New to Gas Flushing and Modified Atmosphere Packaging
Answers on All Aspects of Gas Flushing, Equipment, Terminology and Process
A series of bite sized articles, where you’ll find answers to all your questions about the gas flushing process, or modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), as its also known.
Whether you’re new to MAP, or simply want to brush up your knowledge, check out the links at the bottom of each page, to explore all of the different aspects of gas flushing, the equipment, terminology and process.
And if there’s anything else you’d like to know that we haven’t covered, please get in touch with your question!
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), is where the gas surrounding the packed food product is exchanged for a single gas, or another mixture of gasses.
In Europe the MAP gasses almost exclusively used are those that we normally breathe in the atmosphere, nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Normal atmospheric air contains 78% nitrogen, 20.9% oxygen, 0.9% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide.
Transport & Extended Shelf Life – The primary purpose of using MAP is to extend the shelf life of the product being packed. That gives more time for it to pass through the distribution chain and be safely consumed. MAP is commonly used in conjunction with storage at lower temperatures.
“Gas packing” was first used in the 1930’s for the bulk transport of meat from Australia and New Zealand to the UK. In the 1940’s and 1950’s similar controlled atmospheres were used for storing fruit. It was in UK and Denmark during the 1970’s that MAP started to be used in retail packs. A process that has now been adopted around the world.
Benefits in Food Presentation – In addition to maintaining product shelf life and reducing health hazards related to food, MAP has the huge presentation advantage over other packaging methods. It helps to maintain the natural colour of the food and it’s appeal to the consumer.
Other benefits An alternative to using artificial preservatives, gas flushing reduces product & packaging waste. The product has a longer time in which it can be consumed and it enables users to sell their product into markets that are more remote from the point of production.