Speciality packaging manufacturer Parkside has developed technically-advanced flexible packaging with built-in antimicrobial technology to reduce bacteria growth on the outer packaging of fresh poultry; an issue raised in numerous recent national media reports.

Parkside is thought to be the first flexible packaging company to produce such packaging and is using a silver based additive that can be added into coatings used on the outer face of packaging, known to kill 99.9% of micro-organisms, such as campylobacter, widely recognised as a key challenge for the poultry packing industry.

Paula Birch, sales director at Parkside, said: "The demand for ready-to-eat, fresh and easily prepared food is increasing. Initially the packaging of these foods was simply to provide protective and barrier functions.

"However, the growth of bacteria on packaged foodstuffs continues to cause problems regarding consumer food safety and of course, product quality. To deal with this issue, Parkside has designed and developed a range of flexible packaging solutions which incorporate antimicrobial technology to improve pack functionality."

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and is an increasing concern for the entire food supply chain. Preventing cross-contamination during preparation, processing, packing and distribution is key in reducing the risk to consumers.

Ms Birch continues: "The technology used by Parkside incorporates silver ions into coatings and is aimed specifically at the poultry category and other protein markets where campylobacter is a major issue."

To date, the Parkside anti microbial solution has been incorporated into PET packaging and undergone a series of trials. Independently tested and verified, the products have passed initial trials for indirect and direct food contact.

Parkside is also involved with other antimicrobial projects that have received government funding. The projects involve collaborative work with a range of partners including leading universities, coating manufacturers and a UK poultry packer to develop natural based coatings which help kill bacteria.