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Giving Compass' Take:
• Food Tank discusses the ongoing revolution in food packaging technologies and explorations into adapting packaging and food preservation technologies to small-scale farmers.
• Can small-scale farmers take advantage of these advances to reduce post-harvest food loss?
“Small farmers typically have used little or no packaging, which can contribute to high food loss and waste due to water loss and physical damage during the post-harvest handling period,” says Dr. Lisa Kitinoja, director of The Post-Harvest Institute. She tells Food Tank, “they have tried to save money by using baskets, sacks, or wooden crates to transport foods from the farm to the market, all of which can damage crops and provide little protection from rain or pests.”
The chemical company Dupont has contributed several new technologies for preventing post-harvest loss. For example, they promote the use of their breathable water-resistant Tyvek technology as a wrap, bag, or cover to protect perishables and reduce food spoilage. Dupont’s h20ex is a plastic film cover for food containers with a high water vapor transmission rate that reduces mold and product weight loss.
Companies like Sealed Air, known for their vacuum-sealed Cryovac brand packaging technology, are expanding into new modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technologies. These MAP technologies use permeable plastics and customize the levels of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide in the packaging to the needs of specific foods. According to a review conducted by researchers at Ho University, MAP controls ripening, reduces water loss in stored products, reduces mechanical injuries, and fosters hygiene of stored products, preventing the spread of food-borne diseases.
Read the full article on preventing food loss by Colton Fagundes at Food Tank.