Mama Mia! Italian Scientists Find New Way to Extend Fresh Pasta Freshness

How long does fresh pasta last? Researchers have found a recipe to make it last even longer

Everyone knows fresh pasta doesn’t last very long, right? Well, researchers in Italy have discovered a way to extend the shelf life of pasta for up to a month. For those who love fresh pasta, this is great news: Let’s hear it for pasta innovation!

Pasta dishes have been part of Italian cuisine for centuries, and a kitchen staple for everyone around the world for several generations. But the wonderful thing about pasta is that we’re always learning new things about how to improve it. Italians love pasta so much that they never stop innovating their beloved foodstuff.

The danger for fresh pasta is this: The longer it sits in your refrigerator, the higher the chances that yucky, unhealthy mold and fungus will grow.

How Long Does Fresh Pasta Last?

Typically, unopened store-bought fresh pasta only lasts about two or three days in the fridge. It can last longer if you pop it in the freezer, though—up to a month or two.

What Did Researchers Discover About Fresh Pasta?

Pasta science is serious science. The fresh pasta study was published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology and carried out in part by Italy’s National Research Council, the largest public research institution in the country. According to the Guardian, scientists in Italy experimented with several types of packaging, adding a probiotic mixture to the pasta dough to reduce the growth of undesired molds and fungus. The results suggest the new approach to packaging extends the shelf life of refrigerated fresh pasta to 120 days.

Researchers ran tests with a short, thin twisted pasta shape called trofie, according to New Food. One set of fresh pasta was made and packaged in the conventional way, while a second set was manufactured traditionally but stored in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). MAP is an experimental method where oxygen is removed and replaced with nitrogen and carbon dioxide. With the third set of fresh pasta, scientists added probiotic strains. This set was then stored in experimental MAP.

How Does This Pasta Research Benefit Consumers?

“From the consumer’s standpoint, a definite advantage of this product is the long shelf life and ease of storage,” said Francesca De Leo, a researcher at the National Research Council. “This can be particularly important considering that consumers tend more and more to reduce the frequency of their food purchases, and consequently store as much as possible at home.”

Longer shelf life also means less food waste. Leo said these new advancements in fresh pasta could help to prevent food waste, but only if “companies are willing to accept the challenge and innovate.” The UN World Food Program estimates that about a third of all food produced each year is squandered or lost before it can be consumed.

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