A new approach to packaging developed at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark could soon lead to cheese with a shelf life of up to 9 months instead of the standard two to three month shelf life.

The team of researchers has developed a new approach to packaging that uses a bio-based packaging material combined with the use of oxygen scavengers and other preservatives which act as protective agents to help maintain the quality and safety of cheese while in storage. However, researchers in the project called "Biopack" say the new packaging concept should also help extend the shelf life of the cheese even after consumers take it home and open the package.

One of the most exciting things about this concept is that the cheese can be kept fresher longer without having to alter the cheese product. No additives are added to the cheese.

Once the new technology has been fully developed, researchers should be able to apply what they learned to other packaging concepts. The researchers believe that they will be able to use similar techniques to extend the shelf life of other food products ranging from meat to vegetables. And anything that helps maintain the quality of the product as it was put into the package will also translate into improved quality for consumers.

The project, which has been funded by the European Union, is nearing completion and will soon be made available for use in the dairy industry.