Emco granted patent for OxyFresh tech

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hydrogen peroxide Water

OxyFresh technology from Emco has been granted a UK patent
OxyFresh technology from Emco has been granted a UK patent
Emco Packaging has been granted a GB patent for its packaging inclusion which controls or modifies the atmosphere to extend shelf life.

OxyFresh is targeted at whole fresh produce such as soft fruits, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and stone fruit.

The inclusion is made up of of a fill material that reacts with water vapour to generate oxygen and absorb or generate carbon dioxide.

It involves an envelope impermeable to liquid water and permeable to water vapour and gases.

The decision to grant the GB patent (read about the initial filing here​) will be officially published later this week and the firm are awaiting Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) backing to roll out the technology globally.

Full commercialisation

John Hirst, managing director of Emco, told FoodProductionDaily.com that the patent grant “draws a line in the sand​” for the firm.

“We can now fully commercialise the product, it is granting authority for us to use it and nobody else, the reactant, the technology and the make-up of the application and no-one can duplicate that.

“The primary application is soft fruit as it is high value and has a short shelf life.

“Trials with Marks and Spencer showed double shelf life against non OxyFresh products and a reduction in waste.”

The trials with the UK retail firm were conducted with half a million trays for strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

OxyFresh is also being trialled on salads, new potatoes, cherries, meat applications and bulk bags in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for grapes and bananas which are shipped around the world.   

EFSA approval

In April, a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel​ evaluated and approved the powder mixture of the active substances sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate coated with sodium carbonate and sodium silicate, bentonite, sodium chloride, sodium carbonate.

Hirst said the decision was essential under the existing regulations as they would not have been able to continue using the product if it was rejected.

Based on the conclusion in the EU Risk Assessment Report that hydrogen peroxide is not classified as a mutagen and results from a subchronic toxicity study with hydrogen peroxide, the panel concluded that hydrogen peroxide does not raise a safety concern under the intended conditions of use.

“The substances should be used in sachets which prevent the release of the powder mixture into the food. Sachets should not be in direct contact with food or food exudates​,” clarified the panel.

The document involves the powder mixture being placed in a nonwoven polyethylene sachet separated from the food by a pad.

Hirst added they have undertaken considerable development in fresh cut fruit and currently have a waterproof version of the OxyFresh sachet being considered by the authority.

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