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Module 1: Hazards, issues and their control

Section 1: Background and hazards

This section discusses the reasons for using vacuum packing and modified atmosphere packing, and the hazards associated with these processes.

Why vacuum pack or modified atmosphere pack food?

There are many reasons why a food business might decide to use vacuum packing and modified atmosphere packing technology. Some of the potential advantages will be identified at the end of this section.

One of the main commercial reasons to pack food under a vacuum or a modified atmosphere is to extend the shelf-life of the product. For a business, this has important financial benefits.

What is vacuum packing?

What is modified atmosphere packing?

Why does changing the atmosphere around food extend its shelf-life?

So what are the public health concerns with vacuum packing and modified atmosphere packing?

The ACMSF’s opinion on vacuum packing and modified atmosphere packing in relation to food safety (1992)

What is special about non-proteolytic strains of Clostridium Botulinum in the context of vacuum packing and modified atmosphere packing?

What other concerns were raised by the 1992 ACMSF report?

What were the ACMSF’s key findings?

ACMSF recommendations

Potential advantages of vacuum packing and modified atmosphere packing

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