Technological and Health Considerations of Modern Food Packaging

  • Frank A. Paine


Hygiene and cleanliness in food are two of the most important factors in maintaining the health of the consumer. In addition, the nutritional value of the food must be retained from the natural product through food processing into the hands of the consumer. Packaging has a vital part to play in the process of delivering food in good condition to all kinds of consumer.

Almost all food products, whether in the natural state or processed, will be packaged for distribution. The basic Junctions of packaging are to identify the product, to protect it and to carry it safely through the distribution chain to the consumer.

Since product damage is caused either by climatic conditions or by physical environments, determining the protection needed and constructing packaging to provide it is principally done by chemists and engineers. It follows that the technologists producing structural designs for packages must understand:
  1. 1.

    How to test packages against shock and vibration.

  2. 2.

    How to ensure compatibility between package and product.

  3. 3.

    How to produce test packs and check their adequacy against a target shelf-life and distribution pattern. They must, therefore, know about materials, about sources and about the relative economics of packaging.


The food packaging technologist therefore starts with specifications for quality and shelf-life of products, plus marketing targets concerned with content size (number, volume or weight), and ends with the production of a complete and tested specification for packaging that will protect the product and can be handled in production and distribution while remaining absolutely economic. It is important to recognise that this specification should cover all levels of packaging necessary, i.e. primary packaging for the consumer, secondary packaging for the manufacturer and retailer, and tertiary packaging for the distribution system between farm, warehouse and store.

The paper will consider some of the functions of food packaging in relation to the deterioration indices for food, the types of food processing generally employed and the protective properties of packaging materials. It seeks to correlate and interrelate these various, sometimes conflicting, aspects with the technology of packaging machinery, to illustrate the ways in which packaging makes positive contributions to the health of the nation.


Packaging Material Environment Food Food Packaging Drop Height Stone Coal 
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    Gordon, G. A. (1977). Obtaining information on the hazards to packages during distribution. PK4(R)/1977, PIRA, Leatherhead.Google Scholar
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    Mostyn, H. P. and Paine, F. A. (1977). Use of ‘cage pallets’ in retail distribution. PK2(R)/1977, PIRA, Leatherhead.Google Scholar
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    Briston, J. and Katan, L. L. (1974). Plastics in contact with food. Food Trade Press Ltd, London.Google Scholar
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    Adcock, L. H. (1977). Chemistry and migration problems. PK11(R)/1977, PIRA, Leatherhead.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Paine, F. A. (1977). Problems with flexible packaging of biscuits. PK8(R)/1977, PIRA, Leatherhead.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Applied Science Publishers Ltd 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank A. Paine
    • 1
  1. 1.PIRALeatherheadUK

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