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guidetomato

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Grading Guide: Tomato
Illustrated Criteria for USDA No. 1 Tomato

A USDA No. 1 Tomato is:

Photo source: USDA/AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs

Mature and Clean
Well Developed
At Least Fairly Well Formed
At Least Fairly Smooth

USDA No. 1 Tomato must be free from:

 
 
 
Decay
Freezing Injury
Sunscald

Photos below illustrate categories of damage specified in USDA No. 1 criteria. Check criteria for allowable limits.

 
 
 
Growth Cracks
Cuts and Broken Skins
Puffiness
Catfaces
 
 
 
 
Scars (other than Catfaces)
Hail Damage
Insect Injury

Created by C. Gunter and E. Maynard, Purdue University 2006. Based on US Standards for Grades of Tomatoes, 10-01-1991 as reprinted 01-1997. Page last revised 08-01-06.

This project made possible by financial assistance from Indiana's Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Value-Added Research Grant Program.

Grading Guide: Tomato
Definitions of Criteria for USDA No. 1 Tomato

Characteristics of a USDA No. 1 Tomato:

Mature and Clean
Well Developed
Fairly Well Formed
Fairly Smooth
  • Has reached the stage where it can ripen after picking
  • Two or more seed cavities have jelly-like contents
  • Seeds are well developed
  • Practically free from dirt
  • Shows normal growth
  • Not ridged and peaked at the stem end
  • No dry tissue inside
  • No open spaces below the level of the stem scar
  • Not more than moderately kidney-shaped, lop-sided, elongated, or angular
  • Smoothness refers to curves or ridges over shoulders of tomato, not texture of the skin
  • Not conspicuously ridged or rough

USDA No. 1 Tomato does not have any:

Decay
Freezing Injury
Sunscald
  • Decay occurs when bacteria or fungi break down the flesh of the tomato.
  • Freezing will cause tomato flesh to become soft and water-soaked after thawing. Firm-ripe tomatoes can freeze at 31.1°F.
  • Sunscald occurs when tomato fruit is exposed to excess heat from bright sunshine. In the exposed area the flesh becomes hard and does not ripen. The skin is bleached and may pucker.

Tomatoes with damage worse than described below do not meet USDA No. 1 criteria. Measurements are based on a tomato 2.5 inches in diameter.

Growth Cracks
Cuts and Broken Skins
Puffiness
Catfaces
  • Leaking juice
  • More than 1/8 inch (3mm) deep
  • Individual radial cracks more that 1/2 inch (13mm) long
  • Combined length of all radial cracks more than 1 inch (25 mm) (measured from edge of stem scar)
  • Not well healed (if tomatoes have NOT begun to turn)
  • Link to image from standards
  • Not shallow
  • Not well-healed
  • Longer than 1/2 inch, even if shallow and well-healed
  • Combined together, all shallow and well-healed breaks would fill a circle more than 3/8 inch diameter
  • Area greater than a circle 1/2 inch diameter even if catface is fairly smooth
  • Rough scar
  • Deep scar
  • Deep or wide channels
  • Channels extend into a locule
Scars (other than Catfaces)
Hail Damage
Insect Injury
Other Damage
  • Aggregating more than a circle 3/8 inch in diameter
  • Deep
  • Rough
  • Not well healed and corked over
  • Aggregating more than a circle 3/8 inch (10 mm) in diameter even if marks are fairly smooth and shallow
  • Insect present in fruit
  • Materially detracts from the appearance
  • Any defect(s), which seriously detracts from the appearance, or the edible or marketing quality of the tomato.

Created by C. Gunter and E. Maynard, Purdue University 2006. Based on US Standards for Grades of Tomatoes, 10-01-1991 as reprinted 01-1997. Page last revised on 08-02-06.

This project made possible by financial assistance from Indiana's Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Value-Added Research Grant Program.