A biological explanation of why food rots and how you can use MAP to prevent it.


Why Products Rot… 

Food decomposition is dependent on three factors:

1. Decomposers: “Decomposers” are microscopic bacteria that are about 1/3 the width of your hair. They are airborne and are perpetually surround us [i]. The decomposers found in and on food are commonly aerobes, which mean they need oxygen/air to grow.

Decomposers land on food or other products such as wood, and immediately start breaking down the organic matter by feeding on it. As the decomposers germinate, strands form that release spores. These strands are what we commonly perceive as mould.

2. Light: In a process called photodegredation, light causes the compounds in food to break down, causing a loss of colour, vitamins, and proteins.

3. Temperature: Temperature increases ultimately cause a further decomposition of organic matter as it is a majPLEX-PACK-PRODUCTS-10-200x300or accelerant of chemical reactions [ii]. It works as a catalyst for photodegredation but can also encourage the germination of decomposers.

How Can Manufacturers Prevent Product Decay? By using Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP).
MAP is a popular form of packaging for food and beverage industry buyers. It commonly works in two ways to aid in the prevention of product decay:

By flushing the package with a gas, such as Nitrogen and/or Carbon dioxide, producers can modify the atmosphere within the package and making it more difficult for aerobic bacteria to grow.
By vacuuming the air out of the package, producers remove a great deal of oxygen, also making it difficult for aerobic bacteria to grow [iii].
Many manufacturers use a combination of these two tactics to prevent product decay.

How Plexpack Helps to Prevent Product Decay: the MPS7103-VGF & VacPack

MPS7500-VGF-vacuum-sealing-system-300x200The Emplex MPS 7103 is a high speed, continuous band sealer equipped with a vacuum and nitrogen gas flush system for creating high quality moisture proof, oxygen free packages. It is ideal for customers that require higher capacity output than our impulse vacuum sealers. Typically, customers requiring more than 15 bags a minute find a greater return on investment by choosing a continuous band vacuum sealer. Our satisfied customers include producers of coffee, snacks, pre-baked goods, electronics, medical products, and fresh or dried food, produce and meat.

Plexpack’s VacPack Series are robust, stainless steel food grade sealers that create vacuum and gas flushed sealed bags for a wide range of package sizes, including extra wide and heavy products. VacPack vacuum sealers employ an ejector style vacuum pump and produce hermetically sealed packages on any heat sealable bag up to 12 mil/300 micron in thickness (6 mil/150 micron maximum when gusseted). The VacPack Series includes the VP2400, VP3000, and VP3600 floor stand models Tabletop models – VP2440, VP3040 and VP3640 are also available. All models include the same washdown, vacuum, gas flush capabilities.

The vacuum and nitrogen gas flush system removes oxygen and creates a moisture-free package, resulting in longer shelf life, product integrity, and protection against discolouration. For snack products a gas flush only system can create a cushion-like buffer against damage.

So… What Other Preventative Measures Can Manufacturers Take?

By using foil packaging, food and beverage manufacturers can prevent light from photodegrading their products. It is also important to consider that different kinds of packaging that may actually encourage bacterial growth and product spoilage. [iv]

With that in mind, we encourage readers to contact one of our industry specialists for a customized packaging consultation. We offer bag sealers, wrappers, bundlers as well as manufacturing automation on a case-to-case basis.

Should you have any questions, please contact me for information on product offerings and solutions.


Thanks for reading!


Jackie Irvine and the Plexpack Team

[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyqOE2Z-MdU

[ii] http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-does-food-rot/

[iii] http://modifiedatmospherepackaging.com/