LAS VEGAS - - Performance Packaging of Nevada, a worldwide innovative supplier of flexible packaging, packaging machinery and folding cartons, has received authorization from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for its AIRSHIELD™ technology for direct food and beverage contact applications. The AIRSHIELD™ process is designed to remove oxygen from rigid and flexible packages such as pouches and packages containing fitments or solid closures. AIRSHIELD™ provides greater efficiencies of (1) oxygen removal and volume levels, (2) saving money and (3) is self-triggering once package-filling begins.
In development for three years, AIRSHIELD™ will be available to food and beverage processors and packagers during the first quarter of 2018. Early licensing, now in effect, will provide AIRSHIELD™ customers with certain exclusivities for use of the patent-pending technology.
“AIRSHIELD™ provides oxygen ‘scavenging’ (the removal of oxygen) and an oxygen barrier all in one product,” explained Rob Reinders, president of Performance Packaging. “One big benefit is that AIRSHIELD™ remains dormant until the package is filled with product. This is a HUGE advantage particularly with blow-molded PET bottles. Current scavengers in the PET market activate once the bottle is made, limiting the time processors have to fill the bottles. Combined with a print application on the substrate, this portrays truly active packaging!” Reinders added.
It has also been proven that AIRSHIELD™ continuously scavenges oxygen from products that release their own oxygen into the package. The continuing release of oxygen over time internally degrades the product in the package.
AIRSHIELD™ is an additive which removes the oxygen that is trapped during the filling process and then acts as an enhanced-oxygen barrier to keep the oxygen out of the container to extend the product’s shelf life. The additive is less expensive than most polymers it replaces.
The FDA affirmed that the additives in the oxygen scavenger mix are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) and has issued Letters of No Objection regarding the use of AIRSHIELD™ for any food contact packaging containers as well as food packaging for infants specifically under the age of six months. AIRSHIELD™ for infants can be found in flexible pouches of foods through Performance Packaging’s patented offering SipP™ spouts and caps for pouches.
While highly proprietary, it can be acknowledged that AIRSHIELD™’s technical components are constructed to ensure they don't start working until food is placed into the package. Any oxygen permeating through the pouch encounters tortuosity (a maze-like pathfor oxygen permeation created by the addition of mineral compounds in the package). The addition of AIRSHIELD™ facilitates oxidation in the presence of moisture, thus giving AIRSHIELD™ its unique capabilities.
Other Food Packaging Developments Recently Achieved by Performance Packaging
The introduction of AIRSHIELD™ follows an announcement by Performance Packaging in late 2015 regarding the company’s “Pixie Dust” capability: a new and economical way to sterilize flexible packaging and its contents. The patented process features a ‘liquid-togas’ sterilization process that is so unique it has been code-named “Pixie Dust” by the company.
Performance Packaging is partnering to introduce magnetic induction heating as a more energy efficient and economically friendly replacement for tube in tube heat exchangers used in food processing. Magnetic induction has a vastly smaller footprint, is modular, less expensive, safer and provides a milder heat treatment compared to steam and tube in tube. The technology is leading the way in what is expected to be the all-electric future of food processing.
“Magnetic induction will cut food waste in processing tenfold,” Reinders commented. “This is the primary concern of the major multinationals and governments around the world. It also reduces the environmental footprint of water, power and steam currently used in the pasteurization process.”