Title:
Bulk foodstuff container method and assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foodstuff package assembly provides a solution to the problem of how to extend the useful life of large bulk cardboard containers which are used in bulk storage and shipment of shelled peanuts, or other allergenic foodstuffs. These containers are expensive, and when they are used to store and ship shelled peanuts, they are exposed to peanut oil and peanut dust from the shelled peanuts. Peanut allergy, or allergies to other types of nuts, or other foodstuffs, is a significant problem for many people. When bulk storage or shipment of shelled nuts occurs, the nuts are contained in very large cardboard containers. The inside of the containers is thus exposed to oils and dust from the nuts. The interior walls of the containers can thus absorb or retain the oils and dust from the contents of the container. The solution for this problem involves providing liners for the cardboard containers. The liners must be breathable, and must be able to filter out nut dust and oils, so that the nut dust and oils cannot reach the interior walls of the cardboard containers. Liner breathability is necessary in order to prevent the nuts from rotting in the containers. The liners thus protect the food contents of the containers from degradation, and also protect the containers from contamination from the food contents. The liners are preferably made from a fabric formed from spun bonded polypropylene fibers, which fabric is uniform in composition, breathable, and which fabric provides the necessary dust and oil filtering attributes, however other breathable fabrics could be used. The fabric material in question is commercially available, is relatively inexpensive, and is operable to do the job in question.



Inventors:
Leamy, John T. (Westbrook, CT, US)
Application Number:
10/136631
Publication Date:
07/29/2004
Filing Date:
05/02/2002
Assignee:
LEAMY JOHN T.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D5/60; (IPC1-7): B65D81/02
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Primary Examiner:
MCKINLEY, CHRISTOPHER BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William W. Jones (Madison, CT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A package assembly for holding bulk amounts of an allergenic foodstuff, such as peanuts, said assembly comprising: a) a reusable outer container which is formed from a material that is susceptible to contamination by oils or dust emanating from the allergenic foodstuff; and b) a disposable inner liner which is formed from a breathable material that is air and water vapor permeable, said inner liner being operative to contain oils emanating from said allergenic foodstuff and being operative to filter dust emanating from said allergenic foodstuff, said liner being the only component of said assembly which is in direct contact with said allergenic foodstuff, and said liner being operative to protect said outer container from being contaminated by oils and dust emanating from the foodstuff.

2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said liner is provided with an antimicrobial finish.

3. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said liner is provided with an indicium which ensures that the liner will be properly oriented with respect to the container when the liner is inserted 2 into the container.

4. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said liner is formed from a spun bonded polypropylene fiber fabric.

5. A liner for a package assembly for holding bulk amounts of an allergenic foodstuff, such as peanuts, said liner being formed from a breathable material that is air and water vapor permeable, said liner being operative to absorb oils emanating from said allergenic foodstuff and said liner being operative to filter dust emanating from said allergenic foodstuff, said liner being the only component of said assembly which is in direct contact with said allergenic foodstuff, and said liner being operative to protect an outer package assembly container from being contaminated by allergenic oils and dust which emanate from the foodstuff.

6. The liner of claim 5 wherein said liner is provided with an antimicrobial finish.

7. The liner of claim 5 wherein said liner is provided with an indicium which ensures that the liner will be properly oriented with respect to the container when the liner is inserted into the container.

8. The liner of claim 5 wherein said liner is formed from a spun bonded polypropylene fiber fabric.

9. A method for protecting an outer cardboard bulk shelled peanut storage and shipping container from contamination from peanut oil and peanut dust, said method comprising: a) the step of positioning a breathable liner in the cardboard container, said liner being formed from a material which is air and water vapor permeable, and which is impermeable to peanut oil and peanut dust; and b) the step of filling the liner with shelled peanuts in a manner wherein the peanuts do not directly contact the outer cardboard container.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the liner is also antimicrobial.

11. The method of claim 9 wherein said liner is formed from a spun bonded polypropylene fiber fabric.

Description:

[0001] This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application U.S.SNo. 60/292,098, filed May 14, 2001.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] This invention relates to a solution to the problem of extending the useful life of large bulk cardboard containers which are used for bulk storage and shipping of shelled peanuts, or other allergenic foodstuffs.

BACKGROUND ART

[0003] Peanut allergy, or allergies to other types of nuts, or other foodstuffs, is a significant problem -, for many people. When bulk storage or shipment of shelled nuts occurs, the nuts are contained in very large cardboard containers. The inside of the containers is thus exposed to oils and dust from the nuts. The interior walls of the containers may thus absorb and/or retain the oils and/or dust from the contents of the container. If peanuts are the cargo, the cardboard container will retain peanut oil or peanut dust. If the container is then used to store or ship cashews, for example, some of the cashews will be contaminated with peanut oil and/or peanut dust. Thus if someone who is allergic to peanuts eats the contaminated cashews, that person will likely suffer from an unexpected allergic reaction to the contaminated cashews which reaction can be quite serious. The same allergic reaction would happen to someone who consumed peanuts which are contaminated with cashew oil or cashew dust, if that person were allergic to cashews, but not allergic to peanuts.

[0004] This problem thus relates to the ability to re-use containers that are used in connection with the storage and shipment of any foodstuff which contains constituents to which persons have allergies. Presently, the aforesaid bulk cardboard carton containers must be steam cleaned or otherwise sterilized before they are safe for subsequent use. The steam cleaning weakens the cartons, and is expensive.

[0005] It would be desirable to provide a method and assembly which would enable the aforesaid bulk cardboard cartons to be reused without the need to be reconditioned by steam cleaning or by some other cleaning process.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

[0006] This invention relates to a method and assembly for extending the useful life of bulk shipping cardboard cartons which may be used to store and ship bulk amounts of potentially allergenic foodstuffs. The method and assembly of this invention do not require reconditioning of the cardboard shipping cartons between successive uses.

[0007] More particularly, this invention involves the use of a bag-type liner which is inserted into the foodstuff cardboard storage and shipping cartons. The liner is formed from a breathable material which can block passage of the carton content allergens to the cardboard carton walls, and which will also allow air to pass through the liner so that the contents of the liner bag and carton will not rot from moisture buildup within the foodstuff contents of the carton. The liners thus protect the foodstuff contents of the cardboard containers from degradation, and also protect the cardboard containers from being contaminated by the food contents therein.

[0008] The carton liners are preferably made from a fabric which is formed from spun bonded polypropylene fibers. The fabric is uniform in composition, breathable, and the fabric provides the necessary dust and oil filtering attributes. The fabric material in question is commercially available, is relatively inexpensive, and is operable to do the job in question. Other fabrics having the requisite qualities could also be used. It will be readily appreciated that this invention encompasses the use of the aforesaid fabric material as a foodstuff container liner in order to protect a cardboard container from allergen contamination; and a foodstuff container assembly which includes such a fabric material liner. The liner fabric also may preferably possess anti-microbial properties.

[0009] It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a method for preventing allergenic components of a foodstuff which is contained in a cardboard container from contaminating inner surfaces of the container.

[0010] It is a further object of this invention to provide a method of the character described wherein the foodstuff is contained in a discardable liner bag which is disposed in the cardboard container.

[0011] It is an additional object of this invention to provide a method of the character described wherein the discardable liner bag is formed from a woven, knitted or composite material that is breathable so as to allow air into and out of the packaged foodstuff, but is able to block passage of allergenic components of the foodstuff to the inner surfaces of the cardboard container.

[0012] It is another object of this invention to provide a packaging assembly for a foodstuff which foodstuff contains allergens, wherein the packaging assembly includes a discardable liner bag which is disposed in a cardboard container, which liner bag prevents the foodstuff allergens from contacting the cardboard container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description of several embodiments of the invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:

[0014] FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a peanut storage and shipping container which is formed in accordance with this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0015] Referring now to the drawing, there is shown in FIG. 1 a foodstuff packaging assembly which is denoted generally by the numeral 2 and which is formed in accordance with this invention. The assembly 2 includes an outer cardboard, or other suitable material container 4, a top closure cover 5, and an inner liner bag 6. The liner bag 6 covers all of the interior surfaces of the container 4 and the cover 5. The liner bag 6 is made from a material that is “breathable”, i.e., it is air-permeable and water vapor-permeable, but the material is not permeable to allergens which are found in whatever foodstuff is packaged in the assembly 2. Whe shelled peanuts are packaged in the assembly 2, the allergens will be peanut oil and peanut dust. As noted above, the liner bag 6 can be formed from woven blown spun bonded polypropylene fibers. Other breathable materials could also be used. The term “breathable” as used in the context of this invention means that the breathable material must be air and water vapor permeable, and must be able to contain nut oils and filter out nut dust so as to protect the outer container component of the assembly against contamination by nut oil and nut dust. Bulk amounts of the foodstuff in question are usually loaded into the liner bag 6 after the bag 6 is placed in the container 4. The term “bulk” as used in the context of this invention refers to amounts of nuts in excess of five hundred pounds. The liner bag 6 and the container 4 are then closed by means of a cover 5 so that the contents thereof can be shipped and/or stored. One side of the liner bag 6 will preferably be provided with a tab 7 or some other visible indicator which will enable the persons loading the assembly 2 to properly position the liner 6 inside of the container 4 before the contents of the assembly 2 are added.

[0016] It will be readily appreciated that the container component of the foodstuff packaging assembly of this invention will be reusable, and will ensure that the reusable container component of the assembly will not be contaminated by allergens from the foodstuff contents of the assembly. The bag liner component of the packaging assembly of this invention can be produced for about $3.00 to about $5.00 per liner bag. The container component of the packaging assembly thus does not need to be reconditioned in order to remove allergens from the inside surface thereof so as to render it reusable.

[0017] Since many changes and variations of the disclosed embodiment of the invention may be made without departing from the inventive concept, it is not intended to limit the invention otherwise than as required by the appended claims.