> The EU Project Harnessing Nanotechnology to Improve Food Packaging - The Food Safety Company The EU Project Harnessing Nanotechnology to Improve Food Packaging - The Food Safety Company
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    Monday, 12 December 2016

    The EU Project Harnessing Nanotechnology to Improve Food Packaging

    Today, food almost always comes wrapped in some sort of plastic film or wrapper in order to prevent its contamination. Even though such packaging is generally very safe, it’s certainly not unheard of for it to fail in some way. That’s why a new EU project will seek to harness the power of nanotechnology to develop even safer microbe-resistant food packaging.

    Img source: Engadget
    The initiative behind the project is nothing new. In November 2014, the EU revealed similar plans to apply nanotech to cosmetics packaging; led by the Technological Institute for Plastics (AIMPLAS) and the AINIA Technological Centre. Both the earlier cosmetics-based research and that which is now being applied to foods have been in close collaboration with NanoPack, a project which has previously specialised in the production of ‘cost-effective, environmentally friendly barrier materials for the packaging industry.’

    According to Food Quality News, partners in the current project also include Constantia Flexibles, Dawn Meats Group, Arla Foods, Vertech Group Stitching Effost and a unit of Fraunhofer.  This wide coalition of food producers and research organisations for applied science are financially backed by the Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness.

    The 2014 study found the deployment of nanoclay to provide cosmetic packaging materials an increased gas barrier and better properties with regards to strain- and thermal-resistance. The project this year, meanwhile, will focus on the use of natural Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs).

    The project is, indeed, already moving ahead. There are currently plans in place for it to test out its new materials in operational environments, like food packaging manufacturing plants, which will be the scene for the production of the materials themselves.

    Whilst some potential for hiccups does exist (such as the fact that the low-migratory bioactive compounds employed might end up migrating into the food itself), it’s fairly safe to feel a little cautious optimism with regards the fact that this new endeavour could well yield some very significant fruits in terms of food safety and the development of both environmentally-friendly and cost-effective packaging solutions in the future. 

    James Stannard

    James has a Bachelor’s degree in History and wrote his dissertation on beef and protest. His heroes list ranges from Adele to Noam Chomsky: inspirations he’ll be invoking next year when he begins a Master’s degree in London.
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