The research will focus on adapting natural, known antimicrobial compounds into commercial packaging systems that will inhibit growth of fungi, mould and bacteria. The packaging will preserve ripe fruits and vegetables without compromising freshness, quality and safety, said Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
“With this new packaging, the quality and distribution of Canadian horticulture products can be extended from one week to more than a month and allows growers to capitalise on global demand for their products,” added the Ministry.
Some C$261,000 (€184,000) has been awarded to Innovative Food Systems Corp and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) scientists to explore new antimicrobial packaging technology.
"The support provided by AAFC is allowing Innovative Food Systems Corp to develop this Canadian born produce packaging system to a new level that provides food safety and security,” said Dr Perry Lidster, company president and CEO.
Increased packaging production
The Government said the scheme could have potential benefits that extend beyond the Canadian agri-food sector and into manufacturing industry through increased production of the packaging.
“Our producers need cutting-edge technologies that will help them remain competitive in the global marketplace,” said MP Dan Albas for Okanagan-Coquihalla. “Investing in these initiatives turns ideas into products. Innovative food packaging has the potential to open new markets for our horticulture sector by helping them ship produce safely over long distances and also to boost our economy by creating production jobs and increasing returns for the Canadian agri-food sector.”
In 2010, the Canadian horticultural industry brought in close to $6bn in farm cash receipts and generated exports of nearly $3.6bn.
This project is funded under the Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP) initiative, which is delivered by the Growing Forward framework under the Agri-Innovations program, a C$158 million five-year program announced to support industry-led science and technology projects.