Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 19, 2007
Publication Date: August 30, 2007
Citation: Baldwin, E.A. 2007. Surface treatments and edible coatings in food preservation. In: Rahman, M.S., editor. Handbook of Food Preservation. 2nd edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 477-507.
Interpretive Summary: Consumer interest in health, nutrition and food safety combined with environmental concerns has renewed efforts in edible coating research. Renewable and abundant resources are available for use as film-forming agents that could potentially reduce the need for synthetic packaging films that add to waste-disposal problems. Alternatives to petroleum-based packaging include naturally occurring lipid, resin, protein, and carbohydrate film formers and their derivatives.
The use of synthetic and natural waxes and resins to coat fresh fruits and vegetables has been researched and practiced in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia since the 1930s. Development of edible coatings for use on meat products was fist reported in the late 1950s. Currently, edible coatings and films are commonly used on many commodities, such as candies, fresh whole and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, and processed meat. New research seeks to expand and improve coating technologies and materials to further enhance food stability and quality. Other surface treatments for foods include application of antioxidants, acidulants (or other pH –control agents), fungicides, preservatives, and mineral salts.