Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Food Technology

Advisor

William S. Whiteside, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ron Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kay Cooksey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Patrick Gerard, Ph.D.

Abstract

This research studied the effect of transportation hazards on food product shelf life and package performance. Studies were conducted to determine the effect of package headspace volume, product viscosity and storage temperature on package integrity. Finally, accelerated shelf life testing (ASLT) was utilized to determine how simulated transportation hazards affected the shelf life of a specific food product. Institutional retort pouches containing either water or 5% starch solution were filled with varying amounts of headspace volume to determine if package headspace volume could aid in package performance during simulated engineering tests for packaged products. Fixed displacement vibration testing and compression testing of the pouches yielded no differences relative to headspace volume. Significant differences were noted during shock testing (free fall drop method) for the water filled pouches, however there was no observed effect for the 5% starch solution pouches. Results indicated that an increase in the headspace volume of a retort pouch does provide increased protection to transport hazards for low viscosity food products versus high viscosity food products. Clear high-barrier retort pouches were filled with water and gas flushed with nitrogen. Headspace volumes utilized for this study were: 200cc and 400cc. Retort pouches were fitted with an OxyDot® as a non-invasively measurement of package headspace oxygen. The retort pouches were packaged inside regular slotted containers (RSC) and were subjected to laboratory simulated transportation performance tests for small parcel and unit load delivery systems. In addition to these transportation tests, control samples of each variable were also used for comparison. Headspace oxygen levels were measured for the retort pouches for 63 days. Results indicated there were significant differences in all variables when comparing the transported samples to the control samples. When comparing the different headspace volumes, the 400cc pouches yielded less oxygen ingress into the pouch as compared with the 200cc pouches in the small parcel simulation (P<0.05). There were not significant differences for the two headspace volumes in the unit load simulation. Results from this study indicate for individual packaged products being distributed through small parcel supply chains, which are handled more vigorously than those being shipped palletized, the use of increased headspace volume may aid in protection of certain distribution channels. Kettle cooked potato chips packaged in metallized oriented polypropylene bags were used to evaluate the effects of simulated transportation on product shelf life. Stressing food packages through laboratory simulated transportation hazards can create potential failures in package integrity that would not have normally been observed during typical ASLT test methods. This study showed that the transportation system for food packages has a great affect on package performance and ultimately food product shelf life. Outcomes from this study indicated that food product shelf life can be affected as a result of simulated transportation hazards

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