Fruit and Vegetable Films Keep Food Fresh
and Tasty By Kathryn Barry Stelljes
December 18, 2000
Edible films made from pureed fruits and vegetables can add
shelf-life and tantalizing new flavors to lightly processed foods such as cut
produce, Agricultural Research Service
scientists reported Saturday in Honolulu.
ARS food technologist Tara McHugh developed the films from
produce like apples, oranges, carrots and strawberries. Some films also contain
Food and Drug Administration-approved oils
and antioxidants. She then applied the thin, opaque films to cut apples. The
films controlled browning and prevented moisture loss better than several types
An added benefit: The films could provide new flavor
combinations, such as a strawberry film on cut bananas or an apple glaze on
McHugh presented results of her research at the
Congress of Pacific Basin Societies. She works at the
ARS Western Regional Research Center in
Sheets of pureed fruit have long been available as snack foods.
But McHugh is the first to explore produce-based films to enhance storage and
flavor. ARS has applied for a patent on the edible films (application no.
ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Tara McHugh, ARS Western Regional
Research Center, Process Chemistry and
Engineering Research Unit, Albany, Calif., phone (510) 559-5864, fax (510)