A new review article published online on April 17, 2015 in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, provides an overview of the current active and intelligent packaging systems, as well as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). Korean scientists from the Chung-Ang University and National Academy of Agricultural Science first discuss active packaging incorporating certain additives in the packaging film to extend the shelf life of packed food. Lee and colleagues give examples of active packaging technologies such as the use of oxygen scavengers, carbon dioxide absorbers and generators and others. Further, they discuss the MAP systems. MAP is a packaging technique utilized to prolong the shelf life of fresh food by replacing air in a package with a single gas or mixture of gases that stop, or slow down, the growth of bacteria, yeasts and moulds that spoil food. The authors focus on the most commonly used gases in MAP: oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Finally, the authors discuss intelligent packaging that is capable of carrying out functions such as recording, detecting, tracing, communicating information to extend shelf life, warning of external or internal problems in the product, and others. The authors point out that few of these packaging systems are commercialized because of their high costs, strict safety and hygiene regulations or limited consumer acceptance. They encourage more research to develop cheaper, more easily applicable or effective packaging systems for various foods.

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Lee, S.Y. et al. (2015). “Current topics in active and intelligent food packaging for preservation of fresh foods.Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (published online April 17, 2015).