Modified atmosphere packaging is a process that has been around for decades now, and as long as it has been used, many perishable products have survived previous conditions and lengths of stay on shelves waiting for customers to buy and consume them. The technology is nothing short of genius, the discovery of which we can all say revolutionized the food industry, as well as other sensitive product industries.
The oxygen we breathe, while it is essential for our lives and that of plants and organisms everywhere, can too be detrimental in the case of packaged fruit, fish and other foods. Because small bacterial activity and metabolic processes continue taking place after picking fruit or cutting meat into their sealed packaging, they eventually go off and unusable in predictable times. This can be changed by carefully modifying the atmospheric composition inside the packaging of whichever food we wish to prolong their lives.
Latest Technology in Modified Atmosphere Packaging.
The technology essentially changes the normal concentrations of the most common found gasses in the air, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide, with concentrations of either the inert Nitrogen or Carbon Dioxide in place of the Oxygen part.
The potato chips we enjoy fresh even a month after packaging, often have no traces of Oxygen in their plastic sealed cases, which are all airtight, and have more of the Nitrogen. The simple fact they the Oxygen would react with oils that are infused with the potato slices during the manufacturing process to give a bad odor and awful taste was discovered early in their production for commerce years and the Oxygen removed, which changed the industry drastically.
Air can either be blown out of the packaging using the desired concentration and immediately sealed, creating a seal with the food inside a controlled environment, or the packaging bag can be drawn of all air, before being inflated with the desired concentrations for prolonged shelf life.
Discovering these methods of sealing fresh food may have been one of the biggest stumbles in the food packaging and transportation business. Not only could food cross into new territories, but it also lasted longer while waiting for a customer to devour it.
For automated food processing and production plants, the sealing in of inert gas environments and other processes that determine the lifetime of a product would have been streamlined and perfected through long sessions of careful observation, making them seamless and almost as though they don’t occur.
The food industry is not the only one that has been shaken into better shape by the modified atmosphere packaging technologies here described, medical prescriptions are also sealed in the precise gases that allow no reaction between the chemical formulation of pills and the outside world, a very crucial move given that the smallest changes in composition or dosage of medical products could fail healing processes, or worse.
As more products get sealed in modified atmosphere packaging, the technologies used to achieve these states will undoubtedly continue to change for the better, and our lives will follow the better trail as well.