Consortium at the Forefront of Hermetic Standard

By: Kyle Poorman

Consortium for Innovation for Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste ReductionIowa State University

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) announced that it is undertaking a standard setting process for the testing and performance of hermetic grain-storage bags. Dr. Dirk E. Maier and his Ph.D. student Ma. Cristine Concepcion D. Ignacio initiated the standard setting process through actions undertaken with ASABE and their extensive hermetic storage research conducted at Iowa State University is underpinning the standard. Completion and adoption of the standard is a key objective for the Consortium for Innovation for Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction.

Ignacio and Maier’s hermetic research on the engineering properties of commercially available storage liners has shown that there are vast differences in the engineering properties of the ‘hermetic’ bags that are currently on the market. This means that the term of ‘hermetic’ is not well defined, not currently based upon sound science, and has the ability to confuse or maybe even defraud consumers. This does not mean that commercial liners on the market are substandard, but rather the claim of hermecity is not well defined. This fact demonstrates the need to develop an international standard to ensure that claims of hermeticity and the control of biological activity are truly based upon rigorous scientific data, something that is currently lacking. The standard will protect consumers and ensure hermetic bags function as advertised.

The Consortium for Innovation in Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction and Iowa State University supports the development this standard and members are working with the ASABE standard setting project. Ultimately, the ASABE hermetic storage standard, known as X657, will specify performance parameters, testing the performance and strength of the bags, and rating liner hermeticity. Those interested in participating in the development of the ASABE standard may contact Jean Walsh ( for more information.