Onion quality control app with AI powered quality control: 

Improve Onion quality through better controls. 

Reduce quality control costs. Eliminate waste, price negotiations, and QC mistakes. Maximize quality consistency.

Onion quality control app with AI powered quality control:  AI powered Onion Quality control app for reduced waste, rapid quality controls saves time and increases quality control consistency.

Farmsoft quality control app for fresh produce fruit & vegetable, seeds, meat, seafood, coffee, herbs, chili quality control & quality management, compliance and QMS. 
Features below require Farmsoft Fresh Produce, Food Service, Meat Packing

AI powered Onion quality control 

Optionally use FarmsoftQC AI powered quality control:  take a photo of the fruit and let FarmsoftQC fill out the control for you.  Fast, consistent, accurate AI powered Quality Control.

Stock-take Onion quality control

Perform quality control stock-takes any time by category or storage location.  Know how much  inventory and its quality in real time.  


Quality control for farm tasks, farm equipment (tractors, spray rig etc), in field fresh produce QC tests. (Requires Farmsoft Farm Management app)

Onion Quality control during shipping

Perform optional quality control tests on fresh produce prior to shipping, or during the container loading phase.  

Onion Traceability & recalls

Mock recalls up and down supply chain.   Reduces fresh produce food safety compliance costs, makes audits easy. Optional fresh produce blockchain by CHAIN-TRACE.COM

Perform Onion quality control by scanning labels / RFID

Scan a pallet label, inventory label, or even PO/Invoice/BOL to perform a quality control.  Saves time and increases accuracy.  
Quality Control tests can be recalled back to a specific invoice, supplier, batch, etc...

FARMSOFT FRESH PRODUCE QUALITY control & QUALITY CONTROL with A.I. powered quality controls.
Farmsoft QC Quality control app makes fresh produce quality control rapid and accurate for all fresh produce packers:  cherry, berry, onion, pepper & capsicum, avocado, potato quality, broccoli, salad quality control, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, tomato quality, citrus, asparagus, garlic quality control app, carrot quality, bean, mango, leafy greens, fresh cut quality control, food service quality app, coleslaw quality, strawberry quality control app, grape quality, meat quality control app, flower quality.

Fresh produce quality control app for fresh produce blockchain traceabilityQuality control app for meat products, export/import.  

The onion requires several treatments previous to its storage. The first step is to dry it, in order to improve its conservation during the onion packing process. The bulbs are also treated to avoid their sprouting; this ii done with chemical products or irradiation. Conservation is done at 65-75% of relative humidity and temperatures around 0ºC.

Before onions are put in storage rooms, it is important to dry or cure them. The aim is to dry the neck and the outer layers to protect them from possible diseases and maintain onion traceability. The moisture content must be reduced in 10%, which is equivalent to 3 to 10% loss of weight. The drying process may take place in the field if the environmental conditions allow to do so (dry climate). If not, they use artificial drying systems, like forced air, either environmental temperature or hot air.

How to improve onion quality
Nutrition programmes based on crop nutrient needs are key to influencing both yield and quality. Crop nutrition influences dry matter content, firmness and storability as well as taste and pungency, all important factors in determining the quality of onion crops.

Balanced nutrition is needed for quality onions
Macronutrient distribution in onions.
Nitrogen excess can cause quality issues in onions.
Nitrogen has greatest effects on onion yield although too much nitrogen softens the bulb and increases storage rot diseases. However nitrogen can also influence quality by helping to increase skin thickness.

Effect of nitrogen rate on onion skin quality:

The onion, also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is a vegetable that is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. Its close relatives include the garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, chive, and Chinese onion. Thescientific name of onions is Allium cepa.Bulb onions are planted and grown from seeds, transplants, or sets. Transplants are live seedlings, often bare rooted, and often sold in bundles of about 25 plants.

These Quality standards are designed to ensure that the onion enterprises meet the minimum requirements to become an integral part of the market, whether export or local.Quality isn’t just about profits and loss or beating out a competitor. It’s about safety, delivering on a promise and meeting the very basics of customer expectations. But, by meeting quality standards, enterprises often reap better profits and reduce losses. Those that exceed quality standards stand out above their competitors and further their potential for profit and consumer loyalty. Therein rests the benefit of quality standards.

Today, quality assurance measures the standards that go into a product or service before it goes out to the public. Quality assurance uses auditors, sometimes independent and sometimes in-house, to evaluate the methods that go into making products and providing services. In this set up, the Commercial Village Trade Facilitators will help train and audit the farmer’s horticultural produce before reaching the market.

This module will help achieve the following:

Improve enterprises’ ability to deliver onion products that consistently keep up a high quality to the market hence customer satisfaction
Enhance quality of onion products thereby helping the enterprises to reduce extra costs that rejection of produce comes with.

Common Standards
Rwanda standard applies to onions of varieties (cultivars) grown from Allium cepa L. Cepa Group to be supplied to the consumer in the natural state and green onions with full leaves. Onions for industrial processing being excluded.

The standard is to define the quality requirements for fresh bulb onions after preparation and packaging. However, if applied at stages after point of sale or following export, produce may show in relation to the requirements of the standard:

i)a slight lack of freshness and turgidity

ii)a slight deterioration due to their development and their tendency to perish.

The holder/seller of produce may not display such produce or offer them for sale, or deliver or market them in any manner other than in conformity with this standard. The holder/seller shall be responsible for observing such conformity

Clean: free from dirt, dust, insect, stains or other foreign substances and material
Decay: soft or dry rot
Firm: The onion, which may yield slightly too moderate finger pressure
Damage: any defect or injury, which affects the appearance or storage quality of the onions
Doubles: onions, which have developed more than one distinct bulb, joined only at the base, whether the outer skin is broken or otherwise
Size the maximum diameter of the bulb along the equatorial section
Seed stem the bulb heart, which has become misshapen and hollow through the center stem deforming the onion
Malshaped bulbsbulbs with seed stems with abnormal swelling
Intact (Outer Skin Included) Onions which have not suffered any mutilation during growth or at the time of pulling, drying, removing the stem, packing, handling or any other operations
Sound onions which are free from any rot, disease and damage
Sufficiently dry onions which are sufficiently firm and do not become soft or spongy to moderate finger pressure, the neck being dry.

Tolerances in respect of quality and size are allowed in each package for produce not satisfying the requirements of the class indicated.
Class I:10% by number or weight of onions not satisfying the requirements for the class, but meeting those for Class II or, exceptionally, coming within the tolerances for that class.

Class II:10% by number or weight of onions satisfying neither the requirements for the class nor the minimum requirements, excluding produce affected by rotting, or any other deterioration rendering it unfit for consumption.
For all classes: 10% by number or weight of onions not conforming to the size identified, but with a diameter of not more than 20% below or above it.
The contents of each package must be uniform and contain only onions of the same origin, variety, quality and size.The visible part of the contents of each package must be representative of the entire contents.
Pesticide residues :the produce covered by this standard shall comply with the maximum residue limits for pesticides established by the codex alimentarius commission for this commodity
Other contaminants: The produce covered by this standard shall comply with the maximum levels of the general standard for contaminants and toxins in food and feed (CODEX STAN 193-1995).
Onions may be presented: ibitunguru bigomba kugaragazwa

arranged in layers,
packed in bulk,
In ‘strings’ (of not less than 16 bulbs, with fully dried stems).
Onions must be packed in such a way as to ensure proper protection of the produce. The materials used inside the package must be new, clean and of a quality such as to avoid causing any external or internal damage to the produce. The use of materials and particularly of paper or stamps bearing trade specifications is allowed if the printing or labelling has been done with a non-toxic ink or glue.Packaging must be free from all foreign matter
It is recommended that the produce covered by the provisions of this Standard be prepared and handled in accordance with the appropriate sections of the General Principles of Food Hygiene
Ibicuruzwa byose birebwa n' ibi bipimo bigomba gutegurwa no gukorwamo hubahirijwe amabwiriza ibika byihariye by' amabwiriza rusange y' isuku y' ibiribwa.
Each package must bear the following particulars in letters grouped on the same side; legibly and indelibly marked and visible from the outside:
Packer and/or Dispatcher: Name and address or officially issued or accepted code mark. However, in the case where a code mark is used, the reference “packer and/or dispatcher (or equivalent abbreviations)” has to be indicated in close connection with the code mark.
Onions’, if the contents are not visible from the outside.
Country of origin, and optionally, district where grown or national, regional or local place name.

size indicated by minimum and maximum diameters,

Quality assurance helps a company meet its clients’ demands and expectations. High quality builds trust with customers, which, in turn, makes the enterprises competitive in the market. It saves costs and fixes issues before problems become larger, and it helps to set and maintain quality standards by preventing problems to begin with. Investing in quality assurance is indispensable in many enterprises today. It is most effective when it’s in place from the start. When quality assurance is done right, it provides confidence, tests the product and lets enterprises market their products with few worries.

This module will therefore help the farmers to have knowledge on quality and standards required in processing and packaging onion to meet the market demand and improve income.

Phosphate has a positive effect on storage quality
Phosphorus has a positive effect on storage quality of onions and garlic, especially when high rates of nitrogen have been used.

Effect of phosphate on onion storability

Potassium allows higher rates of nitrogen to be applied
The use of potassium allows growers to maintain high rates of nitrogen for yield with reduced risk of storage problems such as rots or sprouting.

Effect of potassium on onion bulb dry matter

Calcium is important to ensure good quality onions
Calcium is particularly important for bulb density, integrity and long-term storage with minimal disease problems. Magnesium also has a role to play in improving storage quality characteristics.

Onions are one of the most frequently purchased vegetables worldwide, yet storage-related onion defects remain a real problem. Postharvest diseases that cannot be detected with simple human control are one of the leading threats to onion profitability. Typical onion defects include watery scale, neck rot caused by the fungus Botrytis, and bruising (see Fig. 1). As the demands of consumers for year-round access to high quality fresh produce continue to rise, there is a need for inexpensive and reliable technologies that can nondestructively screen fruits and vegetables for internal defects.

Typical onion defects. Top: Watery Scale is a condition where one or more of the concentric laminae layers becomes infected by secondary bacteria that eventually results in internal breakdown. This defect causes the outer layers of the onion to appear water soaked with a brown or yellowish tinge. Middle: Neck rot caused by the fungus Botrytis. Bottom: Bruising.

In the past, non-invasive techniques such as computer X-Ray Tomography, Positron Emission Tomography (PET), ultrasound, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have been used for rapid screening of fresh produce, but in many cases, these techniques are too costly for wide-scale deployment. Another imaging technique has emerged as a viable choice for studying the internal defects and structure of non-transparent scattering media: Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT).

Recently, a collaborative group of researchers1 within the Plant Science Laboratory at Cranfield University (UK) conducted a feasibility study using a Thorlabs Swept Source OCT System with a central wavelength of 1325 nm to obtain cross-sectional images of internal onion tissue and thereby detect the presence and severity of onion defects. In their experiment, Meglinski et al. imaged with micron-level spatial resolution the onion's skins and outer laminae (i.e., concentric tissue layers) in situ. Their results are presented in Fig. 2. The onion's structure including the dried skin, outer tissue layers, and roots as well as possible tissue aberrations up to 0.5 mm deep are all visible in these OCT images.

The results of this experimental research demonstrate that OCT can be successfully employed to identify histological changes that are possibly indicative of internal defects in fruits and vegetables. By using this non-invasive imaging modality for rapid screening and sorting of onions prior to, during, and after postharvest storage, onion growers in the future may be able to not only ensure that top-quality produce reaches the consumer but also prevent large portions of their crop - as much as 30% in some cases - from being unsalable due to unfavorable storage conditions that lead to diseases not being detected with the human eye.

Figure 2b
(b)Figure 2a
Figure 2.

Cross-sectional SS-OCT images of intact onion bulb samples from the cultivar Sherpa. Each image measures 3 mm x 1.6 mm. (a) Normal health onion tissue. (b) Onion sample exhibiting a bruise defect whatic is indicated with the white arrow.
During storage, it is important to avoid the bulb sprouting and the secondary roots. For this purpose it is important to keep low temperatures and modified atmospheres. However, in some cases other methods are used, like the application of chemical products and irradiation. Among the chemical products used there is the maleic hydracid, that is applied shortly before harvesting. Irradiation consists of exposing the bulbs to ionizing gamma ray radiation to inhibit sprouting. For this process they use very low doses.

After the harvesting it is not usual to subject onions to pre-cooling. It is only recommended in case of tender onions, since a fast decrease of temperature improves their conservation.

The storage time depends on the variety. Early onions cannot be stored more than 4 months. The bulbs are stored in bulk in piles, in sacks on pallets, in field boxes or palots. In any case, ventilation in all the produce surface must be allowed.

Storage can be done in different ways. One can use traditional storage facilities. This method is suitable for cold areas and when we do not want to store the bulbs for a long time.

Storage under forced ventilation is also used. For this treatment they use fans, that renew the store room’s air, removing the heat produced by the bulbs.

Another storage system is under controlled conditions. The onions are not sensitive to chilling injuries, so one must take advantage of this characteristic for its storage. Thanks to this system, some varieties are preserved up to 32 weeks. The moisture levels must be kept between 65 and 75%, and temperatures should not be lower than -0,8ºC. However, for short storage up to 5 weeks, the temperature recommended is 15ºC. The use of modified atmospheres is not recommended, because it gives contradictory results.
The onions must not be transported at temperatures over 20ºC, and they must be lowered in relation to the length of the journey.

The onions are transported at temperatures between -1 and 20ºC, according to the distance of the trip. Relative humidity must be kept between 65 and 75%. Onions give off their smell to other products; thus, they must not be transported in mixed loads.

There must be a suitable ventilation during the transport. For transoceanic trips they use containers with apertures. By means of a fan the air circulates through them. In case of palletized onions, the air must be distributed through the palets.

Distribution is due to be at temperatures between 5 and 20ºC, with average moisture and ventilation levels.
Postharvest Problems
Onions have different problems in their storage. There appear several physiological alterations like translucent scales, sun burns and greening. They can also suffer diseases caused by Botrytis, Fusarium, Sclerotinia, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Colletotrichum or by the bacteria Erwinia and Pseudomonas.

Among the alterations we find the following ones.

Translucent scales: it consists of a paling of the scales colour, that later on turn brown. Although the reasons for these changes are not clear, it is thought that high temperatures before the harvesting favour them.

Sun burn: it takes place during the drying, and it affects mainly the onions with few protective dry scales.

Greening: the outer scales acquire a greenish colour, and there appear unpleasant tastes. This phenomenon takes place if the bulbs have been exposed to the sun for too much time.

Some of the diseases that affect the onions during their storage are:

Botrytis rot, caused by the Botrytis fungus. It is one of the main postharvest alterations. It is characterized by a wet rotting in the outer tunics of the affected area, covered with very short gray hairs. In order to control this disease it is important to harvest the bulbs in their maturation, in dry wheather, and to let them dry appropriately.

Rotting in the base of the bulb. This alteration appears already in the field, and it fully developed in the warehouse. It is caused by the Fusarium oxysporum fungus, that infects the bulb through the roots, reaching the base of the bulb and producing the rot.

White rot. Caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, and characterized by the presence of a white down on the affected areas; there develop a kind of small black spots of 1-2mm of diameter, similar to a pin’s tip.

Black mouldy rot. This disease originates from the fungus Aspergillus niger. This organism penetrates through damages, normally in the top area, producing black efflorescences and rotting in the tissues affected.

Another fungus belonging to the same genus, Aspergillus alliaceus, has the same characteristics but it produces a yellow efflorescence.

Blue mould. This disease is caused by the Penicillium fungus, and it is characterized by a rotting on which a blue down grows.

Coletotrichum circinans is a fungus that produces anthracnose or grime. This alteration is characterized by the presence of circular black spots on the external tunics of the onion.

Onion Mildew. The fungus Peronospora schleidenii attacks the onion during the culture cycle, and it is lodged in the apex of the bulb, producing blossom-end-rot if there is enough moisture.

Production and quality of the onion crop (Allium cepa L.) cultivated under controlled deficit irrigation conditions in a semi-arid climate
The experiment discussed below was carried out on an onion crop cultivated under controlled deficit irrigation (CDI) conditions in a semi-arid climate. Eight treatments were used in which different water doses were applied according to the water requirements at each stage of the crop cycle. The effect of water deficit was studied at three vegetative stages (development, bulbification and ripening).

Although, the dry matter yield was not affected by the total volume of water intake (with volumes ranging from 603.1 to 772.0 mm), the statistical analyses made have shown that there is some interaction between the volumes of water received by the crop at the bulbification and ripening stages, which means that inducing a shortage in both stages at the same time does lead to significant differences in the yield obtained.

As to bulb sizes, the treatments which received the greatest volumes of water during the development and ripening stages yielded harvests with higher percentages of large-size bulbs, whereas the water shortages induced during the growth and bulbification stages led to higher percentages of small-size bulbs.

Nutrition programmed based on crop nutrient needs are key to influencing both yield and quality. Crop nutrition influences dry matter content, firmness and storability as well as taste and pungency, all important factors in determining the quality of onion crops.

Firmness is a critical characteristic of onion crops, particularly in dry bulb onions which are stored for long periods. Growers can influence bulb firmness by applying balanced nutrition. Nitrogen can help to increase the specific weight of the outer skin, which results in an improvement of the bulb’s resistance to pressure, therefore reducing handling and storage damages. However, overall bulb firmness may decrease with high rates of nitrogen due to a softening of internal tissue.

A uniform skin is a major element of onion appearance for the fresh market. In addition, the strength of the onion skin is important to help keep diseases and storage problems away. Skin cracking can be a result of poor soil moisture. A balanced nutrition program is also essential to ensure that the overall skin quality of an onion crop meets market demands. A balanced crop nutrition programme can help to reduce onion storage rots by promoting healthier plants. Onions need a period of curing or drying in order to seal the neck, prevent invasion of diseases and rot and to create a bright, crack-free skin. Calcium, magnesium, boron and nitrogen all have an effect on onion storage rots.

Processing factory MSP Onions foresees every customer of programmed quality onions
"Internal quality sorting for onions demanded from all European supermarkets within two years"
The new onion processing factory of MSP Onions in Nieuwdorp is almost serene. Nevertheless, an impressive volume passes through the factory every day with a capacity of 1,000 tons per day with good demand. "In a traditional situation you would work with 70 people, we do it here with seven people and that includes cleaning and technical service," says Lindert Moerdijk. He gave the AGF / FreshPlaza editors a tour of the new automated and sustainable onion factory, where the overarching software layer Eqontrol controls the various machines in the factory's process and takes care of stock management.

In this dream factory, as Moerdijk calls it, he can provide his worldwide customers with programmed quality onions. "Customers in Asia, Africa and Central and South America all have their specific requirements with a corresponding price. We can now serve them perfectly according to their wishes thanks to our internal quality control. The reactions are positive and it feels really great as a seller to do this. The Eqrader is the only machine in the world that can assess the entire onion internally at this rate. Many people say they have quality onions, but with this sorting machine we can guarantee it. The quality sorting is programmed for each customer. how the customer wants to receive the product, accurate to the millimeter and checked internally and externally."

"In this new factory we run from early in the morning until late at night. No human hands are involved, so it's a very Corona-proof, no-touch policy. We have four machines that together can sort 160 onions per second. Six photos are taken of each onion. We select based on seventeen quality qualifications, such as colouring, disease symptoms, hardness, internal and external quality. This makes it easy to select the class I onions from a batch.

"At the end of last season we even had the situation where a customer thought I was kidding him and had delivered a batch of New Zealand imported onions, says Lindert. "Every batch can be traced in Eqontrol thanks to advanced tracking and tracing software. For example, we have a proven tracking & tracing, per onion, per box, per second. This gives us an astounding database. This way we know exactly how. the different varieties and onions from the different growing areas are performing well. "

Not a single rotten onion in the bag
In 2010 MSP took the step to start exporting its onions itself as a packing station. The Nieuwdorp company has mastered this trick by now and the onions are shipped all over the world all year round. Thanks to the new factory, the company also hopes to gain attention in the supermarket channel. "We can guarantee a supermarket - or supplier of a supermarket - that there will not be any rotten onion in its bag. When I sometimes see onions lying on the supermarket shelf, I get tears in my eyes. Thanks to this programmed quality sorting, that is a thing of the past. I expect that this technique will revolutionize the shelf and that within two years every supermarket in Europe will make it a condition that all onions have been checked for internal quality. "

"In addition to a wealth of data, this also provides great export opportunities. We can open new sales areas and supply the existing areas for longer. For example, I now send onions to certain destinations, where I previously really did not dare with a transit time of five weeks. Like when Brazil comes onto the market, for example, I do not have to worry about discoloration, but we can go full throttle. It is a matter of programming out those few onions that are too dark and what remains is a fantastic batch. This is immediately an added value for the grower who does not need to have 100% suitable onions, but can also get added value if the color of his batch is 90% suitable. Especially in the spring when many countries often switch to onions from other countries for quality reasons, this becomes very interesting if we can therefore guarantee top quality," says Lindert, while he automatically orders three different samples from the control room. "All from the same party, they used to leave as one party. Now we are sending them to three different customers, all of whom are very satisfied with it."

"In addition, I firmly believe in the principle of machine learning. Our Profix ERP is now directly linked to the machines via Eqontrol. For example, a trailer can be linked to my sorting programme with one mouse click and we have virtually no changeover time. Based on parameters dictated by purchasing. Eqontrol then sets the speeds and determines the routes needed to sort the trailer as efficiently as possible. On the output side, it then continues and Eqontrol sets the receipts of the entire packing department on the basis of the order data. The software determines the moment from starting the processing of the order, from retrieving the appropriate product from the warehouse to setting up all machines in the line. A fantastic combination of new software techniques that reduces downtime and makes mistakes a thing of the past. "

"An additional advantage is that performance is now transparent and schedules are updated live. Now we really know everything, while traditional sorting and packaging was a black box where assumptions were used. I want the role of operator to no longer be so determining. One wrong setting on any machine in the line is already causing a huge disruption. It has to be removed! It simply has to be able to pack 120 tons of onions per hour in peace and quiet and in fact have only three options: start, stop and pause," laughs Lindert.

Artificial Intelligence has been mentioned by Lindert for years as the big difference for sorting onions. "To make optimal use of that, you need a lot of exits. Sixteen exits is not a luxury if you know that the waste onions are already programmed in three types. We started at the beginning of September and the margin of error was 2% because the neural networks were not yet available. trained for certain syndromes. We are now at 0.2% and that percentage is only getting lower," says Moerdijk.

"For retail customers we now set up the machine in such a way that it is 100% right, in terms of colour, size and internal quality. Although this company has decades of experience in sorting onions, the machine judges more accurately than meets the eye. The margin of error of the machine is considerably lower and the machines can also be used every hour of the day."

Circular production process
When asked whether there are many onions that are left out, Moerdijk answers in the negative. "In fact, we are increasingly moving towards a circular production process without food waste. We have included waste separation in every phase of the design. As a traditional sorter, you have one big pile of leftover, but that food waste is a thing of the past. Of the onions that in the past were sorted out, 75% are now processed into food and the remaining 25% goes into the bio-digester. This is also positive for the grower. The sustainability of agriculture and the more extreme weather conditions are still creating more uncertainty. This factory can really add a lot of value for the growers."