Neil Mermelstein

Neil H. Mermelstein

More Packaging Papers and Exhibits
In the May issue, Contributing Editor Aaron Brody previewed many of the sessions, papers, and exhibits related to food packaging that will be presented during IFT’s Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Anaheim, Calif., June 15–19. Among them were papers presented during sessions sponsored or cosponsored by IFT’s Food Packaging Division. Here are brief summaries of those sessions and additional papers and exhibits that will be presented.

Packaging Tackles Food Safety: A Look at Antimicrobials. This symposium, cosponsored by the Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Division and the Food Microbiology Division, consists of five papers. As pathogenic organisms get smarter including the food industry from their capture, the industry must get smarter on how to retaliate. The latest in the arsenal is antimicrobials incorporated into packaging materials. Antimicrobials have been around along time, but their presence in packaging is novel.

This symposium will review chemical and natural antimicrobials and package system design for using them effectively in edible films and coatings and plastic films. Industrial case studies will examine use of these agents in meats, poultry, produce, juice, and smoked salmon and their efficacy on microbial populations, especially pathogens. Speakers will note theory vs practical application. A regulatory perspective will be presented on how the Food and Drug Administration is viewing these new tools in the fight against pathogens. A concluding session will be conducted between speakers and the audience to discuss relevant issues in using antimicrobials in packaging. Session 24, Sunday afternoon

Emerging Technologies in Liquid Food Packaging. This symposium consists of six papers intended to present an update on new and novel packaging technologies for liquid foods, including beverages. Topics covered will include emerging technologies for sterilization of packaging equipment surfaces and packaging materials, including use of ozone and online, electron-beam sterilization of polymeric containers. Other presentations will describe new developments in liquid packaging, including aseptic plastic packaging, bag-in-box packaging, and retort stand-up pouches. Session 49, Monday afternoon

Maximizing Shelf Life Through Product Formulation and Packaging. This symposium, cosponsored by the Food Chemistry Division, consists of six papers. The food industry is increasingly faced with the task of satisfying the many varied requirements of today’s consumer. Foods must be safe, perceived as fresh and natural with consistent good quality, and keep as long as possible while maintaining these qualities. Shelf life is the period between packing a product and consuming it, during which the quality of the product remains acceptable to the product user.

Shelf life is dependent on the nature of the food product, the preservation technologies employed, and the environmental conditions to which the food product is exposed. It is mainly determined by four main factors: product formulation, processing, packaging, and storage conditions. A total systems approach to shelf life extension must embrace all aspects of a food product from its conception, through development, production, and packaging to its consumption. This symposium will focus on the product formulation and packaging parts of the system.

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Product formulation is the selection of the best raw materials and functional ingredients that will ensure the safety and quality of the food product. Advances in packaging materials and techniques have increased the options available for maintaining quality and for improving product shelf life. Packaging technology has focused on new barrier resins and new preservation techniques such as modified atmosphere packaging.

The papers will cover prediction of shelf life and selection of functional ingredients; proper polymer selection for food preservation; effects of retail lighting and packaging on food stability; and incorporation of functional ingredients in packaging. Session 81, Tuesday afternoon

Interactions on Food Packaging and Product Development. IFT Fellows have tremendous experiences in many areas of food science and technology through pioneering works in the cutting edge of their area of expertise. Passing these experiences to the new generation of food scientists—the students—will help develop a continuum of knowledge from the past to the future.

This forum, cosponsored by the Fellows Affairs Committee and the IFT Student Association, consists of a “Parade of Fellows” and four papers. The forum will open with a “parade” of the newly elected Fellows, who will give a brief personal account of the road to success in their distinguished careers. These remarks will provide food for thought for serious students who will be the leaders of the field in the not too distant future. Then two IFT Fellows will review the historical developments of packaging technology and product development, and two IFTSA representatives will provide responses to the challenge. Session F3, Monday afternoon

Food packaging poster session. This poster session will include 39 papers on various aspects of food packaging, including antimicrobial films; edible films; modified-atmosphere packaging; effects of microwave heating, irradiation, and high-pressure processing; removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from roasted meat by packaging material; migration from plastic packaging materials; permeability through packaging films; thermal packaging; controlled release; new film materials; and other topics. Session 100B, Wednesday morning

Food packaging oral session. This session presents nine papers on enhancing food security through packaging; evaluation of a nondestructive benchtop system for leak detection in polymeric trays used as shelf-stable food packaging; nondestructive ultrasonic determination of seal strength of polymeric trays; differentiation of adhesives used in plastic food wrap by sensory evaluation and electronic nose; analysis of retained solvents in printed packaging by electronic nose; whey protein isolate coatings for confectionery products; properties of milk protein–based edible films incorporated with nutraceuticals; oxygen sensors for noninvasive measurements in transparent packages; and wetting properties of foods on plastic packaging. Session 72, Tuesday morning

Effect of packaging on juice sensory properties. T.T. Tan of Alpha M.O.S. will discuss use of electronic noses to screen for problems caused by interactions of packaging with foods and beverages. Fruit juice with and without pulp was stored in a traditional package and in a new packaging material, and the sensory properties of the juices were evaluated with a trained sensory panel and an electronic nose over a 21-day period. The results indicate that electronic noses can help evaluate different packaging materials rapidly. Paper 85-1, Tuesday afternoon

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Monitoring residual solvents. R.E. Wittrig of Restek Corp. will discuss development of chromatographic procedures for monitoring residual solvents in food and food contact packaging materials. Extraction solvents are used in the production of a variety of food products, including fats and oils, cereal grains, coffee, and tea. Residual solvents are a concern both in food products and in food contact packaging materials. In addition to the actual food product, packaging materials should be tested to determine if they contain residual solvents. The materials can be easily sampled using a dynamic headspace purge-and-trap technique, and the chromatographic procedure provides sensitive, qualitative approaches for monitoring residual solvents in foods and food contact materials. Paper 30H-7, Sunday afternoon

Biopolymers for food packaging. G. Swift of GS Polymer Consultants will discuss development of biodegradable plastic packaging to overcome waste-management problems with current plastic materials. Biodegradable plastic packaging has a particularly attractive appeal, especially if food and packaging waste can be simultaneously disposed of in a composting facility. This goal has proven elusive because of the invent new polymers, test them, and balance physical and mechanical properties and cost parameters. The solutions range from completely new polymers to polyolefin modifications. Paper 66-5, Tuesday morning

Testing of polymeric trays. S. Ravishankar of the National Center for Food Safety & Technology will discuss determination of the minimum leak size, under laboratory and commercial conditions, for bacterial entry into polymeric trays used for food packaging. The maintenance of commercial sterility of shelf-stable processed food is an important safety concern. In many cases, the package is the sole barrier to bacterial contamination. Knowledge of how this barrier could be compromised is essential to the food industry. The researcher studied products packaged in PET/EVOH/PP trays with defined channel leaks made across the sealing area of the test trays and pinholes drilled into the lids, to determine the whether bacteria could enter the package. Such information can be used to set pass/fail parameters for leak detection devices. Paper 100A-8, Wednesday morning

Vacuum seamer, the On Command, ensures a secure, tamper-proof, hermetic seam for round, rigid containers. Also available are other types of low-volume packaging and processing equipment, including retorts, steam blanchers, pulper/finishers, and other equipment for laboratory and low-volume canners. Dixie Canner Co., 786 E. Broad St., Athens, GA 30601 (phone 706-549-1914, fax 706-549-0137,, Booth 7721

Oxygen scavenging film, Ageless® OMAC, is ideal for high-water-activity solid and liquid food. It can be made into oxygen-absorbing retortable pouches, standing pouches, and tray covers. Premade high gas barrier bags will be available in the near future. Also available is the Ageless Oxygen Absorber, which is effective for dry foods, meat products, baked goods, coffee, tea, processed foods, pet foods, and other foods. It comes in a variety of shapes and forms, such as packets, continuous strips, cards, and pressure sensitive labels. Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America Inc., 520 Madison Ave., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10022 (phone 212-752-4620, fax 212-758-4012,, Booth 8400

One-way bulk containers, the Liquiplex® LSQ and Drumplex®, allow shippers of liquids to use a commonly available pallet with their container. The containers offer a disposable alternative to conventional 55-gal drums. They are made with corrugated and solid fibre paperboard, resemble and are handled like existing drums, and are easy to break down. The paperboard may be recycled as corrugated waste. The Liquiplex container is available in both octagonal and cubical styles and is capable of handling up to 4,000 lb gross weight. The container is fitted with special multiple-ply polyethylene bag liners equipped with a bottom drain fitment. It is available in capacities of 220, 275, and 330-gal and 1,00 L. Longview Fibre Co., 6055 E. Washington Blvd., Ste. 318, Los Angeles, CA 90040 (phone 323-725-6150, fax 323-725-6341,, Booth 5835


About the Author

IFT Fellow
Editor Emeritus of Food Technology
[email protected]
Neil Mermelstein