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Greening of Idaho Potatoes

Q:

As a produce manager, I know that exposure to light is bad for potatoes as they will turn green prematurely. My boss is planning to remodel our section in the grocery store and I want to give him suggestions on how to improve our potato display with different lightning. Any suggestions?

A:

I’m no expert, but I know the University of Idaho did some work on this. At the time they looked at putting filters on fluorescent lights (commercially purchased) and it did not retard the rate of greening. There may be other filters available that may be of greater benefit now. What is needed is to reduce the amount of light in the blue and red regions of the light spectra. Experts saw distinctively less greening with fiber optic lighting. Nora Olsen at the University of Idaho gave us an article summarizing some of the data. Avoid ceramic metal halide and halogen. Next best to fiber optic were the fluorescent lights.  You could check the light levels in the area to see if they are higher than recommended, and don’t forget natural light. Maybe they are being exposed to some sunlight from daylight through windows or nearby doors. And thanks for thinking about how exposure to light makes the potatoes less eye appealing.