Doctorate in new packaging method

That little nappy thing you often find in the bottom of packs of meat or fish could soon be replaced by a so-called CO2 emitter. Anlaug Ådland Hansen's doctorate shows that new packs with emitters will be the packaging solution of tomorrow.

Anlaug has been researching different packaging methods for fresh salmon and farmed cod. She has compared modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) combined with CO2 emitter with traditional MAP, vacuum packaging and air packaging.

The idea has been to find out whether it is possible to reduce the volume of gas in normal MAP packs, without losing quality or shelf life. The fish was filleted pre-rigor (immediately after slaughter and before rigor mortis had set in). This gives the flesh a better quality. When the CO2 emitter absorbs moisture from the fish, CO2 is released into the pack. Results show that combining MAP with emitters is a profitable packaging method that assures quality.

This solution brings many product quality and transportation benefits. The research has also shown that the CO2 emitter works equally well in consumer packs and in distribution packs, in which the fish is in several layers.

The advantages of the new packaging method can be summarised as:

  • room for more fish per transportation unit and pack
  • takes up less space on supermarket shelves
  • needs less packaging material per kilo of fish
  • needs less packing gas

The research shows that important quality parameters such as colour, smell, texture and fluid loss are at least as good with the CO2 emitter as with traditional gas packaging. Compared with both vacuum and air packaging, MAP with CO2 emitter gives increased product quality, reduced bacterial growth, longer shelf life and a better degree of fill.

The doctorate work has been carried out as part of the MarinePack project, which is financed by the Research Council of Norway (VAREMAT). The results of this work have led to new projects financed by the Research Council of Norway’s Food Programme. Anlaug Ådland Hansen is continuing as a research scientist at Nofima Mat after completing the doctorate.

Pictures: Anlaug Ådland Hansen

Packing fresh cod and salmon

Contact: Anlaug Ådland Hansen

Anlaug Ådland Hansen had her doctoral disputation on 12 December 2008

Relevant items:
CO2 emitter for fish and meat

Food safety and quality  

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