Vacuum packing of food has been commonplace on a commercial level for a number of years but they are now becoming more commonplace within the home as a method of preserving and cooking food.
The reason that vacuum packing is so popular as a method of storing food is because using a vacuum packing machine withdraws the air surrounding the food product that would otherwise cause it to spoil. Bacteria and fungi that are normally present in the air and on the surface of food products use air to grow, and leave waste materials that affect the taste of food products or even cause illness. However, these organisms require air in order to grow. Vacuum packing removes this air thus preventing their growth, and also prevents further organisms from accessing the food.
This is not a faultless method of storing food though; even the best of vacuum packers can only extend the shelf-life of food rather than prevent spoilage completely. Likewise, vacuum packed food also needs to be stored at the temperature that it would usually be stored at if it hadn’t been vacuum packed. For example, vacuum packed fish and meat must still be stored in a refrigerator or freezer.
But, the amount of time that vacuum packing can extend shelf-life by is significant. For example, cooked meat will last for 2 days in the fridge when stored normally but can last for up to 10 days when vacuum packed. Fresh meat and chicken last 2 days in the fridge when packaged normally but can last up to 6 days when vacuum packed. Preserved meats such as salami can even last up to a year when vacuum packed, versus the 3 months they would usually last if stored regularly.
For this reason, and because vacuum packaging machines are rapidly decreasing in price, home use of vacuum packing machines is becoming increasingly common as a method of increasing shelf life of foods at home as well as reducing home wastage of food.
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