Active packaging strategies and other technologies may be used in MAP systems, where multiple barriers combining two or more technologies at inhibitory levels provide integrated and enhanced control of microbial growth. Barrier technologies may be selected to serve different roles, such as maintenance of activity even under temperature abuse conditions or failure of MAP atmospheres. Barrier technologies may reduce initial microbial populations on produce prior to packaging and MAP storage, or may be selected specifically to reduce the incidence of a target pathogen of concern.
The path of produce from field to the point of packaging involves many stages where handling and environments can be controlled and optimized to avoid contamination with pathogens or spoilage organisms and to reduce initial microbial load. Good hygiene practices during harvest and storage, optimal postharvest storage and transportation/distribution temperatures, and HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) implementation during processing are basic steps that have been historically incorporated into a multiple barrier approach to microbial control and should include the use of MAP. Use of one or more active packaging technologies, discussed in the previous section, can be excellent additions to a multiple barrier approach; addition of biopreservatives, antagonistic or protective microbial cultures, inclusion of gas absorbers or generators, ultraviolet C (UVC) treatments, and combination atmosphere technologies such as CA and MAP or dual MAP packaging systems can also serve as effective barrier technologies.
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