Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is a technique that has been used for over one hundred years to prolong the shelf life of fresh products including fruit, vegetables, and meat.
The technique is implemented by altering gas levels within the packaging of the product to slow down the decaying process. Gases that are most commonly used in Modified Atmosphere Packaging are Nitrogen (N2), Oxygen (O2) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
MAP is considered to be a safe technique in the preservation of foods, as it does not require any chemicals to be added to the food. The gases that are used are already present in the atmosphere. However, modified atmosphere packaging does require specialist equipment, as well as staff training to ensure it is done properly.
It is important to test gas levels inside the MAP to ensure quality is maintained. Food can spoil before the date indicated on the packaging if the correct gas mixture is not used. Testing is done in one of two ways – production line monitoring and batch testing.
Testing gas levels within Modified Atmosphere Packaging ensures both the quality and safety of the product is maintained.
Batch testing involves selecting a small number of sealed packages, usually around 5-10 consecutively from the production line. These are selected on a regular basis, commonly every 20-30 minutes. A gas analyser, containing a hollow needle is inserted through the film of the Modified Atmosphere Packaging using a septum to protect the packaging. A small sample of the gas is extracted, and the composition of the gases is checked.
The SprintIR range of CO2 Sensors are built on unique, patented LED technology and optical designs that enable best-in-class speed, power consumption and durability.
The SprintIR-R CO2 sensor can capture 50 readings per second, with a 70ppm typical accuracy, making it one of the fastest CO2 sensors on the market. As with all sensors in the SprintIR range, the SprintIR-R is ideally suited for MAP applications where CO2 levels need to be tested quickly.
The SprintIR-R also comes with a flow adapter as standard. Flow rate is critical to the response time of a sensor, including the SprintIR-R. To obtain a good measurement, the old gas needs to be flushed out, and the new gas processed by the sensor.