What about an international standard for bananas?

The international standard to make bananas safer and more attractive. All began to change after the World War II

Musa spp drawing

Hello all and welcome one more time to our BananitaBlog. As you have been able to note in our heading above, I have chosen to write in this post about the real reason why I have so many identical twins.

As bananas we have our own internationally recognized standard.

There are tonnes of guidelines, codes of practice and recommendations for all kind of products.

Surely many of you have heard about the DIN A-4 for paper-sheets or the ISO rules in relation to the industrial processes. But what about a such simple and natural product like me a banana? Do I need to be produced according to international standards?

I absolutely do. Certainly you must have thought about it, otherwise how can we, bananas, bear so much resemblance to one another? It may seem obvious saying that we are only fruit, but there are also farming procedures based on standards that explain this result.

In fact, food standards were stablished from a long time ago.

After World War II the international food trade experienced a huge increase. That is why the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) carried out a lot of discussions until they established the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This codex was created as an international Comission to ensure fair trade practices and protect the health of consumers (Lupien, J.R. (2000) AgBioForum3(4), 192-196).

The Food Code contains among others specific standards for meat, fish, milk, … and Bananas. In the Codex standard for Bananas it is described how we the bananas grow “from Musa spp. (AAA), of the Musaceae family, in the green state, to be supplied fresh to the consumer, after preparation and packaging” must be:Banana cluster

  • Whole, clean, firm, with pistils removed, stalk intact.
  • Practically free of: bruises, malformation or abnormal curvature of the fingers.
  • Free from abnormal external moisture, any foreign smells and/or tastes.

Likewise, the standard graded us for size. A banana caliper is used to measure us. Our main dimensions (length and grade) should be within a range of values.Banana caliper

But the Codex standard for bananas also covers some guidelines concerning our presentation, marking or labelling. That is one of the reasons that you can find us in the supermarket presented in cleanly cut clusters.

Therefore to meet customer´s expectations, the production of food must fit certain criteria.

But we must all know that my perfect shape as a banana is not only a parameter that reflects quality, but also and most importantly a result of standardized working methods in all our farms. In a nutshell: the efforts dedicated to our growth turn us into delicious and beautiful bananas only when procedures are addressed according to the international standards.

How is this translated into our farms? This will be described in other chapters of our BananitaBlog 🙂