It is that time of the morning when everyone in the house is in a mad rush to hit the road to school or to work. Breakfast is something that is supposed to be quick and easy. No fuss, no mess, just some milk and cereal and we are on our way. Well……. that would be the case if you could only get that darn plastic pouch to open. The plastic Ziploc is well and truly zipped. Then making the next mistake of thinking that the carton box will be an easier conquest, only to discover that when you have managed to eventually pry the glued or perforated seal open, there is an extremely tear resistant inner package waiting inside for you.
Rewind back to the good old days when packaging did not require an instruction manual or specialised tools to open and protecting food from potential acts of sabotage and bioterrorism were scenes from the next science fiction movie. Fast forward to today, and now there is a whole new market for innovative packaging that not only protects the product but also the environment and suddenly, we realize that science fiction has merged with reality. The packaging industry, which is extremely dynamic, and continuously developing improvements to applications and technologies in order to meet customer requirements while simultaneously saving the planet, is on the forefront of this revelation.
Two of the functions of any packaging, is to contain and protect the product. These functions are very closely interlinked and play an important role regarding the quality and shelf life of consumable products. Most products are packaged at some point in the food chain as the majority of these cannot be moved or transported unless they are contained.
Ok, so aside from the frustration of trying to open packages in a hurry and the gratification and acknowledgement that the product is well and truly protected, should we still be concerned about the chemicals used to manufacture these new super advanced packaging materials? We have all been cautioned against the use certain plastics, foils and coated paper products for food contact packaging in the past, but how valid are these warnings now? Is there some hidden or yet undiscovered substance lurking in the packaging waiting to send the consumer watch dogs into a new frenzy?
Stay tuned for the next few articles where we will be taking an in depth look at the good, the bad and the ugly in the packaging industry and where we will be separating the myths from the facts.
In the meantime, keep a good sharp pair of kitchen scissors handy for opening those breakfast pouches and cartons in a hurry.
Check out our Legislation Section... Act 13 of 1929
Sensory analysis - Methods for assessing modifications to the flavour of foodstuffs due to packaging
Assessment of tainting of foodstuffs by packaging materials