Simply put, Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is a packaging process where the air inside of a package is flushed out with nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, or a blend of these gases in order to extend the shelf-life of a product. There are some exceptions but in general the goal of MAP is to reduce the oxygen content inside the package as much as possible since O2 is what allows some types of bacteria to flourish and oils/fats to oxidize and go rancid.
The first step after the package has been sealed is to perform a spot test using a device such as the CheckPoint 3 or CheckMate 3. With a proper sampling procedure, this will establish that the package is being adequately flushed with gas. Investing in an inline analyzer such as the MAP Check 3 will ensure that every single package has the correct gas levels since they can be set up to alert the operator and stop the packaging machine if they go outside of tolerances.
Did you know that checking for the proper gas concentration in your package is only the first step in ensuring your product meets shelf life expectations? It is crucial to invest in a high-quality leak detector to make sure that your MAP gas does not escape before reaching consumers; Mocon offers two of these instruments, the LeakPointer 3 and the Lippke 4000 Series Leak and Seal Strength Analyzer and these instruments are capable of delivering a reliable pass/fail result in as little as 10 seconds.
For routine analysis, verifying gas levels and testing for leaks is usually enough.
If you are creating a new product or changing packaging material, it is also important to verify that your packaging material has the barrier properties that are needed to keep oxygen out of the package and away from your product. Meyer Service & Supply Ltd. offers oxygen and water vapour transmission rate tests for films and packages so you can be sure that your packaging materials are what you need. The drawing below shows a simplified diagram showing the oxygen in the room environment, the package wall, and the product side with fewer oxygen molecules; if the wall is too porous, then the oxygen will get in and the atmosphere will equilibrate with the room air.
To learn more about packaging applications, testing standards, and news/views on packaging trends, please visit PackagingIntegrity.com
Meyer Service & Supply Ltd.
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Long Sault, On. K0C 1P0
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