Nowadays food is packed to a great extent in plastics. Beside the known advantages of transparent plastic packaging materials (protection from outside environment, convenience, information), so called »Active Packaging« possesses still additional functions which can support and prolong the quality and safety of the filled product. For example Active Packaging systems can be equipped with oxygen scavengers in order to avoid food oxidation, they can prevent or delay microbial spoilage by incorporated antimicrobials and they can adjust the moisture conditions within the packaging..
While in former times packed food were stabilized with preservatives, today food are processed on a high hygienic level and the products are filled in pre-sterilized packaging materials. The objective of packaging material sterilization is the reliable killing of pathogenic and food-spoiling micro organisms. Only in this way, a high product quality and safety level can be assured for a long period and to the consumer respectively.
A combination of both approaches, functional packaging and packaging-sterilization, could generate a maximum positive impact concerning food quality and safety. However, Active Packaging systems require gentle or adjusted sterilization treatments for keeping their functionality. Chemical and physical methods could wash out active substances, could oxidise or thermally degrade active components as well as trigger the functionality of the active material. This could influence the performance of the active packaging material or decrease diametrically the efficiency of the sterilisation process. Objective of this project is a systematic examination of the interactions between both technologies.
The IGF project presented here by the Research Association of the Industrial Association for Food Technology and Packaging (IVLV e.V.) is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy via the AiF as part of the program for the promotion of industrial community research (IGF) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.