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Antimicrobial Processing Films To Reduce Food-Borne Illness

In the past few years, more and more companies have been working vigorously to develop antimicrobial food packaging films. As opposed to traditional plastic wrap, these films would help reduce the risk of dangerous food-borne illnesses such as Listeria and Salmonella in raw meats. In addition to creating an impenetrable barrier between the interior and exterior of the packaging, some of these antimicrobial films could also inhibit the growth of microorganisms on food surfaces. Here we’ll take a closer look at the development of films and reveal whether or not they’re worth looking into.

One of the major companies working on the development of antimicrobial processing films is the American chemical company DuPont. In September, 2009, DuPont Teijin Films announced their antimicrobial results at the Biocides in Synthetic Materials Conference in Berlin, Germany. According to the conference, DuPont Teijin Films has developed a antimicrobial solution which can be added to traditional polyester packaging film. Although the product isn’t currently on the market, the company has already proven it to meet government regulatory standards.

Another company actively working on antimicrobial solutions is the global food sanitization and safety company Ecolab. Their solution is a antimicrobial coating which could be used on food processors and packaging films to reduce the risk of contamination and the growth of dangerous pathogens for up to 30 days. The coating is actually sprayed onto the surface of packaging films or other materials and becomes active once it dries. Test trials on their antimicrobial spray are still underway in North America, Canada and Europe.

Students at the University of Georgia have released a report stating the positive effects of sorbic acid on food processing film. According to the report, sorbic acid has unique antimicrobial properties which inhibited the growth of a number of dangerous bacteria strands. It’s important to note that this was simply a test regarding the properties of sorbic acid on bacteria strands and not the research of a product. If other companies began further testing and development using sorbic acid, perhaps we’ll see a new and improved type of food processing film in the future.

Once some of these antimicrobial processing film solutions hit the market, the industry is sure to see far fewer food-borne illness cases as well as product recalls. According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 6 U.S. residents will get some type of food poisoning each year. While antimicrobial films wont prevent all food-borne illnesses from happening, it’s certain to reduce the numbers.

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