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Vacuum packaging is a very common food packaging method in daily life. Whether you are a buyer or want to run a food business, you must be curious about the concept, characteristics, and limitations of vacuum packaging technology. By reading this article, you will definitely understand these knowledge points.
The concept of vacuum packaging technology
The so-called vacuum packaging refers to a packaging method in which products are placed in airtight packaging containers, and the air inside the containers is extracted to achieve a predetermined vacuum degree in the sealed containers.
As is well known, oxygen in the air is a major factor leading to food spoilage, especially for foods rich in fats and oils. If air is extracted from packaging bags or containers and the concentration of oxygen is reduced, the adverse effects of oxygen on food can be greatly reduced, thereby extending the shelf life of the food.
Vacuum packaging of food refers to placing food in packaging bags or containers with good gas resistance, using a vacuum pump to remove the gas from the container, and then sealing it to create a vacuum environment inside the packaging.
Its characteristics are: low oxygen partial pressure, low water vapor content, and easy diffusion of internal gases or other volatile gases into the air. This can prevent food oxidation, mold, and spoilage, reduce discoloration and fading, reduce the loss of vitamin A and vitamin C, and prevent changes in food color, aroma, and taste.
In addition, vacuum packaging completely isolates food from the external environment, thus effectively preventing food from drying, cross flavor, pollution, and weight loss.
Strictly speaking, ‘vacuum’ does not refer to absolute vacuum. Due to the influence of materials, processes, and equipment, only a portion of air is extracted from vacuum packaged products, so there will still be a small amount of air left in the vacuum packaged products.
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Characteristics of Vacuum Packaging
The main characteristics of vacuum packaging are to ensure the quality and quantity of food and extend the shelf life of food by changing the environment around the packaged food. The specific characteristics are as follows:
Preventing water loss
The packaging material blocks water vapor, preventing the loss of water and keeping the surface of fresh meat and other products soft.
Slow down oxidation
When vacuuming, oxygen is expelled with the air, and due to the barrier properties of packaging materials, it is difficult for oxygen to enter the interior of the packaging from the outside, slowing down the oxidation process.
Inhibiting the growth of microorganisms
Bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms seriously affect the quality and safety of food. Their metabolic products are often toxic and have side effects on the human body, leading to food spoilage. Vacuum packaging can slow down or prevent secondary contamination of microorganisms and the proliferation of aerobic microorganisms.
Prevent loss of aroma
Packaging materials can effectively block the escape of volatile aromatic substances, while also preventing odor transfer between the product and the surrounding environment.
Avoid freezing losses
Packaging materials to a certain extent isolate the product from the outside world, avoiding the exchange of substances inside and outside the packaging, thereby minimizing the weight loss of frozen products.
Limitations of Vacuum Packaging
Firstly, when vacuum packaging food, generally speaking, the higher the vacuum degree, the better the packaging effect and the longer the shelf life; The better the airtightness of the packaging material, the more complete the sealing; The lower the gas content of the food inside, the longer it can maintain a vacuum state.
However, during vacuum packaging, it is impossible to achieve complete vacuum inside the packaging container or bag due to limitations in instruments and equipment, as well as factors such as the retention of certain gases and moisture in the packaged food, and the breathability of the packaging material.
Secondly, the pressure inside and outside the vacuum packaged packaging is imbalanced, and the packaged food is subjected to certain pressure, which can easily stick together or shrink into a ball; Crispy and easily cracked food, such as fried Prawn cracker slices, French fries, etc., is easy to be crushed; Irregular shaped products can easily cause surface damage to the packaging, resulting in the rupture of the packaging bag.
After vacuum packaging, food generally requires appropriate sterilization and storage. For example, fresh food should be circulated and sold at a low temperature below 10C after vacuum packaging. Processed food should also undergo heating and sterilization at 80C for more than 15min after vacuum packaging.
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