Fresh meat products industry has been facing serious challenges in maintaining safety of their products when delivered to the consumers. As these foods are highly perishable attracting a variety of pathogenic microorganisms, processors have to be extra cautious in raising the animals, slaughtering them, processing the carcass into consumer products and retailing them in sound condition. Though sanitation in the shop floor and preparation environment can be meticulously maintained, storage and distribution pose hazards of cross infection. Thermal processing can be effective but is fraught with problems vis-a-vis logistics and eating quality and refrigeration has its own limitations in giving required shelf life. Toxicity of CO2 to most pathogens has been exploited in evolving a new technology that protects the meat through in situ generation of this gas in the pack.
"Fresh-Pads use a unique CO2 generating technology incorporated in a physical pad that modifies the atmosphere surrounding perishable food for an extended period of time. The results include less purge, longer shelf life, and improved texture, color and smell, thereby improving the marketability of the food. CO2 Fresh-Pads gradually generate carbon dioxide, a natural atmospheric gas, in a controlled manner to retard bacteria growth from 20%-50% on perishable foods, significantly reducing purge and spoilage to provide safer fresher food. With the government's new Food Safety requirements for food processors, the addition of a product that's proven to reduce bacteria growth in fresh meat, poultry and seafood can be a real benefit. In contrast to other food preservation technologies, CO2 pads provide an all-natural solution without resorting to the use of expensive equipment, chemicals, preservatives or high heat processes that can affect the integrity of the product or add substances that today's consumers find undesirable".
Though this is a patented technology, the principle involved in CO2 generation is well known and there are CO2 generating systems already existing for other products. For example the ubiquitous baking powder is a CO2 generating system used extensively in the bakery industry and any mixture of a carbonate and an acid can generate the gas when coming into contact with moisture. Or take the case of effervescent beverage powders which, when added to water, provide a fizz drink in a jiffy. As CO2 gas is a constituent of air that all living beings inhale and exhale, any question regarding its safety is out of place. The challenge is in designing suitable package modules containing the CO2 yielding source that will generate the gas when in contact with the moist contents without tainting the product.V.H.POTTY