Meat processors are relying on technologies to extend product shelf life more than ever before, which puts concerns like shelf-life stability and packaging quality to the forefront of challenges. Although meat-based snack products and pet products come in a variety of packaging formats, they all require package integrity assurance/container closure integrity testing for extended shelf life.
Flexible packaging, particularly pre-made pouches and form-fill-seal pouches and bags, is the most preferred format for meat-based snack foods and pet food products. With its capacity to provide shelf stability and ease of opening, flexible packaging makes for the best package appearance. The market for meat products for animals has grown rapidly, as consumers are willing to spend more and demand higher-quality products. Meat snacks intended for animal consumption as well as human use must be free of mold or product deterioration.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) tray packs are a common packaging option for fresh beef, hog, and poultry products as well as many other processed meats. By significantly reducing spoilage and extending shelf life, the MAP method provides consumers with fresh items that look good. Once an MAP package is sealed, it is essential to maintain the seal integrity to avoid leaks that can let O2 or other environmental pollutants enter the package.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), which can detect leaks as small as 10 microns, is widely used for perishable products. Package integrity can be tested by monitoring the amount of residual oxygen in the headspace of the package. According to the method, the product must be set up for stability and the headspace must be measured at various time intervals. The six-day test, which frequently measures O2 levels over the maximum threshold (about 3%), is used for production purposes. A 50-micron defect significantly reduces a product's shelf life, but it typically passes a six-day O2 test with flying colors. Six days of output are already palletized and stored in case the O2 test identifies a quality issue. Vacuum Decay can find breaches as small as 10 microns, detect oxygen-critical defects in real time at the source, and prevent extensive quality issues.
VeriPac Series for Testing MAP Meat Packages
The VeriPac Vacuum Decay Series of inspection systems have a proven capacity to non-destructively test packaging down to O2 sensitive leak sizes, which reduces waste and enhances testing capabilities. By consistently detecting leakage as tiny as 10 microns, the technology may identify process issues before they become critical. VeriPac offers quantitative data that is correlated to leak rate and leak size in addition to a clear attribute result (PASS or FAIL).
The VeriPac D-Series uses a revolutionary FLEX-Chamber to test flexible packaging formats since it is resistant to package changes and removes the requirement for changeover when testing different size pouches. Additionally, more than one package may be tested during a single test cycle. The VeriPac Series utilizes a rigid packaging test chamber for MAP Meat Tray Package testing. Depending on the needs of the production, the test system operation can be set up for either semi-automatic or manual operation.
Advantages of VeriPac Series
- Non-destructive, no sample preparation.
- Deterministic, quantitative test method.
- Defect detection down to 0.2 ccm.
- High level of sensitivity, repeatability and accuracy.
- Short cycle time provides operators with PASS/FAIL results.
- Small footprint and modular portable design.
- ASTM test method and FDA standard.
- Referenced in USP 1207 guidance.
Since it eliminates subjective results, the VeriPac series is a practical alternative to destructive testing. Case studies have proven that Vacuum decay leak testing technology offers a rapid return on investment when evaluating the dramatic decrease in waste created by destructive test techniques.