Aptar food and beverage, a leader in a broad range of premium active packaging systems and processing equipment for fresh-cut fruits, vegetables, and seafood. The company has launched InvisiShield platform technology — a first of its kind anti-pathogenic packaging solution seamlessly integrated into sealed packages to protect fresh-cut produce from harmful pathogens like bacteria, fungi and viruses. Easy to incorporate into existing or new product packaging lines, the technology mitigates pathogen growth without negatively impacting the product.
“We are extremely proud of our technology and the tremendous amount of work that has led to this launch. We have material science expertise that we are applying to food safety solutions at a critical time when consumers are demanding better and healthier food packaging outcomes,” stated John Belfance, president, Aptar CSP Technologies.
InvisiShield leverages three-Phase Activ-Polymer technology, patented by Aptar CSP Technologies, a division of AptarGroup with more than 20 years of expertise in material science. The three-Phase Activ-Polymer technology is currently used by leading global brands with a wide range of products to extend shelf life, maintain freshness, and improve efficacy in industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and food safety.
The InvisiShield solution is activated within sealed packages to safely and effectively release a specially formulated amount of an anti-pathogenic agent into the fresh-cut produce’s packaging environment that is undetectable to the consumer and dissipates from the package within 24 to 48 hours of activation. This mechanism significantly reduces pathogens that may have been introduced during the supply chain without coming into contact with the product itself. The result is a final intervention step that also reduces cross-contamination within the sealed package.
Third-party validated studies demonstrated InvisiShield technology to be up to 99.9% effective against the most common food-borne pathogens – Pathogenic E coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Human norovirus, Hepatitis A, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni, Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia enterocolitica, Vibrio vulnificus, Geotrichum candidum, Feline calcivirus, and Rotavirus.
As a food safety assurance device, InvisiShield meets a need for heightened defense against food-borne illnesses. The Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) solution offers outbreak mitigation without negatively impacting product organoleptic. In a triangle sensory test conducted at Emory Hospital System, professional chefs evaluated the product and were statistically unable to identify a difference in the color, aroma, flavor, or texture of tomatoes packaged in a standard method versus those packaged with InvisiShield technology.
According to the company, InvisiShield technology can be seamlessly integrated into an existing production line with complete on-site technical support. The technology is available in different packaging configurations, ensuring flexibility and adaptability to a wide range of packaging and delivery systems.
A pilot program is currently underway with Royal Fresh Cuts, which plans to launch its first commercial use of the technology in the second quarter of 2020. “We are excited to partner with Aptar as the first to implement InvisiShield technology, which promises to offer increased food safety to our fresh-cut produce offerings,” said Kevin Whitehurst, owner of Royal Fresh Cuts. Aptar’s Food Protection division is also working closely with Lipman Family Farms and McEntire Produce, two leading food processors, to bring this technology to the broader foodservice community.
The company is currently focused on launching InvisiShield technology for use on tomatoes, onions, peppers, pico de gallo, and sliced apples. In addition to these widely-consumed fresh-cut items, the company is further developing the technology to release different anti-pathogenic agents to improve the safety of leafy greens and berries.
“I am very excited about the potential this technology has to change the way the food industry thinks about food safety,” said Angela Morgan, director of Business Development and Food Safety Solutions for Aptar food and beverage – Food Protection. “We are taking a small but game-changing step in reshaping the food safety paradigm.”