Published Literature

International food assistance reaches more than 90 million people per year, much of it through in-kind programs that distribute food. Several key aspects of in-kind programs-what food is shipped, when and from where it is sourced-have been changed to improve program effectiveness and efficiency, becoming helpful tools in the modernized in-kind food assistance toolbox. Packaging-in what food is shipped-remains an unstudied and
underused tool despite more than 50 million bags per year passing through in-kind supply chains, affecting program effectiveness and efficiency. We conduct an experiment with 46 shipments using different packaging materials and sizes to measure the effect of packaging on shipment quality, cost, and timeliness. Analyzing the data with randomization tests, we find that, relative to the current materials, new materials maintain shipment
quality and cost while improving timeliness and in some cases may reduce cost. One promising material that balances cost and effectiveness is a bag with a [treatment] applied, designed to prevent insects from reproducing.

We also find that, relative to the current size, larger bags may improve costs at least in the domestic portion of the supply chain. Donors and their partners should consider packaging as one more tool in the modernized food assistance toolbox. As the toolbox continues to fill, the coming opportunity and challenge to identify situations where the various tools work in complementary ways.

  • PG works almost as well as fumigation and would probably be best applied in conjunction with some, but less, fumigation.
  • PG is slightly cheaper than no-fumigation, and less problematic than fumigation in Africa.
  • PG leads to slightly more timely shipments, as you don’t have to stop to fumigate as often.

Mark Brennan, Prithvi Sundar, Jarrod Goentzel, Daniel Frey, Joanne Mathias
One more tool for the food aid toolbox? Experimental evidence on food aid packaging
Food Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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“Trogoderma granarium Everts, khapra beetle, and Trogoderma inclusum LeConte, larger cabinet beetle, are highly destructive insect species that can infest a variety of food sources. The [treatment] is an insect growth regulator, IGR, and recently has been incorporated into packaging materials as a treatment option for packaged grain, food, birdseed, and feed products, and labeled for this use by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The objective of this research was to investigate the effect of continual exposure to this novel packaging technology on the development of T. inclusum and T. granarium larvae, and its potential use as a packaging treatment to prevent the penetration or invasion of T. inclusum and T. granarium into food packages. The [treated] packaging incorporated into kraft paper, woven bag material, polyethylene-polyethylene (PE-PE) material, and a polyethylene terephthalatepolyethylene (PET-PE) material, reduced normal adult emergence of exposed larvae. No normal adult emergence was observed on the inside surface of the PET-PE material. The polymer-based materials were the most effective at preventing penetration or invasion by Trogoderma spp. Only 2% of packages were invaded among all packaging treatment combinations compared to 16.7% invasion of untreated packages.

The materials were ranked in effectiveness as kraft paper < woven < PET-PE < PE-PE, however, all materials demonstrated significant positive results on Trogoderma spp. This novel packaging could easily be adopted as a packaging control strategy against these and other stored product insects in packaged products destined for commercial, international, and smallholder farm storage of cereal grains, feed, and other food products. The current study has shown [treated] packaging had a significant effect on Trogoderma spp. adult emergence and its potential to reduce packaging infestations. We ranked the materials from best to worst on preventing normal adult emergence of T. inclusum and T. granarium and their prevention of normal adult emergence and is as follows; PE-PE > PET-PE > woven > kraft paper, which is analogous to Highland’s (1991) and Mullen and Mowery’s (2006) ranking of packaging materials; however, the current packages have the added benefit of an IGR to further their effectiveness. However, penetration/invasion ability of stored product insects varies by material type, thickness, storage duration, insect species, and life stages. The current packaging varieties (kraft paper, woven, PE-PE, and PET-PE) have all demonstrated significant positive results on reducing adult emergences when larvae are exposed to the treated materials, and could be easily implemented into an integrated pest management program as a packaging control strategy against multiple stored product insect species to protect the foodstuffs along the supply chain.”

Deanna S. Scheff, Frank H. Arthur, Scott W. Myers
Evaluation of [treated] packaging against Trogoderma granarium Everts and Trogoderma inclusum LeConte larval development and packaging penetration or invasion
Journal of Stored Products Research, 11 Oct 2019

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“Stored-product insects are a common and persistent problem in food-processing facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, retail stores, and consumer pantries (Highland, 1978). The warehouse beetle, Trogoderma variabile Ballion, and Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner), are cosmopolitan insect pests (Highland, 1978; Campbell et al., 2002; Arthur et al., 2014), and are associated with food package infestations in retail environments (Roesli et al., 2003).

Despite T. variabile not climbing directly onto the food packaging surface, the volatility and effectiveness of the [treated] packaging material was evident from the deformities observed when exposed to [treated] packages in contrast to not finding any deformities when exposed to untreated packages. Scheff et al. (2016, 2017) also observed deformations in the egg to adult development of T. variabile exposed [to] woven packaging materials.”

Deanna S. Scheff, Bhadriraju Subramanyam, Frank. H. Arthur, Hulya Dogan
Plodia interpunctella and Trogoderma variable larval penetration and invasion of untreated and [treated] foil packaging
Journal of Stored Products Research, 1 May 2018

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“Dry foods, both in raw and processed forms, face contamination and infestation by insects during storage and/or long transportation cycles. Provision Value Gard (PVG) has a unique, organic, and safe, approach to interrupt the growth cycle of insects in packaged foods thereby decreasing the loss of food, the need for harmful pesticides and the overall costs. This paper documents tests conducted to determine the efficacy of the PVG solution with respect to common insect pests associated with the loss of dry foods in India.

The egg hatchability and growth from egg to adult emergence of red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum and cigarette beetle Lasioderma. serricorne, were evaluated in untreated and PVG treated packaging materials at an average ambient temperature of 32ºC and an average of 60 percent relative humidity (R.H). To test these entire hypotheses, 9 cm diameter packaging samples were placed in petri dish and 2 grams of a food source were added to the arenas. One group of arenas had 50 Tribolium eggs added. The second group of arenas had 30 Lasioderma larvae added. The hatchability of Tribolium was consistently lower in PVG treated packaging as compared to the untreated packaging. There was no development of larvae to pupa in any of the PVG treated arenas. Similar results were observed with the larva of Lasioderma.

None of the eggs emerged into adults in PVG treated packaging materials. Thus PVG solutions appear to fulfill the promise of effectively inhibiting the growth of T. castaneum and serricorne.

Stored product insects are a recurring and persistent problem in retail shops and storage godowns where they cause damage to food products. In India, the damage of stored grains by insect pests was estimated as 6.5 percent of the total storage amount (Raju, 1984). Infested food products result in infection and health issues, thus makes the consumers to loss their confidence. Both red flour beetle, T. castaneum, and the cigarette beetle, L. serricorne are pests of stored food products worldwide. They attack stored grain and processed foods including flour, cereals, pasta, biscuits, beans, and nuts, etc. Innovations in food packaging are being adopted by Indian packaging companies to make the packaging more resistant to infestation problems so as to increase the shelf life of food products and to reduce losses, while being safe for humans. These options can be prohibitively expensive.

Provision Value Gard provides protection to multiple forms of packaging materials, by arresting the growth and development of insects at the earlier stage. It affects larvae moulting and transformation from the larvae to pupal stage or from pupal to adult stage. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of untreated and PVG treated packaging materials on egg hatchability and growth from egg to adult emergence of T. castaneum and L. serricorne.

To determine the effect of packaging material on life stage of T. castaneum and L. serricorne, both untreated and PVG treated materials were cut to size and inserted into the 9cm diameter petri dishes. Approximately two grams of wheat flour was added to each dish.

The present study has demonstrated the effectiveness of Provision Value Gard treated packaging materials against red flour beetle, T. castaneum and cigarette beetle, L. serricorne. Exposure of egg stage of T. castaneum to PVG treated packaging materials showed efficacy in inhibiting the growth of larval stage and further development of insects. The packaging treatment with PVG could be used as a preventive method to help manage stored products insects in areas where bagged and packaged food products are stored. Thus PVG products will effectively help in the inhibiting the growth of T. castaneum and L. serricorne.”

Project Leader: Dr. M. Loganathan
Assistant: Mr Akash, PA

Effect of PVG treated polymer packaging on fecundity, Egg hatchability and egg to adult emergence of Tribolium castaneum Larvae development of Lasioderma serricorne
Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology
(Ministry of Food Processing Industries)

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“Current methods employed by food manufacturers and warehouse facilities to control  stored-product insects include stock rotation, fumigation, contact insecticides, and aerosol applications. These pest management techniques used singly may not be enough to prevent infestations or control populations of stored-product insects in manufacturing facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, or retail environments. However, a multi-pronged approach to pest management which incorporates practices such as sanitation, trapping, aerosol applications, and IGR-treated packaging may provide an unsuitable environment for stored-product insect populations. The [treated] packaging used in this study could be used in conjunction with existing pest management programs to prevent stored-product insect infestations in packaged foods as part of an integrated pest management program. Continual exposure …through an entire life cycle resulted in zero normal adult beetles…The results of this study indicate that this new packaging technology appears to be cost affective during long storage periods, which would occur during storage in warehouses, distribution centers, and retail stores where packaged products could be stored for weeks to months before they are moved, shipped, or bought. The [treated] packaging would be a valuable asset to protect such packaged products over time. [Treated] packaging has shown promise to be a method for protecting food products, and further testing is warranted.”

Deanna S. Scheff, Bhadriraju Subramanyam, Frank H. Arthur
Susceptibility of Tribolium castaneum and Trogoderma variabile larvae
and adults exposed to ProvisionGard® treated woven packaging material
Journal of Stored Products Research, 15 August 2017

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“This study has shown the effectiveness of [treated] polymer packaging against T. castaneum and T. variable. Exposure of various life stages of both insect species on the treated packaging produced lethal and sub-lethal effects. Packaging treatments could be used as a preventive method to help manage stored-product insects in facilities where bagged and packaged food products are stored. Further experiments can be done to evaluate different [treated] packaging materials to assess efficacy on stored-product insects that were not evaluated in this study.”

Deanna S. Scheff, Bhadriraju Subramanyam, Frank H. Arthur
Effect of ProvisionGard® treated polymer packaging on fecundity, egg
hatchability, and egg-to-adult emergence of Tribolium castaneum and
Trogoderma variabile

Journal of Stored Products Research, 18 July 2016

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“Packaged foods face many challenges before they are finally consumed. These include package flaws during manufacture, improper handling during shipment, inadequate storage conditions, lack of proper product rotation, and improper sealing in the home. Increased restrictions on pesticide use and emphasis placed on sanitation may be somewhat hindered by demanding production schedules, so the development of insect-resistant packaging is of increasing importance to both the consumer and the manufacturer. The consumer is assured of insect-free food, and the manufacturer is protected against loss of goodwill and lawsuits arising from insect infestations in consumer-sized packaging. Future research in this area will lead to the development of more effective packaging methods to ensure that packaged foods remain insect-free until consumed.”

Michael A. Mullen, Jade M. Vardeman, Jim Bagwell
Insect-Resistant Packaging
K-State Research and Extension

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Product Overview
A new technology in pest management is an insect resistant packaging that is US EPA approved and FDA compliant for all types of food, feed, and seed packaging. ProvisionGard was designed to protect commodity for over one year from stored product insects and can be implemented easily at current packaging suppliers for pennies per bag. Designed for paper/woven bags and super sacks, it requires no labeling and safely reduces insect populations in and around your stored products. The following study demonstrates efficacy using common stored grain beetles.

Studies are being conducted by the USDA-ARS and ProvisionGard Technologies to evaluate residual efficacy of packaging material with the insect growth regulator [treatment] incorporated into the laminate exterior of bag packaging.

Materials and Methods
Experimental units for beetles consisted of either the inside or outside of untreated or treated bags placed in the bottom of a 62 cm2 Petri dish (10 mm high), and sealed by caulking around the edges. Ten larvae of either beetle species were placed in an experimental dish, and there were 6 replicates for the inside and outside of the bags for both the treated bags and the untreated control bags. The criterion for assessment was the emergence of morphologically normal adults of all species. [Treatment] can cause physical deformities in insects (like twisted wings and missing segments).

Treated bags and also companion untreated bags were tested by the USDA ARS in Manhattan, KS. [Treated] residual tests on bags were conducted to measure efficacy. Test
insect species are 4-week old larvae of the red flour beetle (RFB) and the same age larvae of the confused flour beetle (CFB).

The outside and the inside of the treated bags showed activity of the red flour beetle larvae and the confused flour beetle larvae in the time trials. No adult RFB emerged from the larvae that were exposed on the treated packaging. There was some emergence of normal adult CFB from larvae exposed on the inside and outside of the bags. This is consistent with previous tests with [treatment] that indicate that the CFB is less affected compared to the RFB.

For more information about this new IPM packaging tool, go to and watch a video.”

Jim Bagwell, President of ProvisionGard Technology
Smart Packaging: NEW IPM CONCEPT

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