All Types of Packaging Materials Used to Package Food

Written by richard dixon
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We need food to survive. For safe consumption, food packaging should ensure that food doesn't come in contact with unwanted bacteria or materials. Manufacturers can't use any just type of packaging for food, but must adhere to agency regulations that make sure packaging is safe. Food comes packed in different materials that help protect and preserve it. Also, packaging offers us information about the content and healthiness of the product and allows the producer to advertise.

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Paper and Carton

Some food products are packed in paper bags or carton boxes. Sealed paper bags protect sugar and flour, because bags allow them to "breathe" as much as needed. Products packed in carton boxes (like cereal and crackers) are usually put in a plastic bag prior to the box, for additional protection. Also, some carton boxes are wrapped in plastic film to prevent them from getting dirty and wet (like cigarette packs and tea boxes).

Plastic

The food industry uses plastic widely for food protection in the form of bags, films, containers and boxes. Plastic bags allow for printing and perforation and hold food like bread, chips, cereal and many others. Cling films work for meat protection mostly. Plastic containers contain food like mustard, yoghurt, milk and juices and can have different colours. Manufacturers employ plastic boxes to pack multiple products (ice cream, sour cream, meat, vegetables), as do people at home to store food.

Foam

Foam (usually styrofoam or polythene foam) is a good insulator. It becomes cups, trays and boxes. The trays combined with the cling films serve as meat protection. Foam boxes, mostly in the fast food industry, keep food warm for an extended time.

Glass

Glass bottles and containers (jars) are mostly used to protect liquids and sauces. They break easily, but offer good protection and preservation and are recyclable. A paper label made of thin film lists the product information and attaches to the glass packaging. The first attempt at preserving food for an extended time occurred in France using glass bottles.

Metal

Manufacturers also pack food and beverages in metal cans, usually made of aluminium and steel. Metal can have an airtight seal, so it is used to pack food that needs an extra long preservation time (vegetable, fruit, fish, soup). Bisphenol-A (BPA), sometimes used for inside coating, protects food from contamination by the metal can during the heating process to kill bacteria.

Adhesives

Some products (like fruit and vegetables) have a label attacked directly on them. The label offers information about the producer and usually contains the internal code of the store, to be easily identified and charged. The adhesive used for these labels comes directly in contact with the food. It is safe and does not change the nature, substance or quality of the food.

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