New natural formula could extend food shelf life by 1500 per cent
A new patented formula will enable fruits and vegetables to remain fresh for up to 10 weeks. The invention is likely to significantly reduce losses of fresh produce from deterioration that would otherwise result during transportation and storage.
According to a 2013 report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, approximately one third of all food for human consumption in the world is wasted — with one third of that occurring before the food has even reached the market.
The globally patented formula, developed by the Israeli agricultural company Pimi Agro, is based on a unique formulation of Stabilised Hydrogen Peroxide (STHP) and a fungicide that is applied pre- and post-harvest. The product formulations are based on 99.4 per cent STHP, which decomposes into oxygen and water, which the Company said ‘leaves no chemical residue’. The remaining 0.6 per cent of the formula is made up of “all natural and environmentally friendly” active ingredients and additives. There are specific formulations that the company has developed so far for citrus, stone fruit such as peaches and plums, potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes.
Pimi Agro was established in 2004 to capitalise on many years of research by its founders to adopt eco-friendly solutions for pre- and post-harvest treatment of different varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Formula could reduce world hunger
Nimrod Ben-Yehuda, CTO and co-founder of Pimi Agro told Israeli news media that the technology could make a “major dent” in world hunger.
“For places like India, China, and Africa, this is huge, especially because the transportation systems in those areas are slow and refrigeration is hard to come by,” Mr Ben-Yehuda told The Times of Israel. “You could walk from one end of India to the other over a period of 10 weeks, and the vegetables and fruit you carry will still be fresh for the entire time,” he said.
Pimi Agro working with major retailers and manufacturers globally
Mr Ben-Yehuda said Pimi Agro has undertaken ‘extensive’ scientific studies over the past decade, and he said the Company’s method of preserving produce has already been approved in Australia, the US, the UK, Germany and China. US retailers Wal-Mart and SunPacific have also undertaken field tests of the technology, with a view to licensing it for everyday use, according to Mr Ben-Yehuda.