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Food Handling General Discussion General and open discussion for food handling and safety.


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Unread 09-14-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
ultimate4g63
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Red face Correct Vacuum Sealing Procedure

Hi guys,

I've read every thread here on vacuum sealing with regards to vacuum sealing and freezing leftover meat and am still not 100% sure I know what the correct procedures are to ensure the food is being handled 100% safely.

Can someone educate me on the proper steps to vacuum seal and freeze meat? Mainly looking for answers to these questions:

Safe temperature of meat before it can be vacuum sealed (I've read room temperature, but is it safe for cooked meat to be left out until room temp?)

If not room temperature (still hot/warm) can it be sealed immediately? If so, does it need to be cooled BEFORE put into the freezer? And if it does, can I get an explanation as to why?

Thanks!
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Unread 09-20-2011, 08:48 AM   #2
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I have not had much luck with vacuum sealing meat that is still hot (warm) especially if there is any juice in the package. The vacuum draws the juice out and then doesn't seal right. The method I use is to fill an ice chest with ice and a little water, then bag the hot meat and seal (not vacuum) the bag and stand up in the ice chest/water mix. Let the meat cool (time varies with the amount of meat in bag), cut open the bag, then vacuum seal like normal. This seems to work best for me, others may have different methods. I think the important thing is to chill the food within the recommended time from 140* to 40* which I believe is 4 hours.
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Unread 09-20-2011, 09:53 AM   #3
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It is not safe to seal meat that is over 40 deg. It is also not approved by the HD to vacuum seal without using a commercial approved sealer. Bignburleyman has it correct if you want to seal, cool down the meat fast in ice bath then seal if you are doing it. Stuff does grow in vacuumed meat, check the internet for a lot of discussions of the issues you need to watch out for.
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Unread 09-20-2011, 11:28 AM   #4
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Ive been very succesful at chillin the food down first then vaccum sealing it. Some that I have done, the ones that have more liquid than others, I have froze first inside the bag making it as tight as possible, taking an aligator clip and closing off the bag. After it has gotten to almost that freeze stage I suck it up and seal it. If there is less liquid then I put in the Fridge to cool down first.
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Unread 09-20-2011, 12:24 PM   #5
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There are a many ways to seal meat. you are right on getting the meat temp. down to 40 deg. the first 4 hours. Chill the meat before you freeze it, Don't stack the product spread it out until frozen. Adapt your sealing to what product you are using
Happy Sealing
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Unread 09-20-2011, 01:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkQPine View Post
It is not safe to seal meat that is over 40 deg.
Just curious, what information do you have to support this statement? I've seen other people mention the same thing but I've never seem any documentation or facts to support it. I'm not at all doubting what you say, I just want to know why it is not safe.

I've been vacuum sealing fresh pulled butts and sliced briskets for several years and never had any problems. I always immediately submerge the bags in ice water to quickly cool it down.

Thanks for any info you can provide.
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Unread 09-20-2011, 01:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnDrew View Post
Ive been very succesful at chillin the food down first then vaccum sealing it. Some that I have done, the ones that have more liquid than others, I have froze first inside the bag making it as tight as possible, taking an aligator clip and closing off the bag. After it has gotten to almost that freeze stage I suck it up and seal it. If there is less liquid then I put in the Fridge to cool down first.
I originally did it this way, but doing the volume at one time my freezer didn't have the capacity so I started using the ice bath. Also, using a clip to hold the bag closed I was afraid if the bag fell over in the ice bath that water would get in. That is why I started sealing the bag before chilling. Just to be upfront, I am only cooking for personal use, and sell occassionally to friends.
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Unread 09-20-2011, 01:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkQPine View Post
It is not safe to seal meat that is over 40 deg. It is also not approved by the HD to vacuum seal without using a commercial approved sealer. Bignburleyman has it correct if you want to seal, cool down the meat fast in ice bath then seal if you are doing it. Stuff does grow in vacuumed meat, check the internet for a lot of discussions of the issues you need to watch out for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trucky1008 View Post
Just curious, what information do you have to support this statement? I've seen other people mention the same thing but I've never seem any documentation or facts to support it. I'm not at all doubting what you say, I just want to know why it is not safe.

I've been vacuum sealing fresh pulled butts and sliced briskets for several years and never had any problems. I always immediately submerge the bags in ice water to quickly cool it down.

Thanks for any info you can provide.
I wondered the same thing. If the meat is cooled down within the recommended time frame does it matter if it was in a sealed bag or an open pan? And if you use a foil pan with a lid is that still acceptable? I know a lot depends on what the health department rules are but is there that much difference?
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Unread 09-28-2011, 10:11 AM   #9
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The best recommendation is to take a ServSafe class. There is a difference between cooking for yourself and for the public. If someone gets sick and you are sued the lawyers will want your written procedures and you will have to give a deposition about your process. Good luck when you tell them that you vacuum but don't use a commercial vacuum, good luck when you tell them "I read it on the wire", good luck when you tell them you don't have a ServSafe but your process has always worked before. If you drop off food or allow customers to do the sides you are really opening yourself up for problems because 'nobody ever got sick on granny's potato salad before' it has to be the caterer's food.
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Unread 09-28-2011, 10:30 AM   #10
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Did I miss the part where the OP said he was a commercial operation?
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Unread 09-28-2011, 01:18 PM   #11
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Commercial operations are held to a higher standard but the principles are the same.
Cool it quickly in ice bath, home refrigerators can not get it down fast enough to be safe. When putting in bag make sure the contents are flat as possible and don't overload.
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Unread 10-05-2011, 05:53 PM   #12
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Interesting discussion....are HD rules different by state?
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Unread 10-13-2011, 06:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkQPine View Post
Commercial operations are held to a higher standard but the principles are the same.
Cool it quickly in ice bath, home refrigerators can not get it down fast enough to be safe. When putting in bag make sure the contents are flat as possible and don't overload.
Not to mention that placing hot meat in a refrigerator in an attempt to cool it will bring the internal temp of the refrigerator up.
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