What is Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)?

What is Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) & why is it used?

M.A.P. is Modified Atmosphere Packaging, also known as gas flushing, protective atmosphere packaging or modified oxygen packaging. MAP is a technology that has been developed to ensure that ambient air concentrations be modified to maintain packaged food products fresh and attractive for the duration of the projected shelf life.

Modifying the atmosphere of a package provides fresh quality and minimally processed packaged food products to ensure a visual, textural and nutritional appeal. Controlling the internal environment of the packaged food product enables food packaging to provide an extended shelf life without requiring additional chemicals, preservatives or stabilizers.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging can be a blend of pure oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen within a hermetically sealed package. Controlling this gaseous mixture helps to meet the specific respiration needs for each packaged food product, minimizing product degradation.

By altering the partial pressure of the existing headspace gas mixture, in a hermetically sealed package, to a specified gas concentration, will help preserve and extend the product’s shelf life.

If the package is not hermetically sealed (does not allow air to freely enter the package’s internal environment) decreasing the MAP gas efficiency) then, oxygen and relative humidity (RH) can initiate product degradation. Therefore, controlling the storage conditions throughout the supply chain is crucial for obtaining high quality product to the end-user.

In addition, off gassing by-products can cause further degradation, if the package’s headspace has not maintained a gaseous environment of Nitrogen or CO2, to stabilize the product’s flavor, appearance and taste after the end-user purchases and opens the package.

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