Food safety and Vacuum Sealing

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CHEFTALK

 

 

Food safety and Vacuum Sealing

 

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Where it starts

 

We all cook some food at home one way or the other, you fry an egg for breakfast, bake an occasional cake or cook home cooked meals on a daily basis. Any form of home cooking requires food safety aspects. Nobody wants to get food poisoning or maybe in the less bad case an upset tummy, food is there to enjoy, not feeling bad about.

 

Worldwide are food safety regulations put into place by authorities, food producers and manufacturers are required to adhere to these regulations. Some countries have much stricter rules than others; you should expect that developing countries have less strict rules than developed countries, well this is not necessary so.

 

Food safety is by definition a scientific discipline describing food handling, preparation and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards.

 

The tracks between these lines of thought are safety between industry and market and then market and consumer, food safety considerations include the origins of food relating to practices of food labeling, food handling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues. Imports from foreign sources and export are other important industry related factors.

The usual thought is that food should be safe in the market and the concern is safe delivery and preparation for consumers, but how about consumer food handling?

 

 

Food safety at home

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In general, food safety concerns are pretty much in place, but we need to understand that food safety does not stop when a manufacturer writes that all is fine on a label.

Food can transmit diseases from person to person as well as serve as a growth media for bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

An in the developed world accepted thought is that intricate standards of food preparations are in place and therefore the food in the market should be safe, whereas the developing world relies on safe water as their main concern.

Is the above true? I dare to question.

 

According to the world health organization (WHO), food poisoning is 100% preventable. They have listed five key principals of food hygiene, they are:

 

  1. Prevent contaminating food with pathogens, spreading from people, pets and pests
  2. Separate raw and cooked foods to prevent contaminating the cooked foods
  3. Cook food for an appropriate length of time to kill pathogens
  4. Store foods at an appropriate temperature
  5. Use safe water and raw materials

 

Pretty much a list we can all agree on, but also a list that raises many questions.

 

Food manufacturers, big or small, are running a business and for that reason only the strict necessary will appear on their labeling. In the US for example, labeling requirements are regulated by federal, state and local officials, the system has been criticized as lacking in organization, regulatory tools and not addressing foodborne illnesses.

 

A study conducted by Reuters showed that corporate interest often supersedes the work of field inspectors by withholding food safety information or pressuring regulators to withdraw or alter policies designed to protect consumers.

 

Except for infant formula, baby food and dairy products, Federal law in the US does not require an expiration date on packaging; a freshness date is strictly voluntary on part of the manufacturer.

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In response to consumer demand, a sell by date is common, but it is up to the consumer to decide on the expiration of the product, increasing the risk of food borne hazards.

 

The average consumer is left in a limbo here, not knowing who or what to believe, plus the above proves that corporate interest is often ranked above consumer’s food safety.

 

 

What options do we have ?

 

One way to avoid food safety issues is to buy your goods from small local farmers who do not have corporate interests.

Possibly you need to buy a bit more in one go, local markets often operate once a week, if so you can portion your purchase and vacuum pack, a perfect method to keep your food safe and in optimum condition.

 

Food safety measures described above can easily be implemented at home, increasing self-control and reducing risks of food borne illnesses.

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Vacuum sealing is the ultimate tool aiding consumers to be, to a far extend, in self-control of your domestic food safety.

If your phone doesn’t work, you can find your vacuum sealer here:

www.vacupack.com  for USA and www.vacupack.ca for Canada.

 

 

 

By: Marinus Hoogendoorn

 

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