“A vacuum packaging machines is one of the multifunctional devices that I use in my kitchen every day,” said Deivydas Praspaliauskas, a representative of Scandinavian cuisine and founder of the Amandus restaurant.
In many restaurants and home kitchens, unused or uneaten leftovers are accumulated on a daily basis. This creates a lot of food that is just thrown away, and we all know that such waste is a global problem. A vacuum packaging machines is a device that extends the shelf life of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and other products, so it can contribute to the solution. The vacuum-sealed product stays fresh for longer, as it is protected from microbiological and physical contamination.
Food spoils due to bacteria, which multiply when the right conditions are created in the air and on surfaces (depending on the temperature, pH and the weather). During vacuum-sealing, the product is placed into a special bag, then the air is sucked out by a vacuum and the package is sealed. This eliminates the medium necessary for aerobic bacteria to multiply.
Vacuum packaging machines were developed quite recently, in the 1970s, but rapidly gained popularity because they are both practical and easy to use. They come in two types: chambered and external. The main differences are the performance, operation time and the option to vacuum liquids.
An external vacuum sealer requires more skill and effort to use; for example, the bags have to be held by hand. Meanwhile, chamber vacuum sealers are automated, which allows you and your team to save time in the kitchen. Furthermore, this type of vacuum sealer is the only one that can be used to vacuum soups, sauces and other liquid products.
The following criteria should be taken into account when you are choosing a vacuum packaging machines:
The Rules for Good Hygiene Practices for Catering Companies, approved by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, state that the shelf-life of a vacuum-sealed product may not exceed 5 days unless it is otherwise specified by the equipment supplier, or its validity is determined by tests in accredited laboratories. Therefore, to ensure the quality and safety of vacuum-sealed semi-finished products and to establish their shelf-life, it is necessary to perform regular controls and laboratory tests.
The films or bags used for vacuum-sealing must be suitable for contact with food, with documents proving their quality. All vacuum-sealed products must also be labelled to ensure traceability. The product label must include the:
According to the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom, vacuum-sealed products must be stored in a cold place at a temperature not exceeding +3 °C (limit – +8 °C). Although the vacuum-sealing prevents the growth of aerobic bacteria, it retains favourable conditions for the growth of clostridium botulinum, which is dangerous to human life. Please keep in mind that vacuum-sealed products cooked in a circulator must be cooled immediately and kept cold.
It is equally important to constantly clean and disinfect the vacuum sealer, to avoid cross-contamination. After all, this device is generally used for a wide range of products.