The Environics, Inc. Post
Just for fun, here is a look at an ad from 1988, when Environics was just 2 years old. It features our discontinued Series 200, which was replaced by our Series 2000 and Series 4000 gas mixers.
An interesting article was recently published which examined the acceptance of meat packaged with Modified Atmosphere Packaging by consumers (Source: Journal of Food Protection Number 1, January 2013, pp. 4-183 , pp. 99-107(9)).
Modification of the packaged atmosphere attempts to lower the oxygen level and increase the carbon dioxide level to slow bacterial growth and the respiration of fruits and vegetables. Carbon monoxide may also be introduced to keep the red color of fresh meats by binding to the hemoglobin. The atmosphere can be introduced to the package by flushing or by exposure through a permeable membrane (EMAP).
Learn more on the process and MAP gas blending systems.
There is no direct risk to consumers based on the use of MAP or EMAP. In recent years, there has been debate regarding the use of carbon monoxide (CO) in the packaging of red meat. While no risk was found in the use of low levels of CO, the fact that CO maintains the color of the meat and can, in that way, hide visual evidence of spoilage was raised. The European Food Information Council (EFIC) released a report in 2004 reviewing the data. The report is available here.
The study in the Journal of Food Protection examined how the perceptions and observation of MAP packaged meat quality (primarily shelf life and color) are the prime influencer on purchasing. These also impact the price consumers are willing to pay for these qualities.
In this study, they attempted to determined the premiums that the test customers were willing to pay for the "cherry red" color and extended shelf life resulting from MAP with CO introduced. The full methods and results can be obtained here. In brief, researchers found customers who understood the technology preferred the longer shelf life and brighter red color. They were willing to pay a premium of $0.16 a pound for these features. Looking closer, when customers had further information on the MAP process and the use of CO the willingness to pay this premium was diminished, although it was still elevated. Researchers attributed this decrease to uncertainty and some distrust towards the science involved and its safety/reliability.
For meat packaging companies considering using MAP, this research lends additional support to the investment into the needed equipment and training.
From time to time, we like to showcase the research of our customers. Our team is always interested in learning more about the huge variety of research projects and discoveries made in labs using Environics systems.
Recently, we received a note from Ying Wang at the University of Connecticut on a research project utilizing an Environics 4000 gas mixing system. Ying is a member of Dr. Yu Lei's lab in the department of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering. The lab has two main areas of study. First is the development of various (bio)sensors, whose uses range from the diagnosis, drug discovery, screening and food safety, and pollutant monitoring. Recent work has also involved the detection of biological and chemical agents. The second focus is the synthesis of nanostructured materials and their application, with the goal of developing new nanomaterials that can be applied to the fields of sensing and biosensing.
A recent paper published in RSC advances, the researchers utilized their Environics system in the fabrication and testing of a sensor device which featured a aligned CuO nanowires capable of H2S detection. Sensitivity was examined under a variety of conditions, including levels between 10 to 1000 ppb and temperatures from 25 to 420 °C. The CuO nanowire sensor showed a detection limit of 2.5 ppb and a linear response range of 10 ppb to 100 ppb.
Have an interesting project using your Environics system? Share it with us and you may be the included in our next focus!
(image source: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2012/RA/c2ra00718e)
Every year, we ask our customers for their feedback throughout the year as well as on our annual Continuous Improvement Survey. We take this input very seriously, discussing the thoughts and suggestions and, when possible, implementing the requests that are made. One recurring suggestion was the availability of a Service Agreement for Recalibration of our systems. (You can learn more about our Calibration Services here.)
After many internal discussions, we are proud to announce the availability of Service Agreements on both new and existing systems. By having a Service Agreement with us, you will save both time and money. We are happy to help customize your agreement to fit your needs.
The benefits of signing a Service Agreement are:
You will lock in the current recalibration cost for the length of your agreement.
Your system will be given priority status when it arrives for recalibration. This means less downtime for you!
Your will receive a 5% discount on your recalibration cost by prepaying a One-Year Agreement or by signing a Two to Five Year Service Agreement (prepayment not required). This discount is on top of the savings you receive by locking in the current recalibration rates.
To learn more or to request a Service Agreement for an existing system, please contact us at (860) 872-1111 or complete an online request.
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