Improved Packaging Developed by DOST Keeps Lechon Crispy

The Pinoy all-time favorite, pork lechon, can now be delivered right to your doorstep freshly roasted.

By Delia Delica- Gotis

In perfect form, and still as juicy and crispy as when it left the roasting area even after traveling many miles, thanks to the Department of Science and Technology or DOST’s improved transport packaging technology.

With the improved packaging system for pork lechon, the DOST, through the efforts of the Packaging Technology Division (PTD) of the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) has addressed product problems involving shelf life, deformation, oil leakage, and safe
handling and distribution.

Packaging for kilo-pack lechon.

To date, the packaging experts at ITDI have already established the appropriate primary packaging material and transport packaging system for both whole and kilo-pack pork lechon. PTD Chief Daisy Tanafranca said, “With the improved
structural design of the packaging system, we were able to prolong the shelf life of lechon from the original 15 hours (with oil leaks and blotting) to 21 hours minus the oil leaks and blotting.” This was done with the use of a high-barrier material with good ventilation – a corrugated box lined with aluminum foil and placed inside an Oriented Polypropylene (OPP)/Clarified Polypropylene (CPP) in a BC flute corrugated box.

The improved transport packaging system also protects the product from damage resulting from handling and transporting. The common problems of breakage or cracking of pork lechon skin are eliminated, and it remains ‘crackling crispy’ or ‘malutong’ even after transport or travel. Likewise,
packing time is shortened and packaging costs are reduced.

In developing the improved packaging system, Tañafranca recounted that her
team did simulation studies to establish the actual shelf life of pork lechon from the time it is prepared to the time limit within which it can be safely

consumed. “We recorded the actual handling practices and environmental hazards that the product would sustain from its point of origin (Tanauan, Leyte) up to its final destination (DOST Bicutan).”

Product branding was also developed along with the packaging design.

The project team emphasized though that the study was limited to medium-sized whole lechons ranging in weight from 9-12 kilograms and kilo-pack lechon (1-2 kg), using the formulation and method of preparation of pork lechon in Leyte. Thus, any changes in product specifications would yield different results in terms of factors like shelf life.

While the lechon used for the study was the kind that is native to Leyte, the results of the study can be replicated or used as a reference for further studies on pork lechon in other areas of the country. (with reports from Cynthia Bihis, PTD).

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s May 2014 issue. 

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