Packaging Material Keeps Meat Fresher

Meat and fish may not rot or smell as quickly thanks to a packaging innovation from Italian researchers.

The scientists at the University of Camerino have filed a patent for the packaging that involves the use of certain plants, reports Food Production Daily. The article explains further:

The patent states that the extract, or the essential oil of rosemary, oregano and salvia or their mixtures, when incorporated in a suitable packaging material can perform an inhibiting and controlling activity on biogenic amines. Biogenic amines are molecules emitting by meat and fish when they decay and are responsible for the smell given off by rotting foods.

The patent describes the layers of the material. The first layer is made of paper, the second is made of polyethylene or from a biodegradable or compostable material, and the third is an optional metallic layer.

fish packaging

The material does not absorb an excessive amount of an active chemical that would otherwise migrate from the surface that faces or is in contact with the packaged food, the patent-holders claim. Also, active chemicals do not diffuse into the air of the packaging, they say.

The secret to the packaging and keeping the food fresh is attributed to classes of compounds, the researchers say. The compounds include: terpene hydrocarbons, oxygenated terpenes, aldehydes, ketones and esters, or substances such as carnosic acid, carnosol, rosmarinic acid, which is found in rosemary, or eugenol, carvacrol, and thymol, which is found in oregano, the article says.

The oil can be distributed by spraying it onto the inner part of the packaging material, the researchers say. It can be distributed uniformly over the material, without the use of any fixing resin. The packaging then can come into direct contact with the food.

The packaging maintains the food’s organoleptic characteristics, which are the traits of food that can be discerned by the senses — taste, smell, and touch — and its dryness and moisture. Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture often perform organoleptic tests to determine if packaging materials can transfer tastes and odors to the food they contain.

Polymer Solutions, Inc., can perform similar tests on packaging materials to ensure that their manufacturers’ supply chains use quality materials and are devoid of contaminants. The laboratory also can conduct odor analyses, failure analyses, and film layer analyses.

Source: “Plant-based packaging coating targets meat and fish shelf life benefits,” Food Production Daily, 6/14/13
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