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Natural Antimicrobials for Innovative and Safe Packaging

Funding: Collaborative Project in the 7th Research Framework Programme
Project Duration: 01.11.2008 01.11.2011
Project Manager: Marie Shrestha

Packaging plays a crucial role in the food supply chain since its most important functions are preservation and protection of food. The industry needs effective packaging systems to preserve the food safely during distribution and storage. This leads to the need for developing innovative and safety modern packaging solutions that will improve food quality and increase shelf life.

Active food contact materials are intended to extend the shelf life or to maintain or improve the condition of packaged food. They are designed to deliberately incorporate components that would release or absorb substances into or from the packaged food or the environment surrounding the food. On the other hand, intelligent food contact materials are intended to monitor the condition of packaged food or the environment surrounding the food. Intelligent packaging systems can provide rapid, low cost, package integrated ways to determine the quality of food in consumer packages throughout the logistics chain from producer to consumer.

The main objectives of the NAFISPACK project are:

  1. Development of innovative and safe packaging systems in order to increase fresh product shelf life by using two novel packaging technologies: antimicrobial active packaging and intelligent packaging. The target food products are: fresh fish, chicken, and minimally processed vegetables (MPVs).
  2. Development of a safety assessment methodology that includes the chemical characterisation and toxicological profile of intentionally and non-intentionally added substances present in these new packaging materials and that might migrate to the foodstuffs. Additionally microbiological studies are also included.

The objectives will be achieved through:

  • Evaluation of suitability/feasibility of Natural Antimicrobials for food packaging applications.
  • Development of effective antimicrobial food materials for package design.
  • Design and up scaling in pilot plants the materials previously developed to obtain a real food packaging systems.
  • Development of intelligent food packaging solutions.
  • Providing risk assessments and new risk assessment models for new active and intelligent packaging solutions developed (microbiology, migration and toxicology).
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of the developed packaging solutions for providing a longer shelf-life by maintaining the chemical, physical and sensorial quality of the foods on a higher level than existing packages do.
  • Obtaining tools to assure recyclability of the new packaging solutions developed, and assess the risk versus the benefit for these materials to be used as recycled materials.

The team comprising 17 partners from 7 countries, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden will work on the innovative developments of NAFISPACK project. The project may be a contribution to the European Union´s positive list, considering its positive ecological characteristics and the customer-friendly nature.

Within the project framework, the 1st Nafispack Conference will take place on 22 April 2010 in Brussels concerning the topic "Natural Antimicrobials for Innovative and Safe Packaging". You can find more information here.

In addition, the ttz project manager Ewa Pacholewicz will participate at the Campden BRI seminar. She will lecture about "Natural antimicrobials in food packaging technologies to avoid loss of perishable food". More information are available here.