There are many different types of vacuum sealing equipment available for home use. They vary significantly in technological capabilities and price, and are also commonly referred to as vacuum packaging machines. These devices were invented for a variety of food industry applications, including packaged and pre-packaged foods. As of today, vacuum sealing machines come as two types, edge sealers and chamber sealers. The Weston Pro 2300 we reviewed a while back happens to be our favorite edge sealer and the Vacmaster VP320, our favorite chamber sealer, likewise.
Vacuum packaging is a widely accepted packaging method today, but it has a number of drawbacks. Disadvantages of vacuum sealing includes food poisoning, crushing of delicate foods, bacterial contaminations etc. which may pose severe health issues. So in this article, we are going to see the dangers of vacuum sealing food and is vacuum sealing food safe in the long run.
What Is Vacuum Sealing?
Vacuum sealing is a packaging technique that removes air from the package before sealing it. This method entails putting items in a plastic bag, expelling air from the package, and sealing the package. Vacuum sealing inhibits atmospheric oxygen, preventing the growth of aerobic bacteria and fungi and blocking volatile components from evaporating.
The primary cause of food degradation is oxygen. The vacuuming of oxygen can often and significantly help to extend the life of perishable food items. Vacuum sealing protects both consumable and non-consumable items.
How Does Vacuum Sealing Increase the Shelf Life of Foods?
Vacuum sealing is incredibly beneficial for foods that tend to rot or turn rancid and have a small shelf life. As a result of the airtight condition, these food items can no longer come into contact with and be damaged by air.
Once the food is placed in an airtight bag, the vacuum sealer removes the air, ensuring that the item remains intact for an extended period.
For example, a good way to avoid freezer burn is to vacuum seal your food. Since the food ingredients aren’t in direct contact with the adverse conditions of the freezer, the time it takes to experience the effects of burn is much longer than when introduced to too much air or improper storage.
Disadvantages of Vacuum Sealing Food
The cost of a high-quality commercial grade vacuum sealers varies according to the machine’s quality and size. With all of those features, a vacuum sealer is bound to cost a lot of money. There are some less expensive vacuum sealers on the supply chain too, but they would only work with smaller bags.
There is also the extra expense of the packing material, which is available as rolls or bags. The bags you’d have to pack your food and other items are also expensive. And, because the bags are frequently single-use only or semi-reusable, there’s also a constant need to purchase vacuum-rated pouches.
2. Contamination from Anaerobic Bacteria
Disadvantages of vacuum sealing food includes bacterial poisoning. Many bacteria that cause food contamination need moisture and oxygen to grow and replicate normally. It is a widespread myth that vacuum sealing food kills bacteria and keeps food safe. However, there are other types of bacteria that flourish in an oxygen-free environment, known as anaerobic bacteria. Toxins produced by the bacteria can lead to food poisoning. The change in taste of the food contaminated by these bacteria can be difficult to detect. So, vacuum sealing alone doesn’t guarantee safe and hygienic food.
3. Plastic Poisoning
Plastics are passively contaminating food and one of the biggest dangers of vacuum sealing food. Regardless of the fact that vacuum sealing extends the shelf life of food, the plastic gradually merges with it and contaminates it. Bisphenol-A, a chemical substance found primarily in plastic vacuum sealing bags, poses a significant risk. This Bisphenol-A may play havoc with the body’s endocrine system, resulting in an imbalance of the hormone Estrogen. In the long run, this could lead to fertility issues.
Although, if you use these plastic bags repeatedly, you are more likely to become intoxicated from plastic poisoning. Using new bags each time minimizes the risk of plastic poisoning.
4. Crushes Delicate Food
Vacuum sealing is not suitable for delicate and soft foods such as soft crusted bread, pastries, and cookies. As vacuum sealing eliminates air out of a bag and everything inside it, the air pockets between these pastries are sucked. The shape of these food products may crumble as a result of this process. The vacuum bag could break down or deflate the pastries, altering their texture.
Some fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, are also terrible for vacuum-sealing. In addition to crushing them, the damage caused by it accelerates the dissolution of the green vegetables.
Related Read: Can You Vacuum Seal Lettuce?
5. Can’t Seal Liquids Effectively
The inability of vacuum sealers to effectively seal liquids is a problem. Before the liquid reaches the sealing point, the bag must be sealed. When the liquid comes into contact with the in-process seal, it will not seal.
If liquid enters the area to be heat sealed, it will simply not seal properly. Although it appears to have sealed the bag, there is a chance that the seal will break after a while. However, if you have it as a task at hand, this is how you vacuum seal liquids.
Furthermore, if the liquid has risen to the top of the bag, it has most likely been sucked into your vacuum sealer, which will eventually damage it.
Verdict | Is Vacuum Sealing Food Safe?
You might have often wondered “is vacuum sealing food safe?” As long as you have taken the proper precautions in organizing your food in a clean and safe environment, your vacuum sealed food should be safe from contamination and slow growth bacteria.
Vacuum packaging is also suitable for storing frozen foods. However, proper thawing under conditions that limit bacterial growth – such as refrigeration – would be required. If the package is kept closed during thawing, a vacuum environment exists in which pathogenic bacteria can be active if the temperature is high enough.
However, concerns about storing these perishable foods can be exacerbated by vacuum packaging. When vacuum packaging perishables for refrigerator or freezer storage, there are numerous precautions that must be taken. You must assume that there is a great possibility of pathogenic contamination in perishable food.
To conclude, you can say vacuum sealing is beneficial for certain types of food. But you should consider vacuum sealing before sealing liquid, delicate, mushy food or food that contains a lot of moisture, that are prone to crush or that carry the risk of potential bacterial growth.