It has been more than 10 years since Mantrose-Haeuser Co. Inc. started marketing NatureSeal — a product it developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture — to extend freshness and shelf life in fresh-cut fruit.
The original product, a vitamin and mineral blend intended to prevent browning in cut apples and pears, has since evolved into a line of more than a dozen products that treat a wide range of fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.
Now NatureSeal Inc., a Westport, Conn., subsidiary of Mantrose-Haeuser, is getting ready to launch a new extension of its product line for use with whole product.
Director of marketing Karen Murphy said the antimicrobial wash NatureSeal FS is intended to be an alternative to chlorine.
“People are looking to move away from chlorine because of safety concerns during manufacturing,” she said. “It’s antimicrobial without using harmful chemicals.”
Murphy said that a one to two log reduction was achieved during tests with NatureSeal FS on whole apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, mango, oranges, grapes, pineapples and strawberries.
The product has been in use in the United Kingdom for a year, Murphy said, and has been certified organic in the U.K., France and Belgium. She said the company expects to receive organic certification in the U.S. as well.
Murphy said during a Dec. 15 interview that NatureSeal FS now is being used in U.S. trials on peeled onions, baby carrots, cantaloupe, green grapes, jicama, green peppers, blueberries and fresh herbs, but she declined to name companies testing the product.
“We expect to be selling it commercially in the United States within the next few months,” she said.
Murphy said NatureSeal FS — which will be available as a liquid concentrate and as a dry powder — also is being used on leafy greens.
“There have been a lot of problems with leafy greens,” she said, referring to leafy greens’ involvement in multiple product recalls and outbreaks of food borne illness in recent years. “That’s one area we’re really excited about the potential.”
Murphy said NatureSeal FS could be used to sanitize commodities that will be marketed as whole product or to treat product before it is processed.