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Abstract

Transition metal promoted oxidative degradation reactions impact quality, shelf-life, and nutritional content of many packaged foods. When trace metals are present in packaged foods, they can initiate degradation of nutritional compounds such as unsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids, antioxidants, phytosterols, and many vitamins. These reactions occur at metal concentrations naturally occurring in foods (often in the low parts per billion range) therefore complete metal removal is not a practical solution to inhibit these reactions. Chelators such as EDTA can be added to inhibit metal-promoted oxidation, however there is significant consumer and industry demand to eliminate EDTA from product formulations. Other natural chelators such as citric acid are ineffective in many foods and in some cases can actually increase oxidation rates by increasing metal solubility. An alternate approached to control transition metal reactivity is to utilize active packaging technologies. However, current approaches to antioxidant active packaging can impact packaging film mechanical properties and often exhibit low antioxidant activity. This review article surveys and critically reviews advances in the control of lipid oxidation, paying particular attention to novel advances in both food product formulation (e. g. additives, food microstructure) as well as food packaging. We introduce a new concept of active packaging in which metal ion chelation by non-migratory active packaging materials may enable removal of synthetic food additives from product formulations while maintaining product quality and shelf-life.