Scientists inject ozone into packaging to make food last longer

first_imgFresh food that’s prepared and packaged in a clean environment still only has a shelf life of a few days, even when refrigerated. That in turn means there’s only a very short period of time in which to transport and sell that food, and ultimately it leads to a lot of waste.Improving the shelf life of such food would cut down on waste considerably, and a group of scientists working out of the University of Glasgow think they have a solution.The reason food becomes un-saleable after a few days is because any bacteria, mold, or fungi that remains on the food when packaged starts to take hold. The more of that you can remove, the longer the food will last. So the scientists in Glasgow decided to inject packaged food with ozone.Ozone is already well-known for its bacteria-killing properties. It’s used as a disinfectant, for preparing pharmaceuticals, sanitizing swimming pools, and washing several foods including fruit and vegetables. For packaged food, a retractable device is placed against the plastic (or glass) packaging, which turns some of the oxygen inside into ozone. It then remains in this form for a couple of hours and kills any bacteria/mold/fungi it encounters before reverting back to oxygen.The end result is packaged food with a lot less bacteria contained within it and a treatment that has no impact on its taste. In real terms, it means the food gains at least an extra 24 hours of shelf life, which is a big improvement when you consider some food stuffs currently only lasts a handful of days.The following video shows the difference the ozone injection makes. The muffins in the bags on the right have been treated, and last far longer than the untreated ones on the left:The university has already formed a company around the product called Anacail (which is Gaelic for “shield”). Initially, they intend to sell the required machine to the food industry, but it has uses in many other industries including for medical equipment and eventually as a consumer device for keeping home-prepared food fresher for longer.last_img read more

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