Summary of Awards to Date

Improved method of processing papayas for food safety and quality.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2008 - Aug. 31, 2010

Award Number

HAWK-2008-02440

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$350,000.00

Investigator

R.K. Yonemura, Ph.D.

Summary

Papaya is a major fruit commodity in Hawaii with over 28 million pounds utilized in 2006. 26.6 million pounds of the harvested papaya are used for fresh utilization and 2.3 million pounds for processed utilization. Processed utilization is currently for aseptic puree produced by a single processor. Additional processing of papaya would be valuable because there are an estimated 3.5 million pounds of culls that can be utilized annually. If not processed into puree, there is no income to the farmer and the packinghouse must dispose of the culls by discarding them, giving them away for livestock feed, or selling them in bulk to a broker for local utilization. The purpose of this project is to utilize these culled papayas and produce a consistently high quality, nutritional Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) product with increased food safety and sufficient stability to retain its value during frozen storage. Utilization of papaya culls would greatly benefit the Hawaii papaya industry and improve the economy of the state's rural communities. Successful project completion will result in a sound, proven concept for processing culled papayas into an IFQ product. This will ensure the microbial security of the product, eliminate the need for quarantine treatment, and preserve fruit quality. An IQF product would provide the industry another avenue to the export market rather than having the culls discarded or sold in the local market. This would allow the industry to establish a niche and compete in the $300 million frozen fruit market.