WAYS TO PREVENT FOOD SPOILAGE
Have you ever bought groceries only to open the refrigerator to find the items you carefully selected were now a different color? The food is spoiled. All that money wasted as well as the food. How could this have been prevented? By storing your food properly, planning to use foods within a certain timeframe and preserving one’s own foods one can cut back on your wasting food.
Eventually all foods will spoil. However there are certain methods such as freezing, canning, and the use of preservatives that will lengthen the lifespan of foods. These methods are relied upon to maintain our food supply.
Preservatives are additives used to postpone the spoiling of foods. Other additives, like salt or sugar add flavor but can also prevent spoilage. Preservatives can also inhibit the growth of microbes, prevent the action of enzymes or both. An antioxidant is another kind of preservative. Antioxidants block the chemical reactions that occur when foods combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and light to keep the food from changing color. This keeps the food more attractive and appetizing. It also prevents the chemical reactions that cause food to spoil.
The length of time that food remains edible and nutritious depends on temperature, moisture and other factors that affect the growth rates of organisms that cause food spoilage (Hammond, et al.). Most spoilage of food meant for human consumption is caused by microorganisms, which effectively compete with humans for limited and valuate food resources (Hammond, et al.). The help prevent microbe caused food spoilage, humans use two main strategies: 1. Obstructing colonization by reducing access to susceptible foodstuffs (Hammond, et al.); and 2. Inhibiting population growth and limiting population size by creating an unfavorable environment.
Microbes are so small and often disperse as resistant air, water or spoil borne spores, they rapidly colonize unprotected foodstuffs (Hammond, et al.). Colonization can be retarded by covering or otherwise isolating foods can be prevented only be sealing sterile food in an impermeable container (Hammond, et al.). This is also the principle behind canning.
Retard spoilage by creating conditions that inhibit the growth or limit the size of microbial populations. Washing food removes some microbes from the surface and techniques such as pasteurization and irradiation kill microbes (Hammond, et al.). Microbial population growth rates also depend on environmental conditions. Canning using a combination of heating to kill microbes and sealing the food in hermetic containers to prevent recolonization (Hammond, et al.).Setting a thermometer on one’s refrigerator or freezer bacteria can be prevented from growing on food. This thermometer needs to be set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius).
Another way to prevent food spoilage is to throw away any expired or spoiled food. If food has mold growing on it, if it is spoiled or if it is past the expiration date throw it away. When in doubt it is best to throw it away as well since many foods develop freezer burns after six months.
Not many people realize that certain foods should be stored in certain parts of the refrigerator. The door of the refrigerator is the warmest part of the refrigerator. Condiments such as mayonnaise, mustard and salad dressings not served can be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The top shelf is the coldest part of the refrigerator. Milk and dairy products should be stored on the top shelf.
Fruits and vegetables should be separated and placed in their own crisper bins. This is done to control humidity. Certain foods should be stored in their carton so they get proper air circulation.
Trays on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator is the coldest. Therefore, certain foods should be stored on a tray on an absorbant paper towel on the bottom shelf. This allows the meat to drip onto the tray to prevent any contamination. Also, the shelves of your refrigerator should be washed with hot soapy water at least once a week. This can prevent mold and bacteria from lingering in your refrigerator. An absorbant paper towel should be placed on the bottom of the refrigerator drawer to easily clean up any leaks and to absorb any excess moisture.
Do not wash berries and produce before putting in the refrigerator. This prevents mold growth in the refrigerator. You should wash before eating. Also, to prevent freezer burn your store food in an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed container if you are planning to freeze. You should also plastic wrap the food in foil to prevent ice crystals (freezer burn) from forming on the food.
Hammond, et al. OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 26 June 2015, academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/65/8/758/240222.Hammond, et al. OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 26 June 2015, academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/65/8/758/240222.Hammond, et al. OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 26 June 2015, academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/65/8/758/240222.Hammond, et al. OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 26 June 2015, academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/65/8/758/240222.Hammond, et al. OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 26 June 2015, academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/65/8/758/240222.Hammond, et al. OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 26 June 2015, academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/65/8/758/240222.