Eating has never been easier. For most people, finding food simply means heading to the nearest grocery store, choosing what you want, paying, and leaving. Gone are the days of hunting and gathering, pickling and canning, and storing up for a winter in order to eat. Though there are plenty who still do those things, it’s not the only way these days. However, our food can now travel great distances — and go through many hands — to reach our supermarket shelves. Food inspections and food packaging machines help keep us as safe as possible from food contamination and spoilage. Though almost 50 million get sick, almost 130,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases annually, that number would be much higher without certain machines. For example, X-ray food inspections, food metal detectors, and food packaging machines all contribute to reducing the number of foodborne diseases we ingest.
What Should I Know About Packaging?
Packaging has naturally evolved as the times have changed and the most popular type of packaging today is plastic, thanks to its diverse nature. Plastic is cheaper than say, glass or metal, and manufacturers get more bang for their buck. For example, two pounds of plastic can provide around 10 gallons of soda, juice, water, or other beverages. You’d need three pounds of aluminum, eight pounds of steel, or over 40 pounds of glass to bring home 10 gallons of the same liquid.
And manufacturers and packagers are looking to cut that down even more. For example, in 1977, a two-liter plastic soda bottle weighed 68 grams. In 2006, it only weighted 47 grams, saving over 180 million pounds of packaging, by reducing over 30% of plastic used per bottle. That’s incredible, especially when you consider that the reduction is only from plastic soda bottles!
And packaging is looking for ways to be more eco-friendly too; many plastics now can be recycled, and around 60% of the population in the United States has access to a recycling program that handles plastics.
How are Food Packaging Machines Helping Us?
Keep Contaminants Out
Food packaging machines ensure that outside contaminants stay out of our food while they’re in transit — and even before. It’s also a visual sign that food might have been tampered with or unsafe to eat. If a package looks opened or damaged somehow, chances are good people will steer clear of it.
Reduce Food Waste
Smart packaging can help with portion control and estimating what people can eat in a serving, reducing the amount of food we throw away. According to packaging experts, every pound of plastic packaging could cut down almost two pounds of food waste.
Food packaging can also make a difference when it comes to how long our food lasts. As an example, vacuum sealed food can keep food good three to five times longer than food that’s in plastic bags or containers.
What Else Plays a Role in Delivering Safe Food to Our Stores?
However, it’s not just the packaging that helps keep our food safe. It’s also all the controls and inspections that happen along the way. For example, food metal detectors play a huge role in identifying harmful metals present in our food.
X-ray metal food detectors are sharp and precise, detecting 1.5mm of stainless steel or less in food, which helps keep us safer and protects the brand. Food metal detectors are set to identify three main groups of metallic contaminants in our food. These are ferrous, non-ferrous, and stainless steel.
And, of course, storing food in cold temperatures (both as it’s waiting to be shipped out, in transit, waiting on the supermarket shelves, and in your own home) helps keep bad bacteria from growing and spreading.
Everyone should be grateful for the work that food packaging and manufacturers do to keep our food safe to eat, while still making it simple for us to access. Without their work, our food would be much more dangerous.