Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is the predominant method used to extend the shelf-life of fresh poultry. This method changes the composition of the atmosphere surrounding the food within the packaging through the injection of three main gasses into the packaging: carbon dioxide (CO2) to inhibit bacteria and moulds; nitrogen (N2) to avoid oxidation of fats and pack collapse; and oxygen (O2) to prevent anaerobic growth.
In order to overcome these drawbacks, innovative solutions have been developed to avoid food losses not only in households but also in the industry and commercial sectors such as active packaging technologies.
According the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), MAP has the next advantages and disadvantages:
|1. Increased shelf-life allowing less frequent loading of retail shelves||1. Capital cost of gas packaging machinery|
|2. Reduction in retail waste||2. Cost of gases and packaging materials|
|3. Improved presentacion-clear view a product and all round visibility||3. Cost of analytical equipement to ensure that correct gas mixtures are being used|
|4. Hygenic stackable pack, sealed and free product drip and odour||4. Cost of quality assourance systems to prevent to the distribution of leakers, etc.|
|5. Easy separation of sliced products||5. High concentration of CO2 can use flavour tainting, drip loss and pack collapse|
|6. Little or no need for chemical preservatives||6. Potential growth of food-borne pathogens due to temperature abuse by retailers and consumers|
|7. Increased distribution area and reduced transport costs due to less frequent deliveries||7. Benefits are lost once the package is opened|
|8. Centrallised packaging and portion control|
|9. Reduction in production and storage costs due to better utilisation of labour, space and equipment|
Active packaging releases substances to improve conservation or absorb substances capable of damaging the product packaged. This technology includes subsidiary constituents (antioxidants, antifungal, gas absorbers and gas emitters) in or on either the packaging material or the package headspace (as independent elements as sachets or pads) to enhance the performance of the package system. However some of these systems are expensive and are refused by consumers due to the presence of ‘odd elements’ as pads or sachets, and the organoleptic changes produced by the chemicals used. For example, absorbent pads promote bacterial growth (Campylobacter) and reduce the attractiveness of the food for customers and loose particles can stick on the meat.