Many pests affect stored products such as flour, rice, tobacco, cocoa, pet food, etc. When these pests are found in different areas of a facility or even when they are in just one production room or a warehouse, control is needed. There are different possibilities to control structural pests, being heat, ThermoNox, the most efficient of all. But many of these techniques can’t be used upon food products. According to Spanish laws no insecticide is allowed to be used on food products and in food processing areas. What can be done then apart from just throwing the infested food product?
Modifying the atmosphere (Vacuum + inert gases or CO2) is the answer to this question. According to many studies when vacuum is used, oxygen is removed and insects die. After vacuuming we can add an inert gas or CO2 to speed up the process without harming the food product. Also fumigation could be done but many resistances have been documented to Phosphine and other gases. Also, more and more, in European countries, regulations regarding the use of toxic gases are stricter every day. There’s also a potential risk to affect humans and non targets, which could easily be avoided by the use of other technologies such as Modified atmospheres. The use of toxic gases should be restricted to closed areas or areas that are apart from transit of people and non target animals. Regarding the use of other gases different from phosphine, new regulations are appearing nowadays and some of them will be totally ban the use of some fumigants in food processing areas or directly over food products.
The use of chambers with modified atmospheres is not new, but is expensive since special chamber have to be build to contain the product to be treated. Our technology is designed to treat on site any volume of foodstuff making this kind of treatment a not expensive strategy, convenient and easy to use.
Advantages of the use of Modified Atmospheres:
- No influence on Quality, Color and Taste of the exposed products
- 100% non-toxic treatment
- No residual, after opening the products can be used immediately.
- Reduced health and safety compared to chemical fumigations
- Independent of ambient atmospheres
- Can be retrofitted in existing production processes
- Eradicates insects in all development stages: egg, larvae/nymph, pupa, adult.
- No resistance has been ever observed
Our vacuum systems are designed to reduce the oxygen level to an amount above 85%. We can reduce even more the oxygen content but this could affect, in several cases, the shape, resistance or stability of some food products. After reaching the desired vacuum level, we flush with inert gases or CO2. The atmosphere is totally changed and insects die. This technique can ensure a total elimination of all insect stages found in grain, foodstuff, etc..
The control of wood destroying organisms, especially common cork (Anobium punctatum) using modified atmospheres is also possible. The principle is the same and the insects (all stages, egg, larvae, pupae and adult) die within the wood due to a lack of oxygen. This is ideal for furniture, or wood objects. The Treatment Can Be Done in You Own House!!!! (Link to wood destroying organisms)
We offer to ways of doing modified atmospheres treatments:
– Modified Atmosphere Packaging. Once the product is treated, for example, in a vacuum chamber or just when it’s packed (in big bags or any other shape of container) we can store it as long as we wish using our modified atmosphere packaging system. With this technology we can:
- Control Moisture Content,
- Temperature (the thermal conductivity of the product is low and the vacuum reduces the transfer of heat by convection, this will help us protect the product inside the bag),
- Partial pressure (the partial pressure of oxygen is reduced to approximately 2%),
- Inert gas or CO2 Flushing (will help reduce the remaining oxygen inside the bag), Inhibits aerobic microbial growth. This will help us eliminate insects that might be in the stored products, and be kept insect free for a very prolonged time.
– Vacuum Chambers. We can design a vacuum chamber that can control temperature, level of oxygen and can introduce small amounts of Nitrogen (flushes). The combination of vacuum with Nitrogen will leave a small remaining amount of oxygen that will eliminate even the most resistant species to low oxygen conditions, such as the tobacco beetle (Lasioderma spp). Temperature and humidity are also very important aspects since at higher temperatures, higher metabolism insect rates. With low temperatures insects start to hibernate and eggs won’t develop to the first larvae stage. Spiracles of insects won’t open and the intake of toxic, in this case, low oxygen conditions will be greatly reduced. With temperature being controlled to our needs we can speed up the process and insects will die faster.
Modified atmospheres are the best answer to the infestation found in food products, grain, or raw materials in general. Also in the case of many wood destroying insects, especially in the case of furniture or wood objects. With heat we can treat structures, machinery, etc., and by modifying atmospheres we can treat the infested products or protect products that could be infested during storage or transport.
The use of biocides in food stuff is strictly forbidden (even in food processing areas if talking about general treatments). The only possibility when using chemicals is the use of highly toxic gases. But many resistances have been described in large variety of insects to some gases and many considerations are being taken by governmental agencies in food processing areas in the case of others.
Vacuum + Inert gases or CO2, it’s a clean system, no pesticides are used and there are none of the hazards related with the use of toxic gases. It’s a cheap technology widely used in the food industry, although in this case we can treat very big volumes and in site. Once the treatment is performed, the goods can be stored for as long as we wish, occupying less space (due to the non presence of air inside a bag), and if the product is needed it can be used immediately since nothing is added.
We can use this technology in chambers designed especially for you or we can do it in your own house with our special packing technology.
There’s no doubt that the use modified atmospheres is effective. It has been used for a long time to keep stored food products, especially after harvest. Although insects have developed special strategies to reduce their exposure to pesticides, gases, etc., a few days of exposure to a non oxygen environment will lead to the death of all insect stages.
We can vacuum in chamber when necessary but we can also do it in your home, warehouse, facility. All we need is a special plastic (multi-layer film), a very small portable machine and an air compressor. Just call us today and we’ll explain you how the new modified atmosphere technology can work for you.
Our systems prevent the use of chemicals (insecticides, fumigation with gases, etc.) and preservation (additives, preservatives …). It can also contribute to reduce the necessary energy for storage/transport processes (i.e. cold storage) and it helps, in addition, to optimize related wastes. The plastic film is totally recyclable.
We offer the following advantages:
– Shelf life extended
– Quality protected during the transport
– No pesticide or re-fumigation
– Optimal hygiene
– Easier storage and handling
– Cheaper transport
– Reduces breakage, splitting
– Stabilizes moisture content
– Stress reduction