How to Enhance Vegetable Quality Control for Potatoes

Although potatoes are a carbohydrate, they are botanically a vegetable, and subject to all the same vegetables quality control methods and challenges of any other vegetable. That means that for growers, marketing companies, wholesalers, and retailers – optimizing potato harvesting and potato quality control is super important. A high quality potato, and that usually means firm potatoes, large potatoes and those without visible or internal potato defects, will boost profits, and help you to keep good relationships with your buyers, no matter where you land on the value chain. However, today’s potato quality control methods are largely manual, non-standardized and limited to what can be seen with the human eye. 

That’s where Clarifruit can support your business, using AI and computer vision technology to provide a consistent and accurate fruit & vegetables quality control process for stakeholders working with potato crops, whether that’s at the farming and growing stages, all the way through to retailers looking to delight the end customer. 

Common Defects when Growing & Harvesting Potatoes

The following defects are the ones that are most likely to affect potato quality across the supply chain:

Brown Rot

This serious disease can cause wilting of the plant itself, and brown staining on the tubers. On the potatoes themselves, you might see an oozing liquid that is gray or white in color. It is caused by a bacteria, and has been known to travel through contaminated water that is being used for irrigation.


Also known as internal rust spot, flecking looks like small brown marks inside potatoes, which can be caused by soil temperatures that are too high or poor supply of calcium throughout the growing period. Irrigation best practices can help to avoid this defect.


The formation of chlorophyll is caused by exposure to light, which can happen anywhere - such as in the field itself, in storage or even on the shelves of stores. This causes a greenish hue or blemish on the potato. As green potatoes could be a symptom of the dangerous compound solenine, many consumers and buyers avoid them.

Hollow Heart

A potato quality photo can quickly identify a hollow heart to you, which looks like a distinctive internal mark, black or brown in color inside the potato tuber itself. It usually happens because the tuber has experienced some stress, due to water, heat, or even a deficiency in levels of nutrients such as calcium.

Mechanical Damage

As potatoes are seen as quite hardy, many workers are not as careful as they would be around other produce such as soft fruit for example. Bumps or knocks to potatoes may not be obvious at first, but on opening the tubers, brown or bluish bruises and bumps can often be seen which suggests damage due to handling and machinery.


Cold soils can lead to this defect, also known as black scurf. It impacts a whole crop, causing stunted growth, less potatoes in the yield, and misshapen tubers. You’ll see brown cankers and lesions, which if left, can become necrotic. Damage will be the worst when temperatures are very cold, so for example in more Northern countries.

Ring Rot

Similar to brown rot, but identifiable by a soft rotting of the vascular ring, Ring rot is also caused by a specific bacteria, and can be hard to get rid of once it’s hit your potato crop, especially as the bacteria can survive on machinery, seed or even the walls of barns and warehouses. In severe cases, the skin of the potato itself will form cracks.


Many insects can cause issues for potato stakeholders when harvesting and growing potato crops. For example, aphids, slugs, beetles, leafhoppers and wireworms. One of the most serious is the black and yellow “potato bug”. They feed on the leaves of potato plants, and can destroy a whole crop if left unchecked.

Silver Scab

This infection of the skin on potatoes is caused by a fungus, and will present with marks on the surface of the potato. While in reality, silver scabbing does no harm to the consumer, it may well cause shoppers not to purchase the potatoes due to the fact the potatoes often look dirty - making it a less desirable purchase for buyers.

Interesting Facts about Potatoes

Common Quality Attributes for Growing and Harvesting Potatoes

The following internal and external potato attributes are commonly used for quality evaluation:



Dry matter


For the full list of attributes that the Clarifruit platform currently evaluates and recommended quality standards for each, download our free app now.

The Clarifruit platform also integrates with 3rd-party technology to evaluate external potato attributes. Learn more here.

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