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Using patented laser technology, Temkin International Inc., a packaging firm based in Payson, UT, can customize the respiration characteristics of flexible packaging, effectively prolonging the shelf life of fresh produce by a number of days, according to a June 18 news release from the company.

"Growers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers all stand to benefit from the added value, reduced shrink, improved presentation and better eating quality," the news release said. Temkin's laser micro-perforation technology helps flexible plastic films create an optimal atmosphere inside the package by controlling oxygen, carbon dioxide and moisture levels to extend product life.

The new process is patented by Liz Marston of Windham Packaging and used by Temkin under a license from Windham. Temkin has run laboratory tests simulating shipping and store conditions on various produce items and found that the controlled-atmosphere packaging, customized to specific produce items, prolongs shelf life.

Temkin's successful tests to date have covered arugula, baby lettuce, bananas, broccoli, carrots, cherries, grape tomatoes, green beans, herbs, hydroponic produce, lemons, limes, mangos, pears, peppers, strawberries and other types of produce. The company offers customers complimentary shelf-life testing.

Every Temkin controlled-atmosphere package is meticulously customized, according to the news release, to meet the respiration characteristics of each specific fresh produce item, taking into consideration the weight of the packaged produce, whether it is whole or cut and the anticipated distribution temperatures.