Plastazote® sets the seal on Parmigiano-Reggiano

Following comprehensive testing to demonstrate compliance with the EU Commission Regulation No 10/2011 on plastic materials intended to come into contact with food, Plastazote from Zotefoams’ AZOTE® range has been selected as a lightweight alternative to traditional rubber protective seals for world-famous Parmesan cheese.

Plastazote is a range of lightweight, crosslinked polyethylene block foams from the AZOTE brand family, with densities from 15 to 70kg/m3 featuring in the low-density (LD) range. It offers inherent purity for food packaging thanks to Zotefoams’ unique foam manufacturing process, which uses only temperature, pressure and nitrogen borrowed from the atmosphere. The result is materials of unequalled purity: with no chemical blowing agents used in its manufacture, Plastazote is inherently low odour, while outgassing in use is eliminated.

Prompted by updates to EU 10/2011, in 2017 a leading Italian packaging supplier sought out a new sterile and compliant alternative to the rubber traditionally used to seal Parmigiano-Reggiano. This 100% natural hard, dry cheese has protected designation of origin (PDO), with the production of milk, its processing into cheese, minimum maturation and packaging taking place exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantua. Safeguarding the quality, purity and PDO status of the cheese is the responsibility of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the need to safeguard its unique characteristics as it is exported all over the world means that packaging also plays a key role.

Zotefoams’ Plastazote LD foams were selected due to their purity and compliance with food contact regulations ­– including the USA Food and Drug Administration’s regulations as well as EU 10/2011. As a closed cell material, Plastazote does not absorb or transmit water or water vapour, reducing the risk of bacteria and contamination, and with over 40% of the 3.7 million ‘wheels’ produced in 2018 exported[1], its lightweight properties promise significant savings in logistics costs.

AZOTE Business Development Manager, Alex Giordano, comments, “Plastazote’s compliance with food contact regulations is significant as, now more than ever, preserving food and protecting it from environmental contamination is critical. The reputation of the Consorzio del Parmigiano-Reggiano for maintaining quality and purity is second to none and the fact that Plastazote meets and exceeds these exacting standards serves to underline that it is an excellent choice for food contact applications.”

[1] Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano news release, 15 April 2019