Absorbent Meat Tray Design
Publication Date: 2003-Jun-03
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Absorbent Meat Tray Design. A superabsorbent-containing film may be produced that is also heat sealable. The thermoplastic sealable film or film laminate can be used as the absorbent layer in a cut produce or raw meat, fish or poultry tray or pad. The pad or tray may also comprise a porous cover layer to separate the SAP-containing layer from direct contact with the tray contents. Because the film or film laminate is made of appropriate thermoplastic materials, it can be sealed to a liquid and gas barrier film without removal of the self-absorbing material and other materials to expose a gas barrier layer before sealing.
Absorbent Meat Tray Design
In a tray designed to absorb liquid, for example that exuded from meat or produce (e.g. sliced or segmented fruit or cut vegetables), it is desirable to ensure that a combination or system comprising a lid and a tray maintains liquid exuded from the tray contents within the tray. In a subset of these applications, case ready meat applications, where the package lifetime may be extended, it is desirable to maintain a gas barrier as well as a liquid barrier. In this latter case, the gas barrier may be implemented and maintained in a container that includes a tray and a lid or cover by an effective seal between a gas impervious layer of the tray and a gas barrier layer of the lid or cover or use of a gas barrier lid or cover. The cover or lid may be either flexible or rigid. Current technology either uses foam trays or rigid plastic trays, depending upon end-use requirements .
Fluid absorbent capability in food trays may be obtained by adding an absorbent pad to the surface of the tray that would otherwise be in direct contact with the food item. Another means of imparting absorbency to food packaging trays is to include an absorbent part or feature as an integral part of a tray design.
Foam trays with an integral absorbent layer are described in many patents (e.g. US 6,216,855, US 4,702,337, and US 5,720,999). In these patents, the top foam layer and the bottom foam layer are joined together to form a space in which liquid meat exudate is contained (entering through a porous, top, meat facing, layer). The space may contain an absorbent paper (‘855), an open-celled foam (‘999) or a superabsorbent polymer (SAP) containing pad (‘377). The SAP may be in either granular or fiber form. This technology requires a porous cover stock that may comprise a second foam layer. At least in one case (‘377), the pad does not cover the entire portion of the foam because, presumably, its presence interferes with the welding of the top and bottom foam layers.
For self-absorbing gas-barrier packages for red meat, a gas and liquid impervious seal is required between the tray and the lid. One approach, shown in WO 2003006337A1, uses a multilayer receptacle or tray that includes an outer barrier layer for food packaging. To maintain the desired gas barrier properties, ‘337 requires removal of at least a circumferential ring of material from the receptacle to expose the barrier layer in order to effect a gas impervious seal between the tray and a liquid and gas barrier lid film.
Using appropriate film forming materials, a SAP-containing film may be produced that is also heat sealable (see, e.g. US20020039869(A1), US 6,458,877 and US 6534,572). The thermoplastic sealable film or film laminate that contains SAP can...