Food safety is a major constituent to improve public health and the welfare of society. According to WHO, about 1 in 10 people worldwide fall ill due to contaminated food, and almost 420 000 people die every year due to unsafe food. WHO estimated that contaminated food contains harmful bacteria, chemicals, prions, viruses and parasites, leading to 200 diseases, including cancer and diarrhea. It depicts that food safety, nutrition, and food protection are associated with each other. The distribution of unsafe food formulates a venomous cycle of disease and malnutrition, disturbing the health of infants, children, elders, and the sick. However, the real-monitoring of food can stop this malicious cycle, and food companies can save millions’ lives.
By installing real-monitoring technique to control foodborne illness throughout the food supply chain, companies can determine the quality of food items and decide whether it is contaminated or not.
Both active and intelligent packaging are promising technologies that have provided real-monitoring of foods to inform both consumers and companies about food quality. Besides, continuous advancement in the sensor and biosensor field also plays an essential role in monitoring food quality. Multifunctional sensing systems, materials, devices and equipment attached to these sensors/biosensors make the entire process control food-borne illness easy and flexible.
Active and intelligent packaging of products is the functions of smart packaging and RFID technology. The smart covering of food integrated with RFID labels offers countless advantages, among which protection of food and communication from the inside of food comes first. In smart packaging, we have the following functions;
Active functions: It performs functions of both active scavengers and active emitters. An active scavenger is used to collect gases emitted from the food, and an active emitter is used to emit gases to the food.
Intelligent functions: The intelligent functions of smart packaging gather information about how it changes through environmental conditions, temperature, humidity and pressure during storage and transportation mediums. Intelligent packaging system provides changing condition of food quality following heat, time and temperature situations. Smart and intelligent packaging has different sensors like biosensors, chemical sensors and gas sensors, indicators such as integrity, freshness and TTI-time-temperature indicators, barcode, and RFID technology message from the inside of the product to the outer world.
High food safety and quality have also been achieved through deploying diverse active and intelligent packaging technologies into the packaging system from the past few years. Similarly, prolonged shelf life, high consumer satisfaction, limited ratios of food wastage and environmental benefits to improve food preservation are all the benefits of the smart, active and intelligent packaging system.
Due to all these benefits, the demand for smart packaging solutions has been increasing, as reported by AIPIA (Active and Intelligence Packaging Industry Association). The increasing demand of food companies has pushed the eAgile, a Michigan-based technology provider to design smart packaging for food containers, drinks, bottles and other dishes. This technology’s basic purpose was to provide the safety of products, track temperature conditions, monitor food-borne conditions, and fight against counterfeiting.