MAP (modified atmosphere packaging) and Vacuum packaging


Generally, by using modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) an increase in sensory shelf life can be obtained, compared to traditional air storage. The magnitude of the increase depends on various factors such as the composition of the gas mixture, storage temperature, raw material quality and pack size as can be seen here. More information about storage temperature and raw material quality can also be seen here and here (Icelandic report, English abstract).

Lower levels of carbon dioxide are generally used to reduce water loss and textural defects. The use of nitrogen to replace oxygen or vacuum packaging does not lead to as much freshness extension in marine fresh fish products. In fact, a low oxygen tension generally leads to a more rapid TMA formation in the packaged products, hence having a negative impact. Vacuum packaging of marine fish products has not been found to be a better alternative to MAP. Previous work at our lab has shown that at 0°C, vacuum packing of haddock or cod fillets do not markedly increase shelf life in comparison with air storage.

Temperature considerably influences the efficacy of MAP as a means to extend sensory shelf life of fish fillets. Generally, a 4-5°C increase in product temperature leads to about 50% decrease in freshness period and shelf life. At 7°C, added value provided by MA-packaging is totally lost. However, synergism of superchilling and MA can lead to a considerable shelf life increase for loins/fillets.


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