Linde Canada launches MAP gases for packaged prepared foods

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Linde Canada launches MAP gases for packaged prepared foods

Related tags Shelf life Nitrogen Oxygen

Linde Canada is launching its MAPAX line of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) gases for packaged prepared foods and customized mixtures for food processors.

The company, which is an affiliate of Linde North America, and a member of The Linde Group, is launching the range which can be used for dairy, dry foods, bakery, fish, fruit and vegetables, across Canada.

Carbon dioxide (CO2​), nitrogen (N2​) & oxygen (O2​)

MAPAX inhibits the deterioration of food in a natural way by combining the correct pure gas or gas mixture of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen to keep products fresh, extend shelf life and reduce spoilage.

The gas mixtures consist of carbon dioxide (CO2​), nitrogen (N2​) and oxygen (O2​). Microbial growth can also be inhibited with nitrous oxide (N2​O), argon (Ar) and hydrogen (H2​), applied individually or mixed according to specific ratios.

Drew Sansom, business manager, Beverage/Food/Helium Gases, Linde Canada, said foods protected by MAPAX gas mixtures improve distribution because food can be delivered across longer distances or on a less frequent basis for logistical flexibility.

We're launching the Linde MAPAX product line to provide Canadian food processers with superior products and services to meet the growing consumer trend toward fresh prepared foods​,” he said.

We work with food research institutes in many countries and have numerous food-processing customers worldwide. We also collaborate with the suppliers of packaging materials and machines to create the best atmosphere for each individual application​.

This is influenced by a number of factors, including the foodstuff and its properties, microbial activity, hygiene requirements, pre-packaging delay, temperature, permeability and other properties of the packaging material, the free gas volume within the package and the residual oxygen level​.”

Tray, bagged and pouched products

MAPAX is available for tray, bagged and pouched products, and the company claims it can extend the shelf life of fresh foods by 200% or more compared with packaging in air.

Sansom added, it can extend the shelf life of meat two to three times, and baked goods, three to four times.

For example, in the case of low fat products with a high moisture content, MAP focuses on inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. But, for products with a high fat content and low water activity, oxidation protection is the primary objective.”

CO2​, for instance, is most effective in inhibiting microorganisms (such as mold and other common aerobic bacteria). It does this by dissolving into the food’s liquid and fat phase, reducing its pH value.

It also penetrates biological membranes, causing changes in permeability and function. As an inert gas, nitrogen is primarily used to replace oxygen in packaging, preventing oxidation. Owing to its low solubility in water, nitrogen also helps to prevent package collapse by maintaining internal volume.

Although the oxygen level should be as low as possible in most food packages, meat is an exception. Here oxygen helps to preserve the oxygenated form of myoglobin, which gives meat its red color. It is also valuable for fruit and vegetables as it lets them breathe.

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