apple orchard

Apple growers have hit back at criticism over apple storage techniques after media reports suggested UK supermarkets were “full of bad apples”.

Grower body English Apples & Pears said reports in The Times and Daily Mail last week, which claimed that supermarkets were selling apples that were up to a year old, were “sensationalist and misleading”.

EAP chairman Adrian Barlow said claims in the reports that storage technique SmartFresh - which has enabled the apple industry to significantly extend traditional apple seasons - would affect the quality of apples were unfounded, as was the suggestion that the technique halted the ripening process entirely.

“That’s just rubbish,” he said. “Ripening continues even in storage, but at a slower pace.” He added that most apple varieties were only placed in storage for between three and nine months.

“With storage we can extend the season but only as long as the eating quality is not impaired, and as long as it tastes every bit as good as when the apple was picked,” Barlow said.

“This storage technique is used around the world and has been designed to give a better eating experience for consumers. It means the apples are still fresh months after being picked, and I felt the media coverage did not convey this message.”