Download PDF
July 3, 2018

EU-Funded Researchers Testing Nano-Based Food Packaging

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The European Commission (EC) announced on June 15, 2018, that researchers from the European Union (EU)-funded NANOPACK project found a solution for extending food shelf-life by using smart antimicrobial surfaces applied to active food packaging.  According to the EC, the researchers are now running five pilot production runs of the new polymer composite, based on tiny nanotube formations, to test its technical, industrial, and commercial viability.  The researchers “form tiny materials based on natural ‘halloysite nanotubes’ (HNTs), which act as reliable and safe carriers that can deliver minute amounts of an EU-approved bioactive agent or oil to stop food from going bad or becoming mouldy.”  The EC states that due to their “minuscule size,” HNTs are unable to migrate from the food packaging into food itself, making them a “safe and natural preservative.”  The EC notes that the project is also considering legal, safety, and environmental aspects, as well as consumer and retailer acceptance of the new nanotech-inspired packaging.