Bananas must be handled with utmost care when being shipped to ensure that they reach their destination in perfect unbruised condition. Any abrasions, bumps, cuts and bruises must be avoided as these speed ripening and encourage the development of disease. They should also be kept in the right temperature so that they remain fresh and prevent quick ripening and spoiling. Here’s an easy to follow guideline on how to pack and ship bananas.
Remove any dust and dirt on the bananas. Dip or spray the pruning cut on the crown of the hand of bananas with a fungicide like thiabendazole (TBZ) while the cut is still fresh and moist. Fungicide is necessary to prevent the bananas from developing fungal growth or disease when shipped for long periods of time.
Hang bananas to be shipped short distances in a shaded spot that is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Stored in this manner, the bananas will ripen in a few days. Bananas that must spend longer than three days in transit from farm to table must be harvested before the fingers are fully rounded and must be chilled to between 56 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit before 24 to 48 hours have elapsed. If the bananas remain unrefrigerated for longer than 36 hours, their green life will be significantly shortened.
Get a sturdy ventilated cardboard shipping box and line it with a large polyethylene bag designed for shipping. These bags minimize moisture loss, and control oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to different degrees to extend the shelf life of the bananas. Their use is the most important in long term shipping that will last between 4 to 50 days. Bananas shipped for shorter periods of time do not need their boxes lined with polyethylene.
Lay the hands carefully in rows, two hands deep. If you wish to pack the bananas four hands deep, place a flexible cardboard shipping pad between the lower to layers of hands and the top two layers of hands.
Ship bananas in transit for longer than 24 hours in a refrigerated compartment chilled to between 56 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternately, use temperature-controlled shipping boxes to pack the bananas.