AUSTRIA – European packaging company Schur Flexibles has developed an antibacterial varnish that can be applied to a range of its films, including those used for food packaging applications, to enhance point of sale hygiene.

Schur Flexibles explains that at the point of sale, packets are often touched, picked up, and put back. The antibacterial coating is aimed at preventing the transfer of bacteria and helping to ease consumer concerns about hygiene, which have become particularly prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The antibacterial coating can be used for a range of packaging types, such as topfilms and flowpacks. The company claims that the Antibacterial Activity Analysis Result suggests that the coating reduces the bacteria present on packaging by 95%.

The product has been tested and reportedly confirmed safe for food packaging, including meat, dairy, and fish, as well as other applications.

Duda, a producer of meats and sausages in Poland, has been using the coating to demonstrate the company’s commitment to responsibility during the pandemic and reassure consumers that handling their products is completely safe.

According to Schur Flexibles, manufacturers do not need to alter their production line to incorporate the varnish. Films coated with the varnish apparently run as smoothly as uncoated films on all machines and integrate well into the printing process, helping to ensure that the print quality remains the same.

Joanna Herbst, Commercial Product Manager Conversion at Schur Flexibles, noted that food and consumer safety begins with intelligent packaging solutions.

“We are the first packaging manufacturer to offer this type of coating to our customers. With this solution, we are supporting manufacturers and retailers in their efforts to optimize hygiene and provide enhanced food safety,” she said.

This development comes hot on the tail of an innovation by researchers from Australia and Japan who unveiled an antibacterial nanotexture for rigid plastic packaging.

The nanotexture is based on the nanopillar wing structures of dragonflies and cicadas that are able to kill bacteria by pulling, stretching, or slicing them apart.

According to the research published in ACS Applied Nano Materials, the lab-made material kills up to 70 percent of bacteria and retains its effectiveness when transferred to plastic.

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