Whitepaper

Better hygiene in food-packaging board

A two-day outbreak of bacterial spores on a board machine can lead to the loss of thousands of tons of finished food packaging board, at a cost approaching millions of euros.

Better hygiene in food-packaging board

Board grades used for packaging of food and liquids for human consumption have strict requirements regarding the hygienic quality of the packaging board. If a part of the board produced and shipped to the converter is out of spec for hygiene, the converter may reject the whole lot. A two-day outbreak of bacterial spores on a board machine can lead to the loss of thousands of tons of finished food packaging board, at a cost approaching millions of euros.

Hygiene target specifications for food packaging are often based on a maximum acceptable level of aerobic bacteria in the final dry board. Kemira’s R&D studies and numerous mill trials show however that the quantity of aerobic bacteria in the final dry board depends on bacterial spores only. These spores are thermo-tolerant forms of bacteria and when they are mature they can survive heat of dryer section, unlike vegetative “growing” bacteria that are destroyed by heat.

As killing a mature spore requires huge amounts of biocide, and is therefore not economically affordable, the best approach is to prevent bacteria from making a spore.

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