Fun Food Fact! Did you know that the ‘air’ that you find in a lot of food packaging, is not the same air you and I breathe in every day? The air we breathe on earth is a mixture of roughly 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and minimal amounts of Argon, Carbon Dioxide, Neon, Helium, Methane, Krypton, Hydrogen, Nitrous Oxide and Xenon.Brimblecombe, P. (1996). Air composition and chemistry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Depending on what the optimal mixture of gasses is for a product to prolong its shelf-life, the mixture of gasses in food packaging can vary from 100% Nitrogen gas to 100% Carbon Dioxide gas, to a combination of Nitrogen gas, Carbon Dioxide gas and Oxygen gas.
These gasses can be added to food packaging in a number of different ratios.Robertson, G. L. (2013). Food packaging: principles and practice. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Optimizing the shelf-life of food by changing the atmosphere it is packaged in, is called modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).
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