Strawberries: Quality Control & Testing

In the fresh produce industry, strawberries hold a place of pride among fresh fruits and vegetables due to their popularity and versatile usage. They’re also extremely popular fruit among consumers, enjoyed by over 94% of American homes.

But for producers, ensuring high-quality strawberries free of damage from disease and foreign matter is no easy task, given their sensitivity to handling and environmental conditions. Adopting effective fresh produce quality control practices is crucial in delivering strawberries that are free from damage and meet the highest quality parameters.

A strawberry’s flavor, texture, and aroma reach their peak 2-3 days after being picked. This is crucial for import and export businesses to consider, especially when shipping strawberries over long distances.

Common Defects when Growing & Harvesting Strawberries

Strawberries can be impacted by a number of defects and diseases throughout the supply chain.

Pest Damage

Strawberries face threats from various pests, including aphids, tarnished plant bugs (TPBs), and spider mites. Aphids sap the vitality of plants while transmitting harmful viruses. TPBs feed on developing fruit, leading to deformities like cat-facing. Meanwhile, spider mites attack the underside of leaves, causing stippling, yellowing, and sometimes plant death.

Red Stele

Caused by the pathogen Phytophthora fragariae, this disease induces root rot in strawberries, resulting in wilted, dead plants. This soil-borne disease severely impacts yield, often leaving entire crops unsalvageable, posing a significant challenge for strawberry producers worldwide.

Botrytis Fruit Rot (Gray Mold)

Botrytis Fruit Rot, or Gray Mold, is a pervasive fungal disease affecting strawberries, causing soft, water-soaked, light brown to tan lesions on the fruit. This disease diminishes the aesthetic and edible quality of strawberries, leading to significant yield loss for producers.

Leaf Spot

Leaf Spot, resulting from the Mycosphaerella fragariae fungus, creates small, round, reddish-brown spots on strawberry leaves, diminishing plant vigor and yield. This disease primarily affects the foliage, compromising the plant's ability to photosynthesize effectively and produce healthy fruit.


Strawberries are susceptible to various viral diseases like Strawberry Mottle Virus, Strawberry Mild Yellow Edge Virus, and Strawberry Crinkle Virus, which lead to symptoms like yellowing, leaf distortion, and stunted growth, significantly impacting fruit yield and plant health.

Shape Defects

Strawberry shape defects often include 'nubbins', which are small, seedless areas resulting from poor pollination, leading to unexpanded flesh. Another common defect is 'double or multiple fruiting', where strawberries develop as conjoined fruits due to genetic factors, environmental conditions, or damage to flower ovaries during the early developmental stages.

Physiological Disorders

Some defects are the result of physiological disorders rather than infections. Blossom Blight is one such condition, where blossoms turn brown and die, often due to environmental factors. Sunscald can also impact strawberries exposed to direct sunlight, causing them to develop bleached, white patches. Frost injury is another environmental concern where late frosts can damage new growth and flowers, subsequently impacting yields.

Interesting Facts About Strawberries

Common Quality Parameters for Strawberries

These internal and external attributes are used to evaluate strawberries:



Degrees Brix (°Brix)





Calyx Condition

Download our free app to discover a complete list of attributes that Clarifruit evaluates, along with recommended quality standards for each.

Clarifruit integrates smoothly with 3rd-party technology to perform quality control on strawberries. Learn more here.

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