Grapes (Imported – Table and Juice)

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Method of Inspection

Import Exemptions: Grape must or slurry are trade terms referring to grapes that are partially processed through augering and/or the addition of SO2. The product is usually cooled, then shipped in tanker cars or in containers. These semi-processed grapes are not considered produce and are exempt from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations.

Temperatures: Should be taken at various locations throughout the load. If possible, temperatures should be taken at the top and bottom near the doorway halfway to the bunkers and next to the ends of the car.

Packages: Wet, stained or otherwise damaged packages should be described as accurately as possible, giving the amount of damage and the location in the load.

Stained or leaking packages are generally an indication of heavy decay or otherwise damaged stock somewhere in the load. The amount of staining and leaking should be shown on the certificate under the heading "Condition of car, load and packages".

Example:

  • some lugs leaking slightly from crushed berries remainder clean and dry.
  • lugs badly stained and wet from leaking decayed stock.
  • many lugs and floor beneath wet from leaking decayed stock.

Labelling

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for information on Labelling Requirements for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, including grapes.

Sampling

A sample should consist of the contents of a complete lug, as it would be impossible to accurately assess shattering or shattered berries with only a portion of a lug as a sample.

Samples should be selected from all areas of the car, as excessive shattering and decay may be found in upper layers, especially over the wheels.

Care should be taken in removing bunches from containers for examination. Careless or rough handling by the inspector could result in a false assessment of the amount of shattered berries.

Determining Percentages

All percentages of defects used in reporting grapes are calculated by weight. The weight of each sample should be entered on the detail sheet in pounds or tenths of a pound. Since it is not practical to weigh all samples or defects, the inspector must learn to estimate weights by using the number of berries required to weigh one-tenth of a pound for the variety being examined.

Defects should be entered on the detail sheet by count and a conversion made of the totals into pounds or tenths of a pound.

Example:

Weight Inspected = 28 pounds
Weight Inspected = 28 pounds
Weight Inspected = 28 pounds
Weight Inspected = 28 pounds
Weight Inspected = 28 pounds
Total weight inspected = 140 pounds

Number Decayed Berries = 14
Number Decayed Berries = 17
Number Decayed Berries = 10
Number Decayed Berries = 3
Number Decayed Berries = 4
Total decayed berries = 48

Conversion factor 16 berries = 1/10 lb.
48 berries = 3/10 lb.
Percentage decay is 3/10 divided by 140
3/10 × 1/140 × 100 = 30/140 = .2%

This would be reported on the certificate as "Less than ½ of 1% decay".

Percentages of other defects would be recorded and reported in the same manner.

Reporting Decay in Table Grapes

The following are some examples for scoring decay on table grapes:

If the percentage of decay in all lugs sampled is less than 1%, the wording will be as follows:

  • In a few lugs, no evidence of decay, in some lugs 1 to 4 decayed berries; average less than ½% decay.

If the percentage of decay in one or more lugs sampled is more than 1%, the wording will be as follows:

  • In most lugs from 1% to 3% decay, in some lugs 1 to 4 berries and in a few lugs no evidence of decay; average 1% decay.

If the percentage of decay in all lugs sampled is more than 1%, the wording will be as follows:

  • Decay: average 3% ranging from 1% to 5%.

Sampling of Juice Grapes

The 5 lb. (2.23 kg) sample will be used in sampling juice grapes.

To be as objective as possible in the procedure, prior to opening the lugs chosen as being representative of the lot, the inspector should divide the lug into four (4) quarters. He/she should then decide from which quarter he/she will select a 5 lb. (2.23 kg) sample and use the same quarter of the lug for all remaining samples.

If it is evident, after opening the lug, that decay averages over 5%, the inspector may estimate the percentage decay using 5% intervals, i.e., 10%, 15%, 20%, etc. All estimates must be based on the contents of the entire lug.

When decay is believed to be 5% or less in an individual lug, the 5 lb. (2.23 kg) sample taken from the preselected quarter of the lug should be used and exact percentages reported.

A simple condition statement when both high and low incidences of decay are found in a single lot would be as follows:

  • Average approximately 16% decay, ranging from 3% to approximately 25%.

Defects should be entered on the detail sheet by count and a conversion made of the totals into pounds or tenths of a pound.

Example:

Weight Inspected = 5 pounds
Weight Inspected = 5 pounds
Weight Inspected = 5 pounds
Weight Inspected = 5 pounds
Weight Inspected = 5 pounds
Total weight inspected = 25 pounds

Number Decayed Berries = 14
Number Decayed Berries = 17
Number Decayed Berries = 10
Number Decayed Berries = 3
Number Decayed Berries = 4
Total decayed berries = 48

Conversion factor
16 berries = 1/10 lb.

48 berries = 3/10 lb.
Percentage decay is 3/10 divided by 25
3/10 × 1/25 × 100
30/25 = 1.2%

This would be reported on the certificate as 1% decay. Frequent checks with a scale or some other method is necessary to ensure accuracy in estimating. Care should be taken not to overestimate the weight of dried, shot or raisined berries which require a large number to make up any appreciable percentage. There are over twice as may raisining berries to a pound. There are over four times as many raisined berries to a pound. Do not score wilted berries as raisining.

The following table is provided only as a guide to show the average number of berries required to weight one-tenth of a pound. The inspector should check to see if it is applicable in each case.

Show the Key which is being used on the detail sheet
e.g., Key 180 berries = 1 pound

Variety Size of berries Number per 1/10 pound
Emperor Small
Medium
Large
Shotberies
15 or more
10 to 14
9 or less
39
Tokays Small
Medium
Large
12 or more
9 to 11
8 or less
Ribier /
Cardinal
Small
Medium
Large
11 or more
8 or 10
7 or less
Thompsons Small
Medium
Large
Very Large
20 or more
10 to 20
5 to 10
5 or less
Muscat Fresh Berries 8 to 10
Alicante, Zinfandels, Carignane, Grenache Fresh Berries Medium 16 to 18
16 to 20
16 to 20
25 to 32

Condition Defects

The following factors should be reported under the condition heading:

  • Condition of stems
  • Condition of berries
  • Shattered berries
  • Raisining and Raisined berries
  • Freezing injury
  • Mould
  • Crushed berries
  • Shrivelling
  • Wet berries
  • Decay

Condition of Stems: A description of the condition of the stems should be given for table grapes. These may be described as yellow, yellowish green, green, turning brown, brown, dark brown or black, dry and pliable, dry and brittle, mouldy, whichever describes the condition.

Condition of Berries: The condition of berries should be described by using the following terms:

Firm: Describes berries that have not had more than a slight change in the plump condition due to a slight loss of moisture. Table grape grades require that the grapes are firm.

Slightly Soft and Rubbery: The berries have lost some of their turgidity and are rubbery to touch.

Soft: In table grape grades soft refers to grapes which do not meet the requirements of firm.

Wilted: This condition is generally found in juice grapes. The berries have lost their plumpness and turgidity without any appreciable loss of juice. The skin is pliable and may show fine wrinkling. This is the stage before raisining. Wilted and rubbery berries are not considered as defects in juice grapes.

Colour of Berries: Amber or ambering colour on green varieties of grapes is not considered as a defect. The changing colour from green to ambering and amber is part of the maturing process of green grapes. For example, amber grapes are considered mature green grapes. The colour of green grapes must be reported in general terms on the certificate as part of the maturity statement, then it will be up to the receiver or the shipper to determine if colour is part of the claim or not. Remember brown berries are scoreable.

Shattered Berries: These are berries that have separated from the bunch and will remain in the bottom of the lug after bunches have been carefully removed.

Shattering: Berries which are not firmly attached will become loose and separate from the capstem if agitated.

  • Describe as berries are firmly attached, berries shatter readily or berries shatter slightly if such is the case.

Raisining and Raisined Berries: These are both considered as defects in Table grapes as this grade requires the berries to be firm. There is a special tolerance for the amount of raisining or raisined berries allowed in No. 1 Juice grade.

Raisining: Describes the normal curing process of the grape which produces the true raisin. The sugar content is generally comparatively high at this point and the berry develops the deep wrinkled appearance of the raisin. There is still sufficient juice to drop from the berry when it is squeezed between the thumb and finger. Care should be taken not to score as raisining grapes which are only wilted. Wilted grapes show fine wrinkling compared to the deep wrinkling characteristic of raisining.

Raisined: Describes berries which have reached the advanced stage of the curing process. Juice does not drip from the berry when pressure is applied by thumb and finger and it shows the characteristics of the commercial raisin. U.S. No. 1 Juice grade allows a 15% tolerance for raisining and raisined berries but not exceeding 5% raisined berries. If the combined total of raisining and raisined berries does not exceed 5%, it may be combined on the certificate and shown as one percentage.

  • Example: Average 4% raisining and raisined berries.

However, if combined total exceeds 5%, then raisined and the raisining must be reported separately.

  • Example: Average 7% raisining, range 4% to 12%, average 3% raisined berries.

Freezing Injury: Grape berries which have been injured by freezing usually lose their crispness and have a dull, wilted, flabby appearance. The pulp is watery and when plucked from the capstem the brush has less pulp adhering to it than normal.

Mould: Mould on grape berries is generally an indication of decay – may be only in early stages. It is desirable to show on the certificate the severity and type of mould. At times mould may not be associated with decay and may be confined to the stems. If mould is mentioned be sure to say where it is located.

Crushed Berries: Berries which have the skin broken will be scored as crushed berries. If in addition to this they are wet, this should also be reported.

  • Example: Crushed and leaking berries average 2% and are generally adjacent to lids.

Berries which are flattened due to a well filled pack and do not have the skin broken should not be scored as crushed berries.

Shrivelling: Grapes from storage late in the season sometimes show a shrivelling around the capstem. This is considered a defect in No. 1 Table grapes, when the skin is definitely wrinkled adjacent to the capstem and the surface is sunken.

Wet Berries: At destination wet berries are only those that are wet from leaking juice from any cause. Grapes which are only wet from condensation should not be reported or scored as defects.

Decay: A small amount of decay in Table grapes affects their market value considerably. Whereas in Juice grapes, a small amount of mouldy berries does not appear to affect their marketability.

Decay should be mentioned on the certificate whether or not it is present in samples examined. When no decay is present, the statement no decay in evidence should be included under the condition heading.

Decay which is heavy, or which is nested, or in which the berries are matted together and leaking would be most difficult and impractical to try to assess the exact percentage. In such cases only it will be in order to estimate the amount of decay to the nearest multiple of 5. This should be entered on the detail sheet and the average reported to the nearest 5%.

Example: Estimated Decay

25 + 30 + 50+ 75 + 25 = 205 / 5 = 41% average

Report as:

Decay averages approximately 40% and ranges in lugs from approximately 25% to approximately 75% and is generally nested and accompanied by heavy mould. This type of estimating and reporting is to be used only when it is impractical or impossible to count the affected berries.

Before proceeding with this type of inspection, the inspector must first obtain permission from his supervisor.

Black Widow Spiders: Black widow spiders can be found in grapes. Though there are no recorded deaths from black widow bites in Canada, their bite can cause severe reaction. While doing an inspection, if black widow spiders are found, immediately detain the lot under Section 3.1(1)(d) of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Regulations for harbouring potential harmful pests. The inspector then must give three options to the responsible party:

  • fumigate the grapes;
  • dump the load; or
  • export the load out of the country.

This action is taken under our health safety mandate.

Insect Larva Infestation: If maggots are noted in any lot of grapes, this should appear on the certificate.

Advise supervisor immediately who will notify the local health authority.

  • Example: Live larvae noted in nearly all lugs.

Note: Defects such as decay, raisining, raisined berries, mouldy stems, shattered berries and most defects which affect grade must always be shown as a percentage.

General terms may be used to describe such things as: attachment to stems, condition of stems, etc., and may be used to complement a scoreable defect.

  • Example: most bunches show berries firmly attached, some shatter slightly, average 4% shattered berries.

Permanent Defects

The following defects are considered permanent factors and should be included on the certificate under the appropriate grade heading, only when specifically requested by the applicant.

When inspection is requested for specific permanent factors, the inspector must contact their supervisor who will review the appropriate U.S. grade standard with the inspector and outline the steps to be taken.

  • Development – size of berries
  • Maturity
  • Appearance
  • Colour
  • Compactness and filling of bunches
  • Defects such as scars, discolouration, sunburn, shot berries or other unchangeable factors

Certificates and inspections will never be restricted to Permanent and Condition Defects. Practically all certificates will be requested for condition factors and in such cases Permanent Defects should not be included on the certificate. It is necessary to include the statement Inspection requested for and certificate restricted to Condition only under the heading Certification on the certificate.

Minimum Berry Size on Table Grapes

Size of Berries: Sales are frequently based on the size of berries and wholesalers can request an inspection for the size of berries. For this reason, inspectors are cautioned to use care in reporting this factor. The following table describes berry sizes for the USDA standard.

Variety Small
(Smaller Than)
Medium Large
(More Than)
Emperor, Malaga Red Malaga, Tokay and Almeria 11/16 in.
17.5 mm
11/16 to 13/16 in.
17.5 to 20.6 mm
13/16 in.
20.6 mm
Ribier and Cardinal 12/16 in.
19 mm
12/16 to 14/16 in.
19 to 22.2 mm
14/16 in.
22.3 mm
Thompson Seedless and Similar Varieties 10/16 in.
15.9 mm
10/16 to 12/16 in.
15.9 to 19 mm
12/16 in.
19 mm
Alicante Bouschet, Zinfandel and Carignane 9/16 inch
14.3 mm
9/16 to 11/16 inch
14.3 to 17.5 mm
11/16 inch
17.5 mm

Minimum Berry Size

Table Grapes

Each of the U.S. table grape and U.S. export grades require that each bunch have a minimum percentage of berries of a specific minimum diameter. They are as follows:

U.S. Extra Fancy Table and U.S. Extra Fancy Export

At least 90% of the berries on each bunch shall be at least 11/16 of an inch (17.5 mm) in diameter except: Ribier, Exotic, Queen, Italia Muscat, Cardinal, and Robin and other similar varieties shall be at least 13/16 of an inch (20.6 mm).

U.S. Fancy Table and U.S. Fancy Export

At least 90% of the berries on each bunch shall be at least 10/16 of an inch (15.9 mm) in diameter except: Ribier, Exotic, Queen, Italia Muscat, Cardinal, Robin and other similar varieties shall be at least 12/16 of an inch (19 mm) in diameter, and Thompson Seedless, Delight, Perlette and Beauty Seedless and other seedless varieties shall have at least 75% of the berries on each bunch having a minimum diameter of at least 10/16 of an inch (15.9 mm).

U.S. No. 1 Table

At least 75% of the berries on each bunch shall be at least 10/16 of an inch (15.9 mm) in diameter except: Thompson Seedless, Beauty Seedless, Delight, Perlette and other seedless varieties shall be at least 9/16 of an inch (14.3 mm) in diameter.

An example of how to score berry size on table grapes follows.

Basically, this type of inspection is done in two steps. For the purpose of the explanation, a load of U.S. No. 1 Table Flame seedless grapes will be used.

First Step

The requirement says that at least 75% of the berries on each bunch shall be at least 9/16 of an inch (14.3 mm).

To verify if the bunch meets the requirement, the inspector shall:

  • Count the total number of berries found on the bunch regardless of the size of the berries, then
  • He or she shall count the number of berries that fail the size requirement. If the percentage of berries failing the size requirement is higher than the percentage required, then that bunch is scoreable.

Example: U.S. No. 1 Table Flame Seedless

  • The inspector has to count 100 berries on a bunch regardless of the size of the berries.
  • He or she then has to count the number of berries failing the 9/16 of an inch (14.3 mm) size requirement.

If there are more than 25 berries failing the 9/16 of an inch (14.3 mm) size, then the bunch is scoreable.

Second Step

The inspector shall calculate the percentage based on the weight of the scoreable bunches against the total weight of bunches found in the lug. For example, if 2 bunches were found scoreable and their weight is one pound (454 g) and if the weight of the lug is 23 pounds (10.44 kg), then the percentage will be (1/23 × 100%) 4.35% or 4% (0.454 – 10.44 × 100% = 4.35%).

How to report Scoreable Bunches on the Certificates

The inspector should report the percentage of bunches failing the size requirement. So, to report the example on the certificate, it will be reported as average 4% of bunches failing to meet the berry size requirement.

Examples of Condition Statements for Table Grapes

Example 1: Most stems are turning brown and dry and pliable, average 6% of bunches show black spindly stems. Berries are generally firm and firmly attached, average 2% shattered berries. Decay averages 2%, range Nil to 5%.

Example 2: Stems are mostly light green, some turning brown and pliable. Berries are generally firm, a few fairly firm with the occasional soft berry noted. Berries shatter slightly, shattered berries average 8% ranging from Nil to 15%. Decay average 8% ranging from 5% to 12%. Average 15% of berries are wet and sticky with juice from shattered or decayed berries.

Example 3: Stems are generally light green and pliable. Berries are firmly attached and are generally firm, a few slightly soft. An occasional loose berry noted in most lugs. Average 3% decayed berries.

Example 4: Stems mostly turning brown, some dry and pliable. Berries are generally firm and firmly attached. In most lugs no decay, in some lugs 1 to 3 decayed berries.

Examples of Condition Statements for Juice Grapes

Example 1: Stems mostly wilted, some fresh. Berries are mostly firm and firmly attached. Average 15% raisining, range 10% to 20%. Average 3% raisined berries. Average 1% decay ranging from less than ½ of 1% to 6%.

Example 2: Stems mostly turning brown to brown, a few dark brown, some dry and brittle. Berries free of decay are generally firm, 3% slightly soft, rubbery and wrinkled. Berries are mostly firmly attached, some shatter readily, shattered berries average 5%, range 3% to 10%. Average 5% of bunches show mouldy stems. Decay averages 10% range 3% to 20% and is generally nested and accompanied by mould.

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