20 Jul SafeBioPack 2018 Conference
Biomass residues from agricultural wastes are exploring the potential of using cheaper, nontoxic, and renewable materials for different applications. Interestingly, considerable amounts of organic waste and residues from the industrial and agricultural processes are still underutilized as low-value energy sources. Presently in Malaysia, the palm oil industries generate an average of 53 million tons of lignocellulosic and biomass residues every year Oil palm biomass is found suitable for a growing range of applications such as dampening sheets, stiff packaging, containers, moulded pulp products for food packaging from EFB fibres, wood plastic composites, compostable plastic film, polymer composites.
Food waste in Malaysia is about 3.29Mt per year (whilst in the UK it is 7Mt) which could be minimised with better packaging. It is estimated that in Malaysia 40% of the fresh food is lost between the producer and the consumers. Losses in the UK food supply chain are lower (10-15%). However both countries have problems of food poisoning derived from pathogenic microorganism infections, with more than 70% of the cases due to the contamination of meat/vegetables or ready meals with a small number of foodborne pathogens (Campylobacter, Toxoplasma, Listeria, Salmonela, E. Coli, and norovirus). In the UK, the cost of food poisoning to the economy has been estimated to be £1.5 billion and it affects 500,000 people per year. In Malaysia, the true incidence of food borne disease is unknown, as most people don’t presently seek hospital treatment, and a small number have pathogens identified.
By developing compostable packaging products from agricultural biomass contribute to reduction of the volume of plastic waste going to landfill. Smart packaging that can help to keep food fresher for longer will ensure good quality food for the consumer. It will also extend shelf life of food and reduce associated problems of food spoilage and food poisoning, and help to reduce food waste. This will be done using the novel concept of “active packaging”; a packaging that can interact with food to maintain its quality; this will be done using local herbs extracts and a novel slow-release mechanism, which will have the ability to control microbial spoilage in the ppm range. However official statistics show that the declared number of food poisoning cases is on the rise. If un-addressed, the rise of communicable diseases is expected to continue due to the foreseen rapid urban population growth, demographic shift toward ageing population, changing eating habits such as consumption of raw or lightly cooked food, and supply chains without appropriate microbiological safety procedure. Its also need to develop and understand environmental process costs through LCA and practitioner techniques for compostable packaging products.
The total market for packaging products in Malaysia is more than £80 million, with an expected growth at a rate of 6-8% per year due to accelerated urbanisation and associated problems. The high cost of current food packaging is one of the main barriers for supermarkets to sell packed food and this is a strong driver for affordable food packaging from EFB in Malaysia. Malaysian packaging companies need to develop local markets and expand their export market capability by improving processing towards affordable packaging products.
This conference will address these issues by bringing academician, researchers, industry and policy maker with strong technical know-how and the capability to deliver and share ideas through this platform and help in development of affordable food packaging for meat (poultry), tomatoes, ready meals, etc. Packaging markets are fragmented in a multiplicity of players, both multinationals and SMEs.