ICA, the University of Greenwich (in association with the Produce Quality Centre at East Malling), AC Goatham and Son, Sainsbury’s and Norman Collett Ltd have agreement for a three year project called SafePod starting in the autumn.

ICA’s SafePod is a dynamic controlled atmospshere (CA) system which makes regular checks on the fruit condition in a small enclosure that contains about 60 kilograms of fruit in a storage room, through the analysis of enclosed samples exposed to a more extreme regime of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, thus providing a safety threshold for the whole store.

Initial trials with AC Goatham and Son have established that the SafePod works well in constantly measuring the respiratory quotient in six CA rooms, checking that the lower than normal oxygen in the rooms remains safe and ensuring the fruit leaving store is of good quality.

This research funding will see the full scale trialling and further development of the SafePod system for UK fruit and growing conditions and determine how best this new technology can be implemented to benefit the UK fruit storage industry.