Packaging

  • What is the benefit of vacuum packaging for food storage?
    Vacuum packaging consists of removing the air from a bag or flexible film around the food to be packed using a vacuum or thermoforming machine. When the vacuum is applied, the attachment on the bag or the oxygen and gas barrier of the film keen the food protected, subject to being stored in a cool environment. This process prevents the build up of the majority of bacteria, and lengthens the storage time of food and also oxidisation (mould on food) – Vacuum packaging from 5 to 20 millibars.

 

  • What is Modified Atmosphere Packaging = MAP?
    Where the vacuum has been applied to packaging, instead of immediately sealing the film or package, the machine re-injects gas mixes – e.g. 50% N2 – nitrogen – 50% CO2 – carbon gas.
    This Atmospheric Packaging process is widespread, so as to avoid a product from being crushed when in vacuum. Consequently, pastry meat applications (quiche, for example), Asian products (nems, etc.) are placed under MAP, whilst meat is usually only vacuum packed.

 

  • What is the skin process?
    When you place an item of food under a vacuum, the flexible films used on the market do not totally fit to the product, leaving room for any blood, and therefore favouring the development of bacteria. The skin process uses films which fit the food perfectly to be packaged. The vacuum can then be undertaken at 2 or 3 millibars. This process favours storage of the food in a better manner than traditional vacuum packing. The marketing presentation of the product is improved, and the product clear to see, without any overhanging plastic.

 

  • What are the requirements for packaging?
    A packaging material (bags, film, etc.) should have a total inertia towards the food it is packaging. There should be no migration of plastic components towards the food. Certain plastic components have been prohibited following studies proving their risks: Biphenol, Aromatic aminos, Phtalates. Migration tests undertaken by laboratories simulate the components usually found in the agro-food chain: water, acetate (acid component), olive oil (fat).

 

  • What is the storage time for these processes?
    It is not possible to provide a general response to this question. The quality of the raw material (fish or fresh meat), the quality of the vacuum at the time of packaging (5 mbar or 20 mbar, etc.), the quality of the cool chain and levels of barriers for Gas and O2 of the packaging are important factors. However, only technical inspection allows for confirmation of the safety of the best use by date and best before end date on the product packaged.