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Plastics & Elastomers
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Oxygen Scavengers Help Packaged Foods Stay on Shelves Longer

SpecialChem / Dec 14, 2005

Oxygen scavengers are additives to plastic packaging which absorb residual oxygen that remains after a package is sealed. They also absorb any oxygen that infiltrates through the seals or walls of packaging structures. The purpose of these additives is to preserve the freshness and extend the shelf shelf-life of packaged foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals and other products that could be adversely affected by oxygen. Scavengers are gaining popularity because they allow plastic packaging to compete with glass and metal packaging, which have excellent oxygen barrier properties. Scavengers are also benefiting from the growth of single-serve portions of packaged meats, cheeses and other oxygen-sensitive foods. Scavengers incorporated into the walls of single-layer PET bottles absorb enough oxygen to make such monolayer bottles realistic packaging choices for beer, which spoils quickly when exposed to oxygen. (Keeping oxygen out of PET beer containers normally requires multilayer bottle constructions or special coatings.)

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