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Revisiting Lobsters

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Purestat Engineered Technologies
21 Old Farm Rd.
Lewiston, ME, 04240

Press release date: December 13, 2013

After recovering from my thanksgiving meal I was reminded to "Eat Lobstaa" by a bookmarker from a Maine lobster vender. The placeholder I had stuck in my book gave useful information such as the nutrition facts, cooking instructions, ideal weight, and even what beverages go well with lobster. I briefly fantasized about changing my thanksgiving meal…

In an earlier piece I wrote about our recent project with a national lobster distributor because our packaging is tough enough to stand up to vacuum sealing stiff shells. In making our materials we are constantly vigilant of the raw materials that go into them, because we are conscious to not include any volatiles in our packaging. Volatiles are the group of chemical elements that can have low boiling points; nitrogen, ammonia, methane, and sulfur are some of the common volatile elements, in addition to just the element we do not include their compounds, such as light machine oils, volatile oils, etc.

Volatiles made their biggest headlines when bacon was found to contain food additive sodium nitrate. These nitrates, when cooked at temperatures above 240F, transform or convert into nitrites. Nitrites (and nitrates) have a bad rap because they can have rather severe health implications and concerns (See EPA's report here). This transformation into a potentially more dangerous chemical became a huge issue back in the 1970's and impacted bacon consumption as people feared for their health. The issue has been raised periodically since then as well. We like to think of this as one of those unintended consequences. In food this may be true, but there are also industrial products on the market that count on this transformation in order to produce nitrites in their films and bags to provide corrosion protection.

These volatile additives are added to various plastic for a wide range of reasons, such as processing aids, slip agents (to make packaging more slippery to aid opening), or for functional properties. The problem with volatiles is that they are non-specific in regards to their volatility. As soon as the temperature range is hit, when the packaging can release the volatiles (below critical temperatures there is often not enough vapor pressure to get the volatiles out of the packaging) they do not care which direction they move or which surfaces they coat. These volatiles can also be transferred to humans simply by touching volatile laden films and bags, or the products coming out of them. This is why we use only raw materials that do not include volatiles in our products. We believe in volatile free packaging.

We have been in the plastics business for over 20 years and we use our expertise and our familiarity with our supply lines to guarantee that our raw materials and processes both adhere to the highest standards and come together to make the best possible products so that you, our customer, get the best barrier films and bags, anti-corrosion films and bags, and food grade polymers.

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