With the economic development and improvement of life standards, pets are raised by more families. As a result, the pet food industry has been developed rapidly. The quality and safety of the pet food should be guaranteed within the shelf life and should comply with relative standards so that the food would not become deteriorated and the nutrient loss could be avoided. The quality of package is of great importance to the shelf life of pet food. Therefore it is a critical step to control the quality of the packaging material and package for pet food manufacturer. This article undertakes to briefly introduce the quality control of pet food package.
There are mainly 2 categories of pet food packages which could be seen on the market, metal cans for moist food and multiwall bags for dry food.
To meet the requirements for packing different pet food, the pet food packages come in variety of formats such as aluminum and steel cans, aluminum foil trays, composite flexible package, paper bag, gusseted bag, multi-layer fiber compound package and disposable convenient package etc. The materials used to manufacture the packages include PET, AL, PE, OPP, CPP, CPPP, VMPET, BOPA, and RCPP etc.
Quality Control of Pet Food Package
For the manufacturers of pet food, it is crucial step to choose the proper packaging materials to ensure the shelf life of pet food. Therefore it is necessary to control the quality of the packaging materials and packages.
It is well known that there are 3 essential factors i.e. environmental temperature, oxygen and water which could influence the reproduction of microbe. Oxidation is a chemical process that makes the food taste rancid so the oxygen should be controlled at a low level. Water provides an environment for the activity of microbe which encourages the dissolution of the fat contained in pet food as a result the shelf life would be reduced. Usually within the shelf life of pet food, the content of oxygen and water inside the package depends on the package integrity and the barrier property of the packaging material.
Thus the quality control of pet food package is realized by controlling the package integrity and the barrier property of packaging material.
Barrier Property of Packaging Materials
Within the shelf life, the oxygen and water contained in the pet food package are mainly permeating through the package. Barrier property refers to the physical property of the packaging materials which could block or impedes the gas or fluidic molecule. 7 kinds of regular packaging materials on the market are selected to be tested in Labthink laboratory. The materials include PET, PET+CPP, BOPP/CPP, BOPET/PE, OPP/PE/CPP, BOPET/VMPET/LDPE and aluminum plastic film. Oxygen transmission rate (OTR) and water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) are tested, analyzed and compared in the tests mentioned above. Oxygen barrier property is bad if OTR is higher. If WVTR is higher, then the water barrier property is bad.
Package Integrity Test
The pet food package may be broken in process of manufacturing, transportation or storage. Such problems could be examined through integrity test so that the shelf life and the quality of pet food could be guaranteed
1. Leak Test of Pet Food Package
Package integrity could be evaluated by leak test with positive pressure method and negative pressure method.
2. Peel Strength Test and Heat Seal Strength Test of Pet Food Package
3. Puncture Force Test and Tear Force Test of Pet Food Package
Puncture test is performed to evaluate the reliability of the package when it is impacted by sharp objects.
Labthink core businesses include the RD of laboratory testing instruments, packaging testing and test data processing services. We are dedicated to providing integrated professional quality control solutions for packaging manufacturers, food and beverage producers, medical and pharmaceutical companies, and daily chemical and printing industries. Our Greater Boston headquarters combines functions of the North America sales division, the R&D center, the packaging testing laboratory, and the customer services center and administrations.
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