Interpreting customer complaints: Defective or poorly designed packaging material that enables penetration of product by larvae of the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner)


Abstract: Many customer complaints are on food products contaminated by insect pests. The problem arise from holes in the package, seals that did not seal properly, sealing of the packaging material with product parts, boxes that do not have an inner liner, and even packaging material that can be chewed into by insect pests. Also, from openings produced by manufacturers to remove the excess of air or to facilitate rice cooking. Food aroma/volatiles escaping from openings, defective sealing or damaged packaging material attracts pests for feeding. Recently emerged larva (L1) from its egg is an invasive stage of the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner). These tiny L1 do not penetrate unbroken packaging, but efficiently locate small openings to infest packages. Invasive L1 could gain entry into the packaged products through minute holes and defective sealing of the packaging material. Manufacturers rethink their packaging design and try to improve their packaging by correcting of foil sealing process or by using alternatives.

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