"When the apple is sliced the carrot shredded or the broccoli cut a cascading set of physiological and biochemical reactions are initiated which will cause a rapid deterioration of the product." William Romig EPL Technologies MAPack '95 Three fresh-cut produce packages each using different ways to retard Romig's "cascading set of physiological and biochemical reactions" are winners of the Flexible Packaging Association's 1995 Top Packaging Awards. (For a look at other FPA winners see pages 22 41 and 64.) Though each solution is different all involve breathable films and passive controlled atmosphere technology. In other words they extend shelf life by limiting oxygen supply slowing the live product's respiration rate and thus retarding spoilage. One of the winning packages is from Met West Agribusiness a grower/packer in Del Rey CA (see PW October '95 p. 2). Its 1-lb portions of Sunmet sliced apples (1) in zippered reclosable bags reached store shelves last September. Refrigerated shelf life is 12 days thanks to the pressure-sensitive Fresh Hold® label developed by Fresh Valley Technology (Salinas CA) and converted by Avery Dennison (Monrovia CA). The label is a breathable film membrane that's applied over a precisely cut hole in the bag. It permits the release of carbon dioxide and the entry of oxygen to create an internal atmosphere where the apples can respire and stay fresh. Citric acid sodium erythorbate and calcium chloride are added to keep the apples from browning. The premade bags a blend of ethylene vinyl acetate and linear low-density polyethylene are flexo printed in four colors by Maine Poly (Greene ME) and supplied on wickets. Met West fills and heat seals them semi-automatically. The apples retail for about $3.