Packaging Food Safety With Environmental Responsibility

Apr 24, 2007, 01:00 ET from Institute of Food Technologists

    CHICAGO, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The impact on our
 environment from food packaging waste can be minimized by prudently
 selecting materials and following established regulatory guidelines, yet
 the primary purpose must continue to be maintaining safe, wholesome and
 quality food, according to the Institute of Food Technologists and its
 latest scientific review, Food Packaging-Roles, Materials, and
 Environmental Issues.
     Issued this month, this IFT Scientific Status Summary explains the role
 of packaging in the food supply chain, the types of materials utilized, and
 their impact on the environment. It also provides an overview of U.S.
 Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, waste management options,
 disposal methods, and legislation of packaging disposal, and more.
     Authored by IFT Fellow and food packaging expert Kenneth Marsh, Ph.D.,
 the report also describes the current cradle-to-cradle concept to recover
 sufficient materials and energy in a way that imposes zero impact on future
 generations. Some data of interest to many audiences, as noted in the
 scientific summary, include:
     -- Food is the only product class typically consumed three times per
 day by virtually every person.
     -- Only approximately 31 percent of all municipal solid waste is from
 packaging materials-a number that's remained constant since the 1990s
 despite an increase in the total amount of MSW.
     -- Non-packaging sources (e.g., newsprint, telephone books, office
 communications) account for more than twice as much MSW as packaging
     -- Food packaging accounts for almost two-thirds of total packaging
 waste by volume, and food packaging is approximately 50 percent (by weight)
 of total packaging sales.
     Advances is food processing and packaging play a primary role in
 keeping the United States food supply one of the safest in the world,
 according to the analysis. It is the role of food packaging technology to
 balance food protection with other issues like energy and material costs,
 heightened social and environmental consciousness, and strict regulations
 on pollutants and the disposal of municipal solid waste.
     IFT Scientific Status Summaries are issued as a resource providing the
 current scientific understanding of an important food topic. This and other
 recent IFT scientific documents are accessible online via
     Founded in 1939, and with world headquarters in Chicago, IFT is a
 not-for- profit international scientific society with 22,000 members
 working in food science, technology and related professions in industry,
 academia and government. As the society for food science and technology,
 IFT brings sound science to the public discussion of food issues. For more
 on IFT, see

SOURCE Institute of Food Technologists