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Active Packaging and why we need it

Active packaging was created to help preserve the freshness and safety of various products

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What is Active Packaging?

Active packaging was created to help preserve the freshness and safety of various products. Products can include food items, beauty products, drink containers, and the like. In its simplest form, this type of packaging is deliberately enhanced with certain materials (often chemical or biological agents) either in or on the packaging to aid the package in keeping its contents fresh and safe. The packaging is already there to keep a product free of contamination, but this new technology has allowed this simple concept evolve and become even better.

Why Do We Need Active Packaging?

This is an important new technology because it allows for our food and beverage supply, personal care products, or other perishable items to last longer. We no longer need to feel as concerned about food perishing quickly or out favorite face moisturizer going rancid and becoming contaminated with bacteria after a short period of time.

What are the Regulations?

Active packaging is closely regulated by the global Food Safety Authorities since it still comes in contact with the food or beverage people are consuming. For instance, the European Union makes sure these type of packaging are manufactured in complete compliance with the EU food regulation, such as, good manufacturing practices to ensure the food supply remain safe. The chemical or biological additives mustn’t alter the composition of the food or product or change the quality of a product in a negative way. That can include changes to taste, texture, smell, or appearance.

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Examples

Sachets and Pads

Food Packaging

In food packaging, the agent used to protect the freshness of the meat usually interacts with the oxygen and moistures levels. Often, the chemical/biological agent is activated by UV light or another outside source. The contents are found mostly in two distant forms, either a sachet or pad.

Oxygen absorbing sachets are generally placed in meat packages, baked goods, pizzas, coffees and most other dried foods. Some of these sachets are can release ethanol, which acts as an antimicrobial agent to lengthen the self-life of products with a high moisture content.

Meat Packaging

Have you every wondered exactly what that little absorbent pad was you find under you packaged chicken or steak? It’s a form of active packaging. It is a highly absorbent pad that uses polymer granules and layers of microporous non-woven polymer to absorb water and juices. This prevents the growth of mold and bacteria from growing in meat packages.

Inside Packaging Material Itself

Plastics

Due to some of the limitations of pads and sachets, many food products and personal care products, use preservation agents in the actual packaging material. In liquid items, water bottles, tightly wrapped foods (in plastic) like cheese or crackers, etc., you cannot place a cumbersome pad into the package. Rather, oxygen-absorbing polymer materials are placed directly into the plastic package. This will keep the food fresh and free of moisture and bacteria for an extended period of time.

Antimicrobial Packaging

This type of packaging has the ability to release antimicrobials from the packaging itself in a self-controlled form. This is a useful form of packaging tech because it will extend the self-life of food/other products considerably longer. It can achieve this goal because it will prevent bacteria growth the leads to products going bad and spoiling.

BioSwitch tech achieves this through commands that are able to detect when bacteria begins to growth within the package. In response, an antimicrobial is released and it helps counteract the conditions that are making the food start its rotting/molding process.