Informe del Comité Científico de la Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AESAN) sobre aquellas frutas y hortalizas que presentan un riesgo de deterioro cuando se presentan para su venta al consumidor a granel

  1. Sonia Marín Sillué
  2. Carlos Alonso Calleja
  3. Pablo Fernández Escámez
  4. Carlos Franco Abuín
  5. Isabel Hernando Hernando
  6. Antonio Valero Díaz
  7. María Isabel Gil Muñoz
Revista del Comité Científico de la AESAN

ISSN: 1885-6586

Year of publication: 2023

Issue: 37

Pages: 89-104

Type: Article

More publications in: Revista del Comité Científico de la AESAN


In recent years, Spanish legislation has promoted the implementation of a circular economy to minimise the negative effects of waste generation and management. Thus, Royal Decree 1055/2022 of 27 December on packaging and packaging waste establishes measures aimed at the prevention of waste, the promotion of bulk food sales, the increase of reusable packaging and the promotion of recycling and marking of products. In particular, Article 7(4) states that food retailers shall take the necessary measures to present fresh fruit and vegetables marketed whole in bulk. This obligation shall not apply to fruit and vegetables packed in lots of 1.5 kg or more, fruit and vegetables packed under a protected or registered variety or bearing an indication of differentiated quality or organic farming, as well as fruit and vegetables that present a risk of spoilage or depletion when sold in bulk. A report has been requested from the Scientific Committee to determine which fruits and vegetables are most at risk of spoilage when presented in bulk for sale to the consumer and the possible food safety risks arising from this. The report identifies mechanical damage, water loss and microbial contamination as the main causes of spoilage in vegetables and mushrooms marketed in bulk. In terms of food safety, increased mechanical damage and risk of cross-contamination by viruses and pathogenic bacteria, which may proliferate during the shelf life of the product, are expected in bulk marketed vegetable and mushroom products. Such contamination may have a greater impact on vegetable products that are consumed raw and unpeeled. Although an advanced stage of maturity leads to a higher susceptibility to mechanical damage, and consequently to microbial spoilage, it is difficult to objectify a risk maturity level to be applied across the board to all vegetables, especially fruits. Cleaning, conditioning and cutting of external parts of vegetables marketed in bulk can lead to an increased likelihood of microbial contamination, as well as increased water loss, so it is recommended to reduce or limit these actions. A non-exhaustive list of the most commonly consumed fruits, vegetables, tubers or mushrooms that may present a risk of perishability or spoilage when sold in bulk is proposed, based on the risk of mechanical damage, water loss and microbial spoilage by pathogenic or spoilage microorganisms, without prejudice that other plant products of less common use at present may, at a later stage, be included in this list. It is concluded that no tubers present a significant risk when sold in bulk. In order to minimise the occurrence of defects in bulk vegetable products it is recommended that good hygienic practices are followed in primary production, storage and distribution of the products and to minimise the post-harvest period. In the retail trade it is also recommended to observe good hygiene practices, to prevent mechanical damage and microbial contamination, and to encourage customers to follow them. In order to reduce the amount of packaging waste, it is recommended that, where possible, the materials necessary to present products in bunches, without the need for additional packaging material, be prioritised. It is recommended that reusable and/or recyclable materials be used in packaging.