Plastic is made from hydrocarbons derived from petroleum or natural gas. The hydrocarbons are formed into chains called polymers or plastic resins. Different combinations of hydrocarbon molecules produce different types of plastic. There are seven different types of plastic resins, each with different features. For example, some are resistant to acids and some to caustics. Others may be able to withstand high and/or low temperatures. Some plastics are rigid and some are flexible. There are impact resistant plastics and those that are not. Certain plastics provide a good moisture and/or gas barrier – several are appropriate for contact with food.
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Accurately measuring the density of finished maple syrup is an important task for commercial syrup producers.
Consistent, accurate measurement of maple syrup density is a challenge for many maple syrup producers. In maple sap and maple syrup, Brix may be determined using either density (hydrometer or hydrotherm) or refractometry (optical or digital refractometer). This is a guide to determining density of maple syrup.
Preventing mould in packed maple syrup can be a challenge. Cold-packing syrup usually guarantees mould will grow in bottled containers and can impart off-flavour in the syrup. Maple researchers at the University of Maine and at Carleton University in Ontario are investigating whether current hot packing recommendations require refinement to preserve quality and prevent mould in syrup.
Acquiring the ability to identify common off-flavours in maple syrup is important for producers. Detecting buddy off-flavour in fresh sap can be difficult, although much easier to taste in finished syrup. Buddy syrup can be described as an unpleasant chocolatey aroma and flavour having a lingering bad aftertaste. Buddy flavour in maple syrup is a food quality issue, not a food safety issue.