The International Dairy Foods Association reports that approximately 21 percent of the waste that reaches landfills and incinerators is food. And dairy products make up approximately 17 percent those wasted foods, generated at the retail level and by consumers at home.
According to a November 2016 study from Westergaard-Kabelmann, Thomas, and Mette Dalgliesh Olsen titled, Reducing Good Waste And Losses In The Fresh Dairy Supply Chain, a major challenge in keeping dairy products fresh throughout the supply chain is contamination of yeast and mold, which are naturally present everywhere and quickly lead to untimely spoilage. While pasteurization and preservatives can prevent spoilage and enhance product shelf life, some overlook the role clean packaging can play. To avoid spoilage, reduce shelf life, and possible product recalls, packaging materials must be decontaminated prior to product exposure to prevent the introduction of pathogens.
One technique used to sanitize dairy packaging is gamma irradiation. The technology is highly effective in making dairy packaging less susceptible to airborne molds, bacteria, and yeast, but the word “irradiation” is perceived negatively. In reality, the opposite is true.