Changing lifestyles have dictated the need for foods that offer convenience to the consumer in a myriad of ways, such as minimizing preparation time, easy opening of the container and single service, while also offering high quality throughout an extended shelf life. Plastic packaging has responded to these demands, and creativity with plastics has been limited only by the imagination of the designer. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is not a new concept; it has been used in one form or another for over a century, but research on MAP has advanced methods substantially way beyond the simple but elegant idea of changing the normal composition of air within a package from 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen and less than 0.1% carbon dioxide. Modification of the package headspace by reducing the oxygen content while increasing the levels of carbon dioxide and/or nitrogen has been shown to significantly extend the shelf life of perishable foods at chill temperatures (Table 1.1). MAP has evolved sufficiently to require definitions of the terminology used to describe the many variations and the multiple means of generating the atmosphere.
KeywordsShelf Life Modify Atmosphere Packaging Fresh Meat Vacuum Packaging Extend Shelf Life
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