Food Engineering

Drop the knife, and move away from the pork

August 6, 2012
red meat packaged tooless opening
Tool-less opening of bagged beef has been available for awhile, but the Cryovac QuickRip bag had to be reformulated to accommodate pork.
Source: Sealed Air Corp.
Tool-less opening of primal cuts in foodservice and back-of-house retail operations has come to pork, a year after Sealed Air Corp.’s Cryovac division introduced the feature to bags used in beef shipments.
 
Compared to the 18-month development process for beef, QuickRip bags for pork only required some bag production retooling, according to Shawn Harris, marketing director-fresh red meat for the Duncan, SC-based packaging company. The fatty acids in pork did not pose the same sealing issues as beef, which required reformulation and replacement of Cryovac’s line of preformed shrink bags. The new B6620 and BQ6620 bags shrink about 65 percent, approximately 20 to 25 percent more than the old bags, says Harris. Pork bags shrink about 82 percent. Higher shrink ratios help extend shelf life and retain meat purge.
 
Before introducing BQ6620 to the market, Cryovac invited a group of retail meat managers to South Carolina to try out the case-ready packaging. “Seventy percent of them told us, ‘Anytime we can take a knife out of a nonessential activity, that’s good,’” Harris recounts. “It also turned out that cutting open the bags was a huge food safety issue, because workers often were using the same instrument to open the corrugated box as to open the bag.” With QuickRip, the cross-contamination danger is eliminated.
 
The largest QuickRip bags currently in use measure 14 x 28 inches, though the feature can be incorporated in bags up to 20 x 48 inches. While only boneless cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal are appropriate, packaging engineers hope to eventually develop a film for bone-in cuts that can withstand the abrasion of a bone and still be torn open without a cutting tool.
 
For more information:
Shawn Harris, Sealed Air Corp., 800-391-5645