Pioneering food packaging

EU-funded researchers are pilot testing a pioneering, nano-based packaging material that releases antimicrobial oils to slow food spoilage and prevent foodborne illnesses. This could bolster Europe's efforts to tackle food waste and food safety.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 15 June 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Agriculture & foodFood safety & health risks
Industrial researchMaterials & products
Innovation
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Austria  |  Belgium  |  Denmark  |  France  |  Germany  |  Israel  |  Netherlands  |  Norway  |  Portugal  |  Spain
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Pioneering food packaging

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© bigacis #122685793, 2018. Source: fotolia.com

Every year, we throw away or waste a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of spoiled food, which causes major economic loss and significant harm to the world’s natural resources. Modern packaging and the use of preservatives have come a long way but what if there was a better way to keep food fresh for longer and reduce how much of it ends up as rubbish?

Researchers from the EU-funded NANOPACK project have found a solution for extending food shelf life by using smart antimicrobial surfaces applied to active food packaging. They are now running five pilot production runs of this new polymer composite, based on tiny nanotube formations, to test its technical, industrial and commercial viability.

The project is also considering legal, safety and environmental aspects, as well as consumer and retailer acceptance of the new nanotech-inspired packaging.

Safe and smart

Working at the nanoscale, the team is able to form tiny materials based on natural ‘halloysite nanotubes’ (HNTs), which act as reliable and safe carriers that can deliver minute amounts of an EU-approved bioactive agent or oil to stop food from going bad or becoming mouldy. Due to their minuscule size, HNTs are unable to migrate from the food packaging into food itself, which makes them a safe and natural preservative.

Pioneering antimicrobial food packaging not only improves food safety and reduces food waste – major societal challenges – but this innovation also has the potential to boost European competitiveness and manufacturing growth.

“Better performing, safer and ‘smarter’ products will position Europe as the leader in food nanotechnology,” according to the NANOPACK researchers.

Project details

  • Project acronym: NANOPACK
  • Participants: Israel (Coordinator), Belgium, Austria, Norway, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, France, Germany, Netherlands
  • Project number: 720815
  • Total costs: € 8 799 793
  • EU contribution: € 7 665 218
  • Duration: January 2017 to December 2019

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