Benefit from our profound expertise in the import of vegetables and fruits.
Here you will find many terminology, technical terms and specifications of our industry explained.
- Best before date (BBD)Far too many food is thrown away. One of the reasons for the dumping is a misunderstanding concerning an indication on food items – the statutory best before date (BBD) or date of minimum durability. Almost the half of the foodstuff discarded due to an expired BBD ends up in the bin unopened. Although this is not necessary – a close look, a smelling, a cautious try are mostly enough to find out whether the food is still edible. The BBD is a quality date not a throw-away date. It has been prescribed by law since 1981 in Germany as aid to orientation for consumers. The correct storage of the products as well as the appropriate transport, for instance from grocery to home, are essential for the durability of food. When properly stored, the products can be eaten or drunk past their BBD in the vast majority of cases. When a food item has reached or exceeded the BBD, the customers can judge themselves if it is still edible. It is recommendable to throw away food showing clear changes in color, texture, smell or taste. Having passed the BBD is the reason for six percent of the discarded food, one third of it are dairy products. As soon as the package is open, the food is exposed to oxygen, moisture and microorganisms. Thus, it faster loses its freshness and durability. Nevertheless, you should always check out whether the food is still edible. On some food items, it is indicated how long they are edible after opening the package. The EU Food Information Regulation lays down how the BBD must be indicated. According to it, the wording “best before…” is mandatory when the date includes the day. The formulation “Best before end” is used for a date without day. The best before date is an indispensable orientation for purchasing or storing processed and packed food products.
- BrixThe BRIX (content) can be read about time and time again in association with tomato products. Not everyone is familiar with what this quality feature means though. “Degrees Brix” is actually a measurement for the relative density of fluids. It is mainly used in fruit and vegetable processing. As the raw products used mainly consist of water and sugar, the approximate sugar content is also specified here with the density. (1% Brix = the same density as 1 g sucrose in 99 g water.)
- Capers calibresThe global demand for capers is approx. 18,000 tonnes. This year about 15% (1,200t) less was harvested in Central Asia (Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan) and just 1/3 of the regular season in Iran. Resulting in approx. 2,000t less being available in these territories and the shortage being most serious with the large calibres. The large sorts are also lacking in Morocco and Syria. About 20% or approx. 3,500 t less in total is expected to be available from the current harvest.
On the other hand, there is still leftover stock from the 2017 harvest, which will probably balance out the quantities.
The closed caper buds are picked by hand in spring and are inedible raw. They are tumbled for a day first and then preserved in brine and vinegar.
This is how the capric acid and glucosinolates develop that give the capers their sharp, tangy flavour. Capers should be closed, olive to blueish green and as small as possible.
Capers are divided into different classes depending on their size in France:
„Nonpareilles“ (4–7 Millimeter)
„Surfines“ (7–8 Millimeter)
„Capucines“ (8–9 Millimeter)
„Capotes“ (9–10 Millimeter)
„Fines“ (12–13 Millimeter)
„Hors calibres“ (13–15 Millimeter)
- Drained weightDrained weight is a frequently used expression in the area of foodstuff production / trading. This expression is defined in the ubiquitous Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.
If a solid foodstuff is contained within a protective liquid, the drained weight also has to be stated. In foodstuffs in jars, the coating material is not included in the stated net weight of the foodstuff.
The following products count as protective liquids, mixed if necessary and also frozen or deep-frozen, in as far as they only play a subordinate role compared to the relevant preparation’s essential components and are not crucial for sales purposes: Water, aqueous saline solutions, brine, edible acids in aqueous solutions; vinegar, aqueous sugar solution, aqueous solutions from other sweetening agents or sweeteners, fruit or vegetable water for fruit and vegetables. (EU regulation 1169/2011 Appendix IX Figure 5)
Protective liquids serve to add flavor, preserve and/or prevent foodstuffs from drying out, among other things.
The total net quantity (net weight) as well as the drained weight must be visible on the product label (according to foodstuff legislation).
Edible oils do not count as protective liquids, meaning that the oil counts as part of the total net quantity for a product in oil. However, the drained weight is also voluntarily given for some foodstuffs as well as the net weight. This is especially true for cans of “tuna in oil”.
Particular attention needs to be paid to the drained weight in the area of wholesale / retail trade as the basic price for items, the disclosure of which is mandatory, refers to this and not to the total net quantity. (PAngV [German Price Indication Ordinance] Art. 2 Para. 3)
- Entry certificatesEntrepreneurs have been obligated since 1 January 2014 to have an entry certificate for every goods export within the EU (so-called intra-Community supply) and to archive this. Recently, the tax offices are placing more and more importance on this and having entry certificates handed out during company audits.
Only if an entry certificate exists with the following components is VAT-exempt billing in the other European country justified and recognised by the tax offices. However, there is not a standard formal regulation for this. You now have the choice of issuing your own entry certificate for every sale or alternatively a collective certificate for sales up to a quarter.
- Fishing methods tunaFor the type of tuna which is predominantly sold by our company and in the whole of Continental Europe, ‘Skipjack’, the main fishing method used is:
Pole and line fishing
As the name suggests, the fish are caught individually using a fishing rod after fish bait has been released from bait boats. The benefit of this method is obvious: there is no “by-catch”. Fish caught in this way is, however, very restricted in terms of quantity and is also correspondingly expensive.
Purse seiner fishing
This is the most popular fishing method at the moment in which fish aggregating devices / FADs are used to attract fish. However, FADs are being increasingly avoided for this fishing method (this is then known as FAD-FREE ware). Paul M. Müller is a member of the “Earth Island Institute” (EII) which has implemented an international monitoring program originally against the use of drift nets. This should prevent so-called by-catch (originally dolphins).
Marine Stewardship Council
This organization was founded in 1997 due to severe overfishing in the oceans. Its primary goal is to protect worldwide fish stocks. Protecting the entire ecosystem (the food chain, other types of fish and birds and by-catch) also takes center stage. Fisheries throughout the world are monitored and certified for this reason. Supply is very limited and correspondingly expensive. Additionally, all companies involved in the trade have to be MSC certified.
- Packaging lawThere is already quite a bit to note in 2018. The new packaging law is replacing the Packaging Ordinance from 1 January 2019. This doesn’t just demand considerably higher recycling quotas but a new single national authority is also going to be established. It is then mandatory for anyone launching a product onto the market, such as manufacturers, retailers or even importers, to be registered with the newly created national authority. These registered initial distributors are published on the Internet. As a result, both private and commercial customers can see whether suppliers or competitors are meeting their legal obligations and participating in a dual system. It goes without saying that registration has to be completed in 2018 to be able to launch packaged goods onto the German market from 1 January 2019. All distributors have to register their quantities with the national authority. The declaration of completeness for 2018 has to already be submitted to the national authority where the dual systems also have to report the quantities. The check will be significantly simplified with this merging of data.
- PineapplesPineapple fruit is basically differentiated by the various varieties first. The most well-known variety best suited for canning and industrial processing for us is the “Smooth Cayenne”. It is mainly grown and processed in Thailand, Indonesia and Kenya and has the most intensive flavour due to its high acid content. Besides this, there’s the “Spanish Queen” from Indonesia too, was well as the “Queen variety” from Vietnam. This variety is mainly used for freezing, is a bright yellow in colour but not as aromatic in taste.
If we concentrate on the “Smooth Cayenne”, we differentiate between the individual qualities “Standard” (our main quality sold in Germany, pale yellow), “Choice” (more yellow because it is more mature in colour and flavour) and “Fancy” (bright yellow and with a high level of natural fruit sweetener). Pineapple slices are sold by ring diameter size: for example, ring size 2 is mainly sold in a 580ml can with 10 slices per can. Only 8 full slices of ring size 1 fit in a 850ml can, as the slices are thicker. Either 14, 16 (the standard number of ring size 2) or 18 pieces are then cut up out of these ring sizes to produce pineapple pieces. Pineapple chunks are also produced out of the slices using a different knife. While standard goods are also produced out of broken slices, only whole slices are used for the production of the better “Tidbits” quality. “Grated pineapple” is also produced out of small whole fruits or more broken pineapple parts, as “waste product”.
Pineapple is also a very popular raw product for the drinks industry worldwide.
- SardinesTinned sardine fillets – the production is very complex and almost exclusively done by hand.
once the fresh sardines (a type of herring) have been supplied to the factories every day, they then undergo a long process to be turned into a tasty delicacy. The fish is packed in salt straight away and transported to the next process stage in plastic containers. The heads are removed, the fish is gutted and sorted by size. It is then rinsed, salted again and stored in barrels to mature at room temperature for several months. The storage time is based on the flavour or eating habits in different countries. Once the barrels are emptied, the fish is washed thoroughly. Some of the skin comes loose during this process, the rest is removed by hand. The rest of the fish is then spun in large drums to remove all the water. The dried fish bodies are then stored again at below 15°C. During the rest of the process, the fish are laboriously filleted by hand and filled into the tins and jars. Approx. 500 mainly female labourers are employed per shift. Each tin and jar is then weighed by hand, the container is topped up with oil, the lid is attached and mechanically sealed. The tin or jar is washed, dried, marked with ink jet, labelled and packed into boxes. They then head for the dispatch department where they are sent to many countries all over the world.
- Use-by DateThe use-by date must be evaluated differently than the best before date. It is indicated on perishable foodstuffs with the words “use by …” and this is meant literally. It is not allowed to sell food which is beyond its use-by date. It actually needs to be discarded. It is thus important not to confuse use-by date and best before date. By contrast to the BBD, the use-by date exactly indicates up to which day the food item is allowed to be used. Easily perishable foodstuffs, for example minced meat or fresh poultry, can be spoiled by germs and can pose a health hazard that the consumer cannot perceive with his own senses. These food products must bear the use-by date. Above that, it is mandatory to comply with the storage regulations and to maintain the cooling chain during the transport from shop to home. Do not consume these products when they are past the use-by date!
The questions posed to consumer advice centers demonstrate that many persons are insecure about the meaning of the BBD – some consumers put the BBD on a level with the use-by date and consider it as “date of decay”. Consumer advice centers have the opinion that all labeling, including the BBD, should be easily understandable for consumers. Frequently, the BBD is hard to find on the products, concealed by labels or hardly legible. Therefore, some consumers notice the short durability of a food item not until after the purchase. The consumer advice centers complain that this misleads the consumers about the quality of the food with regard to the age of the product.