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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality & Safety Assessment Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336718

Research Project: Assessment and Improvement of Poultry Meat, Egg, and Feed Quality

Location: Quality & Safety Assessment Research

Title: Modified-atmosphere packaging for nonthermal processing of food – high CO2 package for fresh meat and produce

Author
item Zhuang, Hong
item Bowker, Brian
item Barth, M. - Appalachian State University
item Zhang, Jianhao - Nanjing Agricultural University

Submitted to: Packaging for Nonthermal Processing of Food, Second Edition
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2017
Publication Date: 2/23/2018
Citation: Zhuang, H., Bowker, B.C., Barth, M.M., Zhang, J. 2018. Modified-atmosphere packaging for nonthermal processing of food – high CO2 package for fresh meat and produce. Packaging for Nonthermal Processing of Food, Second Edition. doi:10.1002/9781119126881.ch4.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119126881.ch4

Interpretive Summary: Nonthermal processes are food preservation methods intended to inactivate both spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms at temperatures below those used for thermal pasteurization in order to retain sensory attributes and nutrient content similar to raw or fresh products. However, for the majority of currently tested or marketed nonthermal technologies, one of the challenges is that they are typically not as effective as thermal processing for achieving microbiological sterility. Therefore, hurdle technologies, which use several methods to treat the same product, inhibit or kill contaminating microbes, and to preserve food, have been suggested to achieve optimal microbial control in nonthermal treatments. One of the hurdle methods being widely investigated is modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP). Modified-atmosphere packaging changes the air surrounding the food in the package to a desired composition to inhibit microbial growth as well as slow down the natural deterioration processes and has been successfully used for fresh meat and produce products for decades. High CO2 MAP uses the antimicrobial effects of high levels of CO2 gas in packages to inhibit microbial growth on food products and extend shelf life. High CO2 MAP has been successfully applied in raw meat packaging for shelf life extension. Recent research combining nonthermal processing technologies and high CO2 MAP suggests that these new technologies can further extend the shelf life of raw meat with high CO2 MAP. In addition, our study also indicates that high CO2 MAP can also be used for fresh-cut produce packed with microperforated films. However, the shelf life extension provided by high CO2 MAP will depend upon the initial microflora on the products. The destruction of lactic acid bacteria from products before packaging plays a key role in determining the success of high CO2 MAP in fresh produce applications. It is concluded that if a nonthermal processing technology could effectively eliminate anaerobic spoilage bacteria, such as lactic acid bacteria, high CO2 MAP would be a very effective hurdle technology for further enhancing shelf life of nonthermally-processed food products.

Technical Abstract: Modified-atmosphere packaging has been considered as a hurdle technology for extending both microbiological quality and shelf life of nonthermally-processed food. High CO2 MAP uses the antimicrobial effects of high levels of CO2 gas in packages to inhibit microbial growth on food products and extend shelf life. High CO2 MAP has been successfully applied in raw meat packaging for shelf life extension. Recent research combining nonthermal processing technologies or active packaging and high CO2 MAP suggests that these new technologies can further extend the shelf life of raw meat with high CO2 MAP. In addition, laboratory trials indicate that high CO2 MAP can also be used for fresh-cut produce. However, the shelf life extension provided by high CO2 MAP will depend upon the initial microflora on the products. The destruction of lactic acid bacteria from products before packaging plays a key role in determining the success of high CO2 MAP in fresh produce applications. Based on accumulated research and application data, we conclude that if a nonthermal processing technology could effectively eliminate anaerobic spoilage bacteria, such as lactic acid bacteria, high CO2 MAP would be a very effective hurdle technology for further enhancing shelf life stability of raw meat products and retaining shelf life in fresh produce.