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September 25, 2007

Essential Oil use in Food Packaging

Essential oils are increasingly being used in food packaging to kill microorganisms, infuse preservatives, enhance the aroma, or remove undesirable materials such as oxygen or ethylene.  These uses are subject to regulation because of safety and effective issues, and the EU has set limits on how much of certain compounds can be used. I've come across articles describing research into packaging methods and viability.

One article in Sample Preparation describes research into a method called HFLPME (hollow fibre liquid-phase microextraction) which helps obtain samples from the packaging headspace for measuring how the essential oils migrate through the packaging. The research described was published in the Journal of Chromatography.

Another study described in the Journal of Food Engineering on the "Effects of plant essential oils and oil compounds on mechanical, barrier and antimicrobial properties of alginate–apple puree edible films," discovered that carvacrol and  oregano oil were the most effective against E. coli, a foodborne pathogen (at least of the six essential oils products studied).

The data show that the antimicrobial activities were in the following order: carvacrol > oregano oil > citral > lemongrass oil > cinnamaldehyde > cinnamon oil. This study showed that plant-derived essential oils and their constituents could be used to prepare apple-based antimicrobial edible films for food applications.

It appears that there will be increasing use of essential oils in food packaging in the future, and that safety and dosage considerations will be required to assure that EU regulations are followed (in the EU, at least). No mention here of how the FDA will view these issues.

Posted by Rob on September 25, 2007 in Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Regulatory Issues, Research | Permalink


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Thanks for keep me update. I will visit your blog again.

Posted by: oregano oil | Feb 1, 2012 11:03:56 PM

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