StePac, Tefen, Israel, is changing the traditional shipping method of packing broccoli and other vegetables in ice, with its modified atmosphere/modified humidity packaging.
The packaging, known as MA/MH, also bypasses the need for non-recyclable waxed corrugated cartons, according to a news release.
The company’s Xtend Iceless MA/MH packaging for bulk cartons maintains broccoli’s freshness in transit.
“Xtend Iceless offers a dry — and much leaner and greener — means of transporting fresh produce, wholly eliminating the need for ice,” Gary Ward, StePac’s business development manager, said in the release. “Moreover, it makes waxed cartons totally unnecessary. Xtend Iceless MA/MH packaging is fully recyclable and offers an affordable solution suitable for land or sea freight.
One of the hurdles StePac faced when introducing Extend was how to integrate the modified atmosphere packaging with field-packed produce, according to the release.
“We developed a solution that enables the broccoli to be field-packed in Xtend packaging and then forced air and/or vacuum cooled in the sealed packaging,” Ward said in the release. “This seamlessly integrates the packaging into the existing packing process.”
The system is patented in the U.S. and Mexico.
The traditional ice in a waxed carton method leads to leakage on the vegetables, encouraging growth of plant and human pathogens, according to the news release.
In a study carried out at the Agricultural Research Organization in Israel, Xtend Iceless packaging was shown to be a superior alternative to ice for preserving all around quality, as well as for mitigating bacterial growth on produce during prolonged storage.