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Packaging From November 2009 newsletter

Food packaging research

Our recent member subscription-funded work will help provide vital information to the food industry on the use and application of biodegradable and compostable food packaging materials, and in the testing and characterization of both conventional and biodegradable materials. A library of information has been compiled, containing the properties and technical data for biodegradable and compostable materials. This is facilitating our advisory service to clients on various aspects of this developing area, and an updated review will soon be published on the many factors that have to be considered when contemplating the use of biodegradable packaging. In addition, the production of a mass spectral library of conventional packaging components has allowed us to monitor the movement of compounds both from food to packaging and from packaging to food over shelf life.

We have also been addressing the applications of oxygen scavengers; these can be used with a wide range of products where oxygen can be detrimental to product quality, including high fat products, bakery goods and dried ingredients.To select the most appropriate oxygen scavenger, a number of factors need to be considered, including: the initial level of oxygen within the pack, the headspace volume and the oxygen transmission rates of the packaging material. An example protocol for evaluating their effectiveness in specific situations (R&D Report 289 - A protocol to determine the effectiveness of oxygen scavengers) is available electronically by sending an e-mail to with the subject line: send RD289.

Contact: Alan Campbell
+44(0)1386 842081