How do grocery stores preserve food?
Have you ever wondered how food is processed and prepared for the store? It may not be at the top of your list, but it is still very interesting. If proper care is not taken, food can easily spoil. Bacteria sets in and causes the food to rot. Rotten food is both tastes bad and can be dangerous. Rotten food can also cost stores a lot of money in lost merchandise. Several types of food preservation are available to extend shelf life. These preservation methods help eliminate and slow a variety of bacteria, fungus and more.
Salting food used to be widely practiced to help preserve meat. Food was kept outside during cooler times to preserve food. Refrigerators were later introduced to help slow down bacteria. Refrigerators can now be widely found in both stores and homes. Putting all food in refrigerators is expensive and not economical for grocery stores. Due to cost, other methods have been invented to help preserve food. One of the more popular methods is the vacuum sealer.
Vacuum sealers put food in an airtight environment that prevents bacteria and fungus from growing.
Vacuum sealers remove air and seal products in a bag. This eliminates the vital oxygen that most bacteria require to grow. The finished vacuum-sealed bag can then be placed on a shelf, hung on a wall or be put in a refrigerator for superior preservation.
Chamber sealers are one of the more popular vacuum sealers used by commercial producers of food. This style of sealer uses a chamber where the products and bags are placed. Air is removed from the entire chamber, including the bag and food, which creates a vacuum. The bag is sealed and the air inside the chamber is returned back to normal. Because the bag is previously sealed, the air inside the bag remains in a vacuum-like state. You can see an example of this by going here. The demo is pretty fun to watch.
Potato chips and delicate food such as crackers can be damaged if all the air is removed from the vacuum-sealed bag. For this reason, the amount of air removed from the bag can be adjusted. Nitrogen air tanks can be attached to most chamber vacuum sealers, replacing the oxygen with another gas that has better preserving properties. Although some bacteria do not require oxygen to survive, most bacteria are wiped out when the oxygen is swapped out for nitrogen.