strawberry shipments using carbon dioxide (CO2).

Following up on that report, had an extensive interview with Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp. of Salinas, whose product Tectrol came out looking pretty darn good when compared with competing companies offering controlled atmosphere bags covering palletized loads of strawberries.

The project was a combined effort of the University of California, Davis and the University of Florida in conjunction with the USDA.

“What this (study) demonstrates is when you put a bag over the pallet, you are going to get some in-transit warming,” Macleod observes.  “It doesn’t matter whether it is a Tectrol (application) or somebody else’s bag because the warming is about the same for all of them.”

Where Tectrol shined in the study was the quality of the berries upon arrival after the cross country hauls from California to the east coast. 

But back to the issue of in-transit warming.  Rich points out when a palletized load is entirely bagged, the driver has to account for warming when adjusting the refrigeration unit set points accordingly at a colder temperature than if the load were “naked.”

He says, “I believe you can run a fully bagged Tectrol load (of strawberries) at 30 degrees F. if your (reefer) unit is well calibrated and your unit was built within the past four years.”

However, realistically Macleod knows most drivers prefer a 36-degree F. setting.  As they become more familar with these type of loads they find out one can drop the setting to 34 or even 32 degrees.

“They (drivers) should not have issues with warmer product, if it is bagged.  And they should not have any issues with frozen product.  There are a number of drivers that have been incredibly successful handling Tectrol loads at 32 degrees F., but they know their units inside out and have them calibrated.  They know what the floors are and the coldest temperatures that unit will be.  Thirty-two degrees is a reasonable compromise.” 

Macleod stressed that even if the fruit has been properly pre-cooled, carriers have to realize those bagged pallets will increase the temperature.

In fact the study itself points out in shipments with non covered pallets, the clamshell packaged strawberries remained at 32 to 35 degrees F.  However, pallets covered with bags resulted in the temperature increase of three to four degrees by the time it arrived at destination.

“The rise in temperature during shipments indicate the trailers were unable to maintain the recommended  32 degrees F….” the study states.  

What can a driver do if the pallets are already covered with CO2 filled bags upon arrival at the dock?

Although it is too late for a visual inspection of what is being loaded by the driver, Macleod says, “a well run (shipping) company should allow the driver to take a pulp temperature and they (shipper) should provide tape to reseal that hole (made by the driver to take the pulp temperature).  It is a common practice and shippers respect that.” 

(This is Part 2 0f 5, featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA.  He has been with company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)



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California Spring Berry Shipments

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While strawberry shipments from Ventura County are in a seasonal decline, berry volume from both the Santa Maria area and the Salinas/Watsonville district are on the rise.

Overall this season, I’ve been disappointed in the quality of California strawberries, both in taste and appearance.  As long as your receiver knows what they are having delivered, then it should reduce your chances of claims or rejections.  Hopefully quality will improve with the transition to northern shipping areas.

Studies have shown if your load has pallets with sealed bags from Tectrol with the CO2 modified atmosphere, you will have berries with better arrivals and extended shelf life.

California has refined growing methods on more than 40,000 acres and have improved yields by 44 percent since 1990, but you can’t control Mother Nature.  About 90 percent of USA grown fresh strawberries are from California.

The Salinas/Watsonville district is easily the state’s most important when it comes to strawberry shipments, with loads amounting to nearly half of California’s production.

During a year, Salinas/Watsonville ships nearly 20,000 truck load equivalents of strawberries, with the Santa Maria district moving  nearly 11,000 truck load equivalents and Southern Californa shipping over 12,000 truck load equivalents.


Although a few  California growers began harvesting and shipping early blueberry varieties last March, the bulk of loadings occur  in May and June, with the season ending by July.

California is now shipping blueberries and all the signs point to good volume and quality.  The Golden state this year is expected to exceed the  1,100 truck load equivalents  of “blues” shipped in 2012.

California is home to 80 blueberry producers and 20 handlers, and  ranks fifth nationally blueberry shipments.

Blueberry volume is light, but seasonally increasing from the southern and central disticts of California.  Raspberries are in light volume from Ventura County.

Salinas strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $7500 to New York City.



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Blueberry Storage Technology is Introduced

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SALINAS, Calif. –TransFRESH Corporation has announced that in partnership with Landec Corporation, its Tectrol® Service Network storage solution for blueberries is now available featuring Landec’s BreatheWay® Technology supplied by Apio, Inc., offering growers and shippers further enhanced storage capability.

The specialized BreatheWay membrane technology delivers bag permeability characteristics that more precisely match blueberry respiration rates for better balanced atmospheres and storage stability.

“We are very pleased to introduce this further enhancement of the Tectrol Service Network storage solution for blueberries,” said Rich Macleod, TransFRESH vice president, pallet division North America. “With an increased interest from growers and shippers in blueberry storage capabilities, the application of the BreatheWay® membrane technology to the Tectrol blueberry storage solution now offers our business partners added storage benefits.”

The TransFRESH Tectrol team collaborated closely with Landec and its wholly owned subsidiary, Apio Inc., throughout the application of the BreatheWay technology to the Tectrol blueberry storage solution program.

TransFRESH also unveiled a pallet bag label for its blueberry program featuring a new contemporary blueberry image along with the TransFRESH logotype and Apio, Inc. BreatheWay® Technology identification and patent number.

About TransFRESH®

TransFRESH® Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands (NYSE: CQB), is a pioneering and established global company, with nearly 50 years of experience in perishables transport. Tectrol® is the trademarked brand name for the TransFRESH® family of proprietary modified and controlled atmosphere systems and processes developed and owned by TransFRESH®. The Tectrol® Service Network™ services, markets and supports the Tectrol Pallet Systems operations and technologies. Since inception, TransFRESH’s innovations in packaging, equipment and sealing processes have established Tectrol® as the industry standard. For more information, visit the TransFRESH website at

About Apio, Inc.

Apio, Inc., founded in 1979 by five growers of celery in the Santa Maria Valley in the central coastal region of California has grown to become the leader in processing and marketing fresh-cut specialty packaged vegetables in the U.S. Headquartered in Guadalupe, California, Apio sells its specialty packaged vegetables in convenient bag and tray formats under the Eat Smart® brand. Apio’s fresh-cut specialty packaged vegetable products are unique in that they utilize the Landec Corporation BreatheWay® proprietary breathable packaging technology to extend the shelf life of specific produce. Landec acquired Apio in 1999. For more information about Apio visit Apio’s website at

 About Landec Corp.

 Landec Corporation is a materials science company that leverages its proprietary polymer technologies, application development and innovation capabilities to develop and commercialize new products in food, agricultural and biomedical markets. Landec’s subsidiary, Apio, has become the leader in US fresh-cut specialty packaged vegetables by combining Landec’s proprietary food packaging technology with the capabilities of a large national food supplier, processor and distributor. Lifecore Biomedical, also a subsidiary of Landec, is a leading supplier of premium hyaluronan-based biomaterials for the ophthalmic and orthopedic markets. Landec’s Licensing Partnerships work closely with market-leading companies to develop and commercialize differentiated polymer-based products. For more information, visit Landec’s website at

News Release:  TransFresh Corporation







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Cantaloupe, Strawberries and Watermelons

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Buying two of my favorite fruits with any good taste has been a real challenge this year — until this week.

Finally had some cantaloupe from Costa Rica that was out of sight!  I know when my cantaloupe is tasting as it should when I don’t have to sprinkle salt on it.

My next pleasant surprise came with California strawberries.  I had began to think I’d just grown tired of eating strawberries, until this week.  What finally hit me was I’d just grown weary of fruit lacking in taste.  You’d cut one open and it there was more white color than red.  This quart of clamshell strawberries also wasn’t detriorating.  Lately it seemed I have to eat the whole quart at once because the next day, the fruit was be going to “crap.”  I’ve had these strawberries at the house three days and they remain firm, tasty, with a beautiful red color — and no decay.

Maybe, they finally realized they should have been shipping it protected by Tectrol, which slows the aging process.

Another one of my favorites are watermelons.  I often find it difficult to buy great tasting melons until around the 4th of July.  You get all the early season stuff out of the way, and warmer, more consistent weather helps produce better watermelons. 

Expect watermelon retail prices to be pretty stiff, especially in the eastern half of the USA.  For various reasons, melon crops have been hit pretty hard and supplies will be much tighter than normal.  Out West, supplies are much better and you may not face as much stick shock.

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Tectrol-Shipped Strawberries Arrive by Truck for Final Quality Check

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After a more than four-day journey on its cross-country haul, the California fresh strawberry load was just being backed  into Andover, MA Market Basket warehouse dock as the sun was rising.

Waiting with a clip board grasped in one hand and a coffee mug in the other was Allen Moczygemba, team leader with TransFresh Corporation’s Tectrol Service Network and the designated rep responsible for


Allen Moczygemba, Tectrol Service Network rep, inspects strawberry load and takes atmosphere readings using sensor probe.


conducting the final Tectrol® quality check before its Tectrol-sealed pallets could be opened and clamshells distributed to the New England chain of supermarkets and superstores in time for the Mother’s Day rush.

Behind the scenes, Mike Maguire, Market Basket’s vice president for perishables, awaited the TransFresh quality assurance report, well aware of the time and the dozens of equally important tasks facing him that day.

 This scene is one that is repeated hundreds of times across the country throughout the long strawberry season as members of the Tectrol Service Network seamlessly and vigilantly troubleshoot the proper application and performance of the proprietary Tectrol Atmosphere freshness solution for strawberries.  Carefully monitoring and measuring everything from the proper sealing of the Tectrol® pallet bags to the levels of CO2 and O2 inside, Tectrol Service Network inspectors also observe truck temperature settings, strawberry pulp temperatures and even truck loading patterns (away from truck walls is preferred for more even pulp temperatures due to optimal refrigeration air flows).  In short, the Tectrolservice reps are “on the case” to help make certain that the Tectrol Atmosphere systems are properly in place and performing at desired levels to help assure strawberry quality throughout the growing seasons.


Mike Maguire (left), Vice President of Perishables for Market Basket, reviews Tectrol data with Allen Moczygemba, Tectrol Service Network rep.


According to  Moczygemba, the early morning hours at receiving warehouses are tough but worth it.  “Because the Tectrol Service Network may ensure the recommended 10% or higher CO2 levels that are proven to limit strawberry decay, we’re more than willing to monitor every step of the process if it means better berries and more benefits for our growers-shippers, the retail customer and their consumers.” 

Tectrol Service Network Quality Checklist At-A-Glance

Shipping Point Audits

  • Routine spot inspections of all Tectrol® application processes
  • Routine confirmation of Tectrol® atmosphere pre shipment levels
  • Routine equipment inspections operational efficiency 
  • Continuous monitoring and on-site training ofservicepersonnel
  • 24/7 certified technical support

Distribution Service Audits

  • Routine spot inspections at receiving points to ensure Tectrol® performance
  • Verification of Tectrol® application and pallet bag seal integrity
  • Measurement of atmospheric readings to ensure accuracy
  • Network-wide updates within 12 hours
  • Process improvements that are immediate and ongoing

Online Reporting

  • Convenient online customer access to detailed reporting



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RPCs Work with the Tectrol® Modified Atmosphere Packaging System

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 Equipment Modifications Announced by TransFRESH Now Make Tectrol Available to Strawberry Shippers Who Employ Reusable Plastic Containers

SALINAS, CA May 16, 2012 TransFRESH Corporation has announced that palletized Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) used by a select number of growers and shippers in the berry industry now work seamlessly with the company’s proprietary Tectrol® Modified Atmosphere system due to innovative equipment modifications made by the TransFRESH team.


 TransFresh squeeze completes the cycle of inserting the bottom seal on a pallet that is now ready for the Tectrol bag and seal.


 “We’ve implemented certain adjustments that make our equipment RPC Capablefor shippers who use RPCs as part of their box or carton mix,” according to Rich Macleod, vice president, TransFRESH Pallet Division North America. This makes it possible for berry growers, shippers and retailers to take advantage of the benefits of Tectrol® regardless of the package method.

Previously, growers and shippers using RPCs experienced a more complicated process that involved placing the bottom seal on the pallet in the field. However, with the new modifications, it’s now possible to run RPC pallet units on the company’s automated equipment provided at the coolers, ensuring the ease and integrity of the sealing process.

The goal of our Tectrol Service Network is to remain ahead of the curve in terms of marketplace and customer demands,” said Macleod. “We realized that with some adjustments and retooling, we would be able to ensure a viable seal on all sides of the RPCs, making it possible for shippers who provide Tectrol® to readily apply our technologies with RPC palletization.”

 Studies have shown that Tectrol’s high CO2 (carbon dioxide) modified atmosphere may reduce decay and thereby protect the quality of fresh strawberries throughout the distribution process. Berries shipped using the Tectrol Modified Atmosphere Packaging System are shown in university, USDA and private studies to deliver strawberries with less decay.


About TransFRESH® TransFRESH Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands (NYSE: CQB), is a pioneering and established global company, with nearly 50 years of experience in perishables transport. Tectrol ® is the trademarked brand name for the TransFRESH® family of proprietary modified and controlled atmosphere systems and processes developed and owned by TransFRESH®. The Tectrol® Service Network™ services, markets and supports the Tectrol Pallet Systems operations and technologies. Since inception, TransFRESH’s innovations in packaging, equipment and sealing processes have established Tectrol® as the industry standard.

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