Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

August 12, 2011 13:22 ET

Investment in Food Packaging Research Will go the Distance for Growers

Innovative Food Packaging to Open the Way for Safe, Long-Distance Shipping

SUMMERLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 12, 2011) - The Government of Canada is supporting research into innovative packaging that will extend the shelf-life of fresh produce and boost the bottom line for Canadian horticulture producers. Dan Albas, Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla, announced an investment of more than $261,000 to Innovative Food Systems Corp. on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

"Our producers need cutting-edge technologies that will help them remain competitive in the global marketplace," said MP Dan Albas. "Investing in these initiatives turns ideas into products. Innovative food packaging has the potential to open new markets for our horticulture sector by helping them ship produce safely over long distances and also to boost our economy by creating production jobs and increasing returns for the Canadian agri-food sector."

This investment will allow Innovative Food Systems and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) researchers to explore new antimicrobial packaging technology that will keep our fruits and vegetables as fresh and tasty as when they were picked.

Research will focus on adapting natural, known antimicrobial compounds into commercial packaging systems that will prevent against fungi, mould and bacteria. The packaging will preserve ripe fruits and vegetables without compromising freshness, quality and safety.

With this new packaging, the quality and distribution of Canadian horticulture products can be extended from one week to more than a month and allows growers to capitalize on global demand for their products.

The benefits have the potential to extend beyond the Canadian agri-food sector and into our manufacturing industry as well, through increased production of the packaging.

"The support provided by AAFC is allowing Innovative Food Systems Corp. to develop this Canadian born produce packaging system to a new level that provides food safety and security," said Dr. Perry Lidster, president and CEO of Innovative Food Systems Corp. "With this new technology, produce can be protected from many common food pathogens. This is important for fresh produce consumed in the home but also to the institutional food suppliers. This is a win-win for everyone."

The horticultural sector is vital to Canada's agriculture industry and plays an important role in the economy. In 2010, the Canadian horticultural industry brought in close to $6 billion in farm cash receipts and generated exports of nearly $3.6 billion.

This project is funded under the Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP) initiative, which is delivered by the Growing Forward framework under the Agri-Innovations program, a $158 million five-year program announced to support industry-led science and technology projects.

For more information on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's programs visit www.agr.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972

    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Director of Communications
    613-773-1059