Michigan State University (MSU) may have come up with a way to make packaged vegetables last much longer. After conducting an extensive evaluation of current techniques, researchers at MSU found that combining a package’s atmosphere of elevated carbon dioxide and reduced oxygen with a sanitizing treatment of sodium hydrochlorite could help ready-to-use onions last two weeks in a package (meaning that they were acceptable for purchase at this point). The results of the research, which was partially funded by USDA, were featured in an issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology.
“We focused on ready-to-use onions, which have grown to become one of the five most commonly sold vegetables in the last decade,” said Eva Almenar, MSU AgBioResearch scientist in a news release. “Of all the variations that we tested, this one reduced microbial growth, respiration and discoloration, and preserved the desired aroma.”
The packaging technique could have potential use with other vegetables as well. Almenar is also investigating gas composition packaging and containers made from renewable sources.