International Produce Training

Onion- New Root Growth

In a previous post I explained how visible sprouts are scored when seen on onions.  But what is the scoring guideline for new roots, growing from the base or root end of an onion?

The scoring guideline when inspecting northern and southern onions is the same.  From the U.S. Grade Standard, score as a defect when most roots on an individual onion have grown to a length of 1 inch or more.  Sounds simple enough, but if you really read and interpret what is stated, the guideline may not be so simple after all.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios;  If you open a sack of onions and find most of the onions with new root growth, but none of the roots are longer than 1 inch,  maybe they all range from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in length, none of the onions are scored as a defect.

One more scenario……if you find an onion with 30 new roots, and 12 of the new roots are
3 inches in length and the other 18 new roots are 7/8 of an inch in length…..not a defect, while another onion in the same container has an onion with 3 new roots growing and 2 (66% of the roots) of the roots are 1-1/4 inches in length, then that onion is scored as a defect.  Which one of those onions would you rather purchase?

So, you can see why so many companies develop their own product specifications because many of the scoring guidelines stated by the USDA or U.S. Grade Standards simply do not make sense.

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