An admission has been given in Belgium to ripen tomatoes with products based on ethylene. It is an admission for 120 days as of September.

Ethylene has been on the rise in horticulture for a few years now. By using ethylene for tomato cultivation the last trusses of the season ripen earlier. This can improve the quality of the fruit and saves energy. Ripening tomatoes was first done with ethrel, containing the active ingredient ethephon. The use of this is increasingly coming under pressure due to residue formation and stricter MRL values. In addition, a waiting period needs to be observed when using ethephon.

Ethylene, which is also used to ripen bananas and store potatoes and onions, is an alternative to this agent. The great advantage is that it results in a residue free product. Permission was already granted in the Netherlands last year for use of a machine that converts ethanol into ethylene gas, the Restrain Generator. Now authorization for the use of ethylene has also been granted in Belgium. Seven agents may be used as of 1 September. The admission is valid for 120 days and concerns products consisting of 4% ethylene gas and 96% nitrogen.

Niels Scheffler of Handelsonderneming PD expects that ethylene will be admitted in the Netherlands later this summer. In view of this, the company has now included Scenty Control in its range. With this a combination of nitrogen and ethylene or pure ethylene can be dosed. The company expects much of the ethylene admission. "We also hear stories of farmers who have already started working with ethylene. Now that the admission is here we want to make sure everyone knows how to safely work with ethylene from gas cylinders."