Why perishable liquid food needs a deeper assessment of EU policy
Health care

Why perishable liquid meals wants a deeper evaluation of EU coverage

Day-after-day, we depend on meals like milk, juices, nectars and natural drinks for our every day diet. However do we all know how these high-quality perishable liquid meals attain our houses?

The EU produces 154 billion liters of perishable liquid meals[1] every year,[2] And making them secure and out there to all Europeans is of basic significance to the meals trade. Most of these meals will deteriorate and spoil in brief durations of time if not correctly processed, packaged or saved at temperatures between 4C and -18C. Failure to adequately defend such meals may pose dangers to human well being and hinder the acceleration of the transition to sustainable meals methods in Europe.

Thankfully, there are already confirmed options for the secure dealing with of delicate liquid meals, particularly these offered by aseptic processing and packaging, corresponding to paper-based beverage cartons. Right here, all the things within the manufacturing chain is commercially sterile, together with the meals, packaging supplies and tools, in addition to the atmosphere by which the meals is packaged.

With the proposed EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), European coverage makers have a transparent alternative to play their half in defending EU residents’ entry to adequate on a regular basis perishables with out placing them in danger the insurance coverage. And so they can do that by minimizing meals loss and waste and decreasing CO2emissions.

The function of aseptic packaging and expertise within the safety of perishable liquid meals

Greater than 70 years in the past, Tetra Pak pioneered the usage of aseptic processing and packaging options, which assist hold perishable liquid meals secure and flavorful for as much as a 12 months, with out the necessity for refrigeration or preservatives, whereas sustaining coloration, their texture, taste and style. diet.

In distinction, non-aseptic options provide a a lot shorter shelf life of 1 to 4 weeks[3] for perishable meals and drinks.

Over 70 years in the past, Tetra Pak pioneered the usage of aseptic processing and packaging options.

Protecting perishable meals secure for longer additionally implies that the chance of producing extra meals waste is lowered in comparison with non-aseptic methods. Analysis printed within the Journal of Cleaner Manufacturing states that on common every EU citizen wastes 127kg of meals per 12 months[4] Curiously sufficient, that is nearly twice the typical physique weight of residents.

With out the usage of aseptic packaging and expertise there can also be well being dangers as a consequence of elevated pathogen development. To be extra particular, perishable merchandise ought to be saved at pH <3.7 and saved between 4C and -18C all through their worth chain to at the least exclude bacterial foodborne pathogens.[5]

Resulting from their excessive share of renewable supplies, aseptic beverage cans additionally rating higher when it comes to local weather influence in comparison with different packaging choices for perishable liquid meals.[6]

For these causes, EU milk, juice and nectar producers proceed to favor the mixture of aseptic filling expertise with aseptic beverage cans: three-quarters of milk bought within the EU is packaged in beverage cartons;[7] together with almost two-thirds of the juices.[8]

Aseptic beverage cans additionally rating higher when it comes to local weather influence.

The subsequent query is whether or not aseptic beverage cans are recyclable. And the reply is sure, they’re collected and recycled on a scale the place waste administration and recycling infrastructure exists. That is the case within the EU, which has a group price of over 50 % for recycling.[9] The trade has already invested round 200 million to extend beverage carton recycling capability within the EU and plans to speculate an extra 120 million by 2027.[10] On the identical time, Tetra Pak is investing 100 million per 12 months and can proceed to take action over the following 5 to 10 years to additional strengthen the environmental profile of cartons, together with analysis and improvement of packaging made with a simplified materials construction and elevated renewable vitality content material.

The necessity to mainstream meals safety into coverage making

The EU PPWR proposal units a transparent route of journey: to scale back packaging waste and make all packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030. Whereas we help this ambition, we consider that necessary reuse targets for perishable liquid meals may result in unintended penalties, corresponding to elevated meals security dangers for customers and lowered entry for these dwelling in distant areas, together with probably larger losses and waste.

This isn’t to say that reusable packaging has no function to play. In reality, we consider that each reusable and recyclable single-use packaging methods, corresponding to smooth drink cartons, will play a job within the transition to a round economic system. Nonetheless, we consider that reuse targets ought to present the flexibleness to spend money on reusable options the place it is smart and the place they supply higher total environmental efficiency than single-use recyclable options.

Reuse targets ought to present the flexibleness to spend money on reusable options the place it is smart.

In reusable packaging methods, for instance, on a regular basis gadgets corresponding to dairy, plant-based drinks and a few juices, in addition to nectars, would require the usage of chilly chain distribution methods that will result in a redesign of the worth chain, whereas exhibiting a shorter shelf life.[11] We due to this fact name on European coverage makers to take a deeper evaluation and combine meals safety as a key a part of the equation. The particular processing and packaging wants of perishable liquid meals have to be taken under consideration within the PPWR to make sure that EU residents can proceed to have entry to adequate, secure and nutritious meals.

[1] Perishable meals is outlined in EU laws beneath Regulation (EU) no.

[2] Sources: EDA, AJAN and Statistica

[3] Prolonged shelf lifetime of milk – advances in expertise, Rysstad and Kolstad, 2006

[4] Avoiding meals spoilage in households – the function of packaging in shopper practices in several meals classes, Williams, Lindstrm, Trischler, Wikstrm and Rowe, Journal of Cleaner Manufacturing, 2020.

[5] Progress of the foodborne pathogens Listeria and Salmonella and spore-forming Paenibacillus and Bacillus in business plant-based various milks, Klaudia Bartula, Mire Begley, Nomie Latour, Michael Callanan, FOOD MICROBIOLOGY, 2023.

[6] 20-011-Round Analytics_ACE – Full report_2020-12-18 (beveragecarton.eu)

[7] https://www.beveragecarton.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/ACE-Affect-assessment-study-of-an-EU-wide-collection-for-recycling-target-of-beverage-cartons- Roland-Berger.pdf

[8] https://aijn.eu/recordsdata/attachments/.598/2018_Liquid_Fruit_Market_Report.pdf (p. 7)


[10] https://www.beveragecarton.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/ACE-Affect-assessment-study-of-an-EU-wide-collection-for-recycling-target-of-beverage-cartons- Roland-Berger.pdf

[11] FDA Tips: APPENDIX 4: Bacterial Progress and Inactivation of Pathogens, Fish and Fishery Product Danger and Management Tips (fda.gov)

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