Meat packaging is accomplished by covering the meat products making use of defensive materials and is much needed to defend the meat from air-borne dangerous elements in the surrounding.
During the old times, the materials brought into use were objects found in the Nature e.g. leaves, however as time went by new improvements were found out producing meat packaging materials like paper as well as synthetic films.
Packaging shields the meat from getting ruined by grime, microbes, parasitic organisms and poisonous items, from alteration in taste, aroma and color and from addition or loss of moisture. Still this is secondary contamination. There are pathogens previously present within the meat. And to check their further development or to eliminate them entirely, certain additional methods need to be performed together with packaging, like refrigeration for putting a stop to or decelerating the growth of the microbes and sterilization or heating for eliminating the pathogens.
Often, the inside meat packaging is performed where the material comes in contact directly with the meat. And sometimes outer packaging is also implemented in form of boxes made of cardboard or some specific materials. The inner packaging is done with several categories of foils, which can probably be opaque or transparent, gas-preventing or gas-permeable or bendy or rigid to semi-firm. All these types accomplish certain tasks, which comprise of alluring visualization as well together with protection of food.
Perfect packaging material has to be robust, but bendy; it must be gas-proof, clean, odorless, heat-resistant, light in weight, clean, odorless, having sealing capability and also must be cheap.
Among these qualities, checking of gases is the most essential one. The unpacked meat, when gets in contact with O2 in environment, alters its color shade to green or grey. O2 results in turning it rotten and awful-smelled. So the packaging material should allow minimum amount of oxygen inside. And if this is combined with vacuum packaging, the security to the meat is excellent, because it notes the eradication of O2 from within and stopping environmental O2 from getting inside.
This has an omission too. In the ready-to-sell self-service eateries the oxygen-permeable packaging material is brought into use, which gives the meat product, an attractive brilliant red color.
Next essential feature for the meat packaging material is, it needs to be water-vapor-proof, the reason being much of water as well as features are lost from the cooked ham, fresh meat and sausages, when they are left unpackaged.
Light also causes harmful transformations in unpacked meat items in form of oxidation, change of color and rancidity. Albeit see-through packaging material is attractive, as, the object is apparent through it, it provides no protection from light. So meat covered with such type of packages need to be kept in dark. Aluminum-laminated films are perfect for light-sensitive items.
Usually, synthetic plastic materials are made use of for meat packaging. The packing films are classified in single-layer and multi-layer. Single-layer is usually used for packing of meat cuts, meat blocks and smaller portions of meat. Their vital utilization is storing in freezer. While storing the meat blocks in freezer, the single-layer film is wrapped securely over the block so as to prevent vapor-loss, ice formation and refrigerator burn, which takes place at the non-contacted part of the meat. Multi-layer film performs two essential jobs, with its outside and intermediate casing being oxygen-proof and the inner coating preventing loss of moisture