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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: VISCOELASTIC PROPERTIES OF BIO-BASED ELASTOMERIC COMPOSITES

Location: Plant Polymer Research

Title: Antimicrobial coatings for ensuring safety of fresh produces

Author
item Liu, Sean

Submitted to: International Association for Fresh Produce
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 7, 2009
Publication Date: November 13, 2009
Citation: Liu, S.X. 2009. Antimicrobial coatings for ensuring safety of fresh produces. Fresh Produce. 3:73-79.

Interpretive Summary: The knowledge and information generated by this research will help the food packaging industry develop new antimicrobial packaging materials for food safety and quality using food and agricultural commodities. Safety of fresh produce has been a perennial issue for the industry in the US despite tightening up regulations and implementing good manufacturing practice. The diversity of crops and labor-intense operations in fresh produce production created a unique set of contamination routes that are not common in other food productions. New technologies and procedures have been developed to minimize the occurrences of in-production and shipping/distribution contaminations; however, in order to be effective, these proactive measures have to be implemented and practiced consistently, which is not totally reassuring given the inevitability of human errors or occasional incompetence. Bio-based antimicrobial packaging films or coatings, some edible and others not, can be a solution to this problem. Food or agricultural commodity based materials such as starch-lipid composites, zein, cellulose, starch and their modified products can be and have been used to develop antimicrobial films or coatings that inhibit microbial contamination and provide barrier properties to environmental hazards such as oxygen, moisture and other deleterious substances. Additionally, more bio-based food packaging will result in broader use of agricultural commodities and use of less petroleum-based plastics.

Technical Abstract: Safety of fresh produce has been a perennial issue for the industry in the US despite tightening up regulations and implementing good manufacturing practice. The diversity of crops and labor-intense operations in the fresh produce production created a unique set of contamination routes that are not common in other food productions. New technologies and procedures have been developed to minimize the occurrences of in-production and shipping/distribution contaminations; however, in order to be effective, these proactive measures have to be implemented and practices consistently, which is not totally reassuring given the inevitability of human errors or occasional incompetence. As a consequence, in recent years, many researchers have been looking into development of passive protection of fresh produce from contamination through antimicrobial coatings of fresh produces or antimicrobial packaging materials that are used in fresh produce packing. This examines the current technologies and developments in antimicrobial coatings and antimicrobial food packaging materials as a food safety tool for fresh produce producers.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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