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October 10th, 2010
Can 'green bags' really keep your food fresh for weeks?
Loong-Tak Lim, an associate professor in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph, says in theory, green bags and containers should make some foods last longer. They're made with absorbent minerals or clay particles, which are known to absorb the ethylene gas that fruits and vegetables give off as they ripen.
Lim, who studies food packaging and works with nanofibres to create packaging that extend the shelf life of bags of milk for example, says he's never tested green bags or containers. But he says packaging that uses "ethylene scavengers" should slow ripening, in theory.
"I think it is quite feasible. It is not a crazy idea," he tells CTV.ca.
The problem is that only a certain number of foods can benefit. These foods are called "climacteric," and include those fruits and vegetables that ripen after being picked. They include: bananas, avocados, cantaloupes, mangoes, peaches, pears, and tomatoes.
"For climacteric foods, anything that absorbs ethylene gas could extend shelf life," Lim says.
But that shelf extension would be a matter of only a few days, not the weeks and weeks suggested in some of the infomercials.
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