Kata Galic - Articles and news items

Plastic packaging for fish and seafood

Issue 5 2012  •  6 November 2012  •  Kata Galić, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb

In the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in the amount of plastics being used in food packaging applications. This is because plastics bring in enormous advantages, such as thermosealability, flexibility in thermal and mechanical properties, permit integrated processes (i.e. plastic packages can be formed, filled and sealed in a continuous manner within the production line), lightness and low price. However, polymers do also have a number of limitations for certain applications when compared with more traditional materials like metals and glass.

The chief limitation is their inherent permeability to the transport of low molecular weight components which leads to issues such as food oxidation by penetration of oxygen, migration of elements from the plastic and scalping of food components on the packaging, with consequent losses in food quality and safety attributes. Among these, the potential migration beyond the legal limits of polymer constituents and additives is perhaps the most widely recognised issue regarding packaged food safety. In spite of this, plastic materials continue to expand and replace the conventional use of tinplated steel cans and glass. Initially, most plastic packaging was made of monolayer semi-rigid or flexible materials but, as the advantages of plastic packaging became more established and developed, the increasingly demanding food product requirements led, in conjunction with significant advances in plastic processing technologies, to more and more complex polymeric packaging formulations.

The quality and safety of flexible packaging materials

Issue 2 2011  •  13 May 2011  •  Kata Galić, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb

Food contact materials (FCMs) comprise a broad and complex area, using many different types of materials and articles, as well as many different chemical substances such as additives in the materials and articles. The intent of packaging is to maintain its function of protecting the integrity, quality, freshness and safety of foods from the manufacturing plant through transport, shelf life and storage.

With the tremendous variety of plastic packaging materials available today, there are many possible combinations. The simplest structures may consist of just one or two layers. The more complicated structures can easily exceed eight layers, including all of the components such as primers, inks and tie layers.