California and Arizona supply over 90% of American lettuce. If you live anywhere east of these two states, your leafy greens have come a long way to get there. How is it possible? The short answer is collaboration and the right technology: Equilibrium Modified Atmosphere Packaging, or EMAP.
Modified atmosphere packaging is a technology that slows the respiration of fresh produce and extends shelf life. Unlike most food products, fresh fruits and vegetables continue to breathe after harvest. Through this process, the fresh product consumes oxygen, producing carbon dioxide and water vapor.
According to David Bell, president of Witt Gas Controls, EMAP’s primary goal is to keep packaged products fresh for as long as possible without compromising product quality, including taste, texture and appearance. Witt Gas Controls manufactures equipment for mixing and analyzing gases and for detecting leaks.
Like on produceprocessing.net explained, EMAP works best when the correct packaging material is used and it is properly sealed to prevent leakage. Permeability and breathability are important qualities in packaging, especially for leafy vegetables.