Food waste is a big problem in the world!

It’s hard to believe!

This contributes to excess consumption of freshwater and fossil fuels. One ton of food waste prevented can save 4.2 tons of CO2 equivalent.

Food waste happens throughout the food life cycle: from the field to your table. That also includes the scrubs from the food that actually makes it to the final stage and is consumed.

Here are 10 facts you might not know about food waste:

1.1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year
2. This amounts to US1$ trillion dollars of wasted or lost food
3. If wasted food was a country, it would be the third largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world, after the United States and China
4. Just one-quarter of all wasted food could feed the 795 million undernourished people around the world who suffer from hunger
5. Food waste in rich countries (222 million tons) is approximately equivalent to all of the food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons)
6. A European or North American consumer wastes almost 100 kilograms of food annually, which is more than his or her weight (70 kilograms)
7. A European or North American consumer wastes 15 times more food than a typical African consumer
8. Lack of technology and infrastructure is the main cause of food waste in Africa, as opposed to household food waste in the developed world
9. Food waste in Europe alone could feed 200 million hungry people
10. Food waste generates 3.3 billions tons of carbon dioxide, which accelerates global climate change

FAT TOM: Six Factors That Contribute to Food Spoilage

If you’ve been to culinary school, or maybe taken a food-safety class to become certified as a food service worker, you know all about FAT TOM. But home cooks can learn a lot by getting to know FAT TOM, too.

•Food
•Acidity
•Time
•Temperature
•Oxygen
•Moisture

Once you have purchased a vacuum sealer, you will soon notice that your life in the kitchen has become much easier. You won’t have to waste leftovers and you won’t need to avoid buying cheap products and food when it is on sale, simply because you don’t how to store it and keep it fresh. A Vacuum sealer will not only help you store food and products in the home but it can be very useful in other ways too. When you want to go with your family on a camping trip, for example, all you have to do is seal up all the products that you plan to take with you in a bag and keep them somewhere cold. Then, you can use them whenever you want without having to buy them again and the food won’t take up as much room as it would if you left it in conventional packaging. The most common use of vacuum sealers, though, is for the storing of food, because vacuum sealing food in containers will keep the food fresh for up to five times longer than conventional packaging, and it also seals in all the flavor and the goodness of the food too. Using a vacuum sealer really is a piece of cake.

How Vacuum Sealers Preserve Food?     

Preserving food in a vacuum guarantees freshness – but watch out for anaerobic germs!

Vacuum sealers preserve food primarily inhibiting the growth of mold, fungus, and spoilage bacteria such as mesophiles, psychrotrophs, thermophiles, and psychrophiles. When these bacteria reproduce and multiply, they break down organic enzymes, such as chlorophyll in plants and iron-containing pigments in protein, and leave behind ammonia, amines, sulfides, and organic acid buildups that cause discoloration, rancid odors, and slimy residues. They not only ruin the taste, appearance, and texture of your food, but also cause serious illness if eaten. Fortunately, these types of bacteria are obligate bacteria, which mean they require oxygen to metabolize food and reproduce. If the amount of oxygen is reduced, their growth is slowed down. This greatly reduces the risk of alteration due to oxidization and the proliferation of aerobic bacteria that develop in the presence of air or oxygen. However, the vacuum promotes the development of anaerobic bacteria such as the botulinum toxin. Cold inhibits anaerobic germs, so it is a necessary part of the process of preserving food in a vacuum. After extracting the ambient air from the bag containing the food to be preserved, a new automated technique can be used to introduce a certain volume of an inert gas blend and then hermetically seal the bag. The gas prevents the food from being crushed. The main gases used to make modified atmospheres are nitrogen N2 and carbon dioxide CO2. Adding oxygen O2 helps retain the color of red meat. This modified atmosphere packaging is also associated with low-temperature storage. It goes without saying that, the containers need to be sealed hermetically to protect the food from external influences as well as to prevent odors from escaping.

 Vacuum Packing

is a method of packaging that removes air from the package prior to sealing. This method involves (manually or automatically) placing items in a plastic film package, removing air from inside, and sealing The intent of vacuum packing is usually to remove oxygen from the container to extend the shelf life of foods and, with flexible package forms, to reduce the volume of the contents and package.

Vacuum packing reduces atmospheric oxygen, limiting the growth of aerobic bacteria or fungi, and preventing the evaporation of volatile components. It is also commonly used to store dry foods over a long period of time, such as cereals, nuts, cured meats, cheese, smoked fish, coffee, and potato chips (crisps). On a shorter term basis, vacuum packing can also be used to store fresh foods, such as vegetables, meats, and liquids, because it inhibits bacterial growth the package.

Freezer Burn and Dehydration

Vacuum sealing also protects food from freezer burn and dehydration. The vacuum seal bag keeps food out of contact with the air, so the moisture inside can’t evaporate. Freezer burn occurs when water sublimates inside your food. The ice crystals inside become into water vapor and get drawn up to the surface of your food, where they either freeze again and or escapes into the surrounding air. Freezer burn isn’t dangerous, but it ruins the taste and texture of your food. Freezer burned meat is cottony, bland, and flavorless. Sealing it in a vacuum bag prevents this process. Vacuum sealed food will taste as rich and tender when you unpack it as it did when it was originally sealed.

Storage

Vacuum sealed food can’t be left out at room temperature. The sealing process does not affect all strains of bacteria, only ones that depend on oxygen. Other bacteria strains, anaerobic bacteria, do not require oxygen in order to grow and reproduce. Some of these stains are pathogenic and cause illness if ingested. Without competition from spoilage bacteria, they will spread quickly in food that is not stored properly. In order to protect yourself from them, always freeze or refrigerate your food. If you’re storing food in a freezer, set it to zero degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, bacterial growth will be completely frozen. If you’re refrigerating your food, store fruits and vegetables at 45-41 degrees Fahrenheit. Store meats at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Dry foods, such as cereals, bread, flour, rice, sugar, pasta, and beans, should be stored at 70-50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Effects of Vacuum Sealing on Shelf life     

Vacuum sealers preserve food 3-5 times longer than food stored in plastic bags or containers.
The amount of time it will last depends on the type of food and whether it’s stored in a refrigerator, freezer, or pantry.

To keep track of your food’s freshness, write the date on the bag after you seal it. This will let you know how long it’s been stored and how quickly it should be eaten.

In the 17th century, Denis Papin carried out new research into preserving food. He began experimenting with vacuum pump technology and managed to keep an apple fresh for several months using vacuum packaging.

Following up on this work, he published his first essay, Les Nouvelles expériences sur le vide. At the time, there were few known physical procedures for preserving food and it was not until 1920 in the United States that the first pieces of vacuum-packed meat became available. The technique has evolved toward other uses over the last twenty years or so and is now associated with culinary techniques, such as modified atmosphere packaging and cooking food in a vacuum.

Vacuum sealing was originally used by food packing companies in the 1940’s as a way to save money. The technique prevented spoilage and prolong the shelf life of food products, especially ones transported over long distances. Not only it hindered the growth of bacteria and mold, but it also kept food fresh and prevented freezer burn. Vacuum sealing is still used for the exact same purpose today. It’s a convenient and economical way for households to preserve, protect, and store their food.