How to vac pack safely

The origins of vac packing in food safety

Dr Karl Busch developed the first vacuum pump to be used for vacuum packaging of foodstuffs.

Busch still make vac pack machines today but originally they were used to preserve the food for German soldiers and their families during World War II. Vac packing was then used on a more commercial scale to increase the shelf life of food.

Many food businesses use vac packing commercially today to extend the shelf life of raw, prepared and cooked products. However it is very important that food safety and cross contamination controls are followed when vac packing food to ensure that food is safe to eat.

What is vacuum packing?

Vacuum packing involves removing air from the packaging that surrounds food and preventing its return by an airtight seal.

In a typical vacuum pack, the packaging material is moulded closely around the food. Vacuum packing food can help maintain freshness, flavour, appearance, and texture and extend the shelf-life to 10 days [except for beef lamb and pork at 13 days] to help with wastage and food production.

It is important that if the shelf life is extended to more than 10 days that an addition preservation method to chilling is applied to the food e.g. pH, reduced water content, brining etc. 

What are the food safety risks in vac packing?

How to document the food safety risks in vac packing

The food safety risks identified in vac packing which are detailed above must be included in your food safety management system. This is a legal requirement and needs to be based on HACCP, see my blog A glossary of terms to help you understand HACCP.

I have explained how to put a HACCP plan together in my blog How to get your head around Food Safety Management Systems.

Download the vac packing safely template. Just click on the button below.

The recommendations made in putting together this risk assessment for the safety and shelf life of vacuum-packed foods take into consideration current government legislation and guidance. The controls, monitoring and corrective action suggested are to help you get started. You will need to look at what you are doing in your food business and delete those that don’t apply or write down additional controls if necessary.

Note if you are doing sous vide you will need an additional risk assessment. 

food maufacturing

Free downloadable

HACCP Plan template for vac packing safely

Useful resources

Contact me

If you need further support with vac packing or food safety in your business give me a call to have an informal chat.

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Helen Groves

How to vac pack safely

The origins of vac packing in food safety Dr Karl Busch developed the first vacuum pump to be used for vacuum packaging of foodstuffs. Busch

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