Sometimes seeds still appear in fruit despite efforts to prevent them.
“We do everything we can to be as seedless as possible, but every now and then, there could be a bee that gets through and Mother Nature takes over, but that’s fairly rare,” Owens said.
Schueller calls these occasional seeds “tracer seeds” and said the occurrence is very uncommon.
“I’d say less than 5% would have a tracer seed,” he said.
Schueller compared the occurrence to an occasional black seed in a seedless watermelon variety, and said most consumers are understanding.
Owens agrees that consumers tend to be fairly tolerant of the possibility of finding a seed in an occasional piece of fruit.
Berry said the industry doesn’t have a set standard for how much fruit can have seeds before it is no longer considered seedless.
“It gets down to how you define seedless. Some retailers definition is that it must be less than 10% of the fruit, but that can vary between retailers. Some are more generous and allow 20% or even 30%,” he said.
At that point, it’s a semantics issue, Berry said.
To him, though, seedless should mean that no fruit has seeds, and that’s what most companies strive for.
“Our goal is to be as seedless as possible,” he said.