It’s summertime nice hot weather time to get jumping in fountains visit beaches, get the BBQ up and going. Enjoying the outdoors and having fun with friends and relatives. Until now I had not associated the weather with vacuum sealing food and food safety in tandem. But when you think about it what a great idea to vacuum seal your picnics. Placing a vacuum sealed lunch in a cooler of ice is a very safe way to keep your food cold without becoming soggy.
Summer in the Northern hemisphere is associated with the months of June, July and August, in the Southern hemisphere summer belongs to the other side of the calendar, December, January and February. Somewhere in-between the Northern and Southern hemisphere, the area we know best as the tropics, it’s always summer.
During the day it is always around 93 F and at night it is around 79 F, humidity is high, but people hardly talk about the weather unlike in the Northern hemisphere where the weather is first thing people talk about in the morning.
“Good morning, nice weather today” that kind of thing.
The moment summer arrives in the Northern hemisphere and temperatures are on the rise, authorities start to broadcast their arsenal of warnings to the public.
Are these warnings taken seriously by the public? Some of them absolutely! Sun shields and other protective stuff in cream or spray form, fly out of the stores.
Ice cream and cold drink vendors are having brisk sales with thousands of half- naked dressed people flocking to places where they hope to beat the heat.
Everyone is so happy that the clouds are finally out of the sky that no one cares about food safety, beat the heat takes center stage.
People in the tropics go to markets, buy fresh food, transport the food home and process for lunch or dinner, plus they have leftovers, they have pets and elderly relatives, but no one cares about these Northern hemisphere summer issues.
Food poisoning incidents occur, but if they are at an alarming scale, I dare to disagree. People go to work in suits, elderly go about their business as they like, pets stay indoors when it is too hot outside, and there are no daily advises how to keep food safe for consumption, yet people eat without getting sick.
How do they do that!!
‘How safe is food traded at high temperatures?’, a Google search brings you lots of info about food safety. When you key in, ‘How safe is food traded in the tropics’, there is no page pointing to the point I am trying to make.
All information refers back to how the ‘Western world is used to treat food’.
Perishables like, fish, meat, poultry should be protected, and vacuum sealing these products prior to handing them would increase food safety measure. Traders often use a chiller to keep their products safe at selling point, but after that everybody, including food safety authorities leave it up to the consumer to protect their valuable foods.
Preventing unwanted bacteria from developing during your journey home; at the least slow the process of bacterial growth significantly especially with high summer temperatures is important.
Vacuum packing food is known to be a perfect measure to keep your food safer and in good condition, but is actually only practiced in food processing plants, some old time supermarkets and fresh markets or farmers markets cling wrap their fresh products or just pack in paper.
Strange isn’t it, tons of stories about food safety, but how, when and where you buy your food and how you keep it during your shopping spree it not talked about much. There are mentioning’s about how long the food should travel before it reaches your fridge, something few will only pay attention to. We enjoy when the weather is good and stroll around the market longer than normal and we treat ourselves to a coffee on a terrace before we go home.
We are not supposed to leave a pet in a hot car, so we all know how hot a car can become when left in the hot sun. This cannot be too good for your perishables, so bring a cooler box along when shopping, ask the vendor to vacuum pack if they can, place the perishables in the cooler box and then return and continue your stroll and enjoy a refreshment without a worry. If you meats while vacuum packed become hot, do not eat them.
By: Marinus Hoogendoorn