Victoria Namutebi Wamala.
The Avocado; A green/dark brown, pear shaped fruit containing only one seed.
Given its health benefits, Avocado is one of the favorite fruits in Ugandan homes and markets.
But did you know that it has a standard?
The Uganda Standard (US EAS 19:2017) specifies requirements, sampling and test methods for Fresh Avocado to be supplied fresh to the consumer.
Developed in June 2017, the standard was set to guide farmers who grow Avocados for not only home consumption but also commercial use, majorly export.
The minimum quality requirements stipulated in the Avocado standard state that fresh Avocado supplied to the customer should be;
- Mature green, brownish or black in colour
- Whole, Sound and Clean
- Free of pests that affect appearance
- Free of damage caused by pests
- Free of bruises
- Free of foreign smell or taste
- Free of abnormal external moisture
- Free of bitter taste or fibres
- Should possess a 10mm clean cut stalk if present or be dry and intact at the place of stalk attachment
The standard DOES NOT allow the farmer to;
- Harvest immature fruit with low firmness
- Harvest during wet weather as fruits are more susceptible to skin damage and fungal infection
- Harvest during extremely hot weather (above 30oC)
- Harvest during or soon after rain
- Shake or use sticks to pluck fruits from the tree
- Mix fruits with different shapes and colour
- Mix fruits without defects with those of different extents of defects
In addition to the requirements of the labeling of pre-packaged foods (US EAS 38:2014), the following specific provisions shall be legibly and indelibly labelled on each package;
- Name and physical address of the importer/packer/distributor
- Name of the produce as “Fresh avocados”
- Name of the variety or commercial type
- Country of origin
- Net weight in kilograms
- Size code
- Identification code and/or batch number and storage instructions.
The standard issues more guidelines in regards to storage, classification and packaging.
The good news is that you can buy the standard online at UGX 30,000 without having to incur transport costs for visiting UNBS offices.
This can be done via https://webstore.unbs.go.ug
Or else, you can walk to the UNBS Headquarters at Bweyogerere Industrial Park and buy the standards physically from the UNBS Information Resource Center.
The writer is a Public Relations Officer at Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).