There are 3 main components that spoil food, water (Moisture) Heat and Oxygen. When removing these elements from our food source, manufactures are able to create a food product that can last up to 30 years without losing more than 4% of the nutritional value.
Why is the nutritional value important? Mostly because stable foods with long shelf lives are essential in times of disaster. If the consumer uses these cans towards the end of the shelf life, they’re going to want to know that the food has its nutritional value intact and will provide the end user the necessary energy required, especially if you work in a healthcare facility. Healthcare workers will need the nutrients to take care of the injured and if the patients immunity is already compromised, they’ll need the nutrients to help fight off any possible infections.
When packaging foods most canning companies will use a process called Freeze drying. Some manufacturers have a better process than others. Sanitation is extremely important when it comes to manufacturing food, so always try to visit the manufacturer’s facility if possible or ask about their policies. Next you’ll want a company that utilizes chefs to create great tasting products. No one should have to settle for nasty tasting foods these days. During the freeze drying process, the manufacturer begins with the freshest foods which are then cleaned, then sliced or cooked before being flash-frozen. In the vacuum chamber, 98% of the moisture is removed by vaporizing the ice at -50 degrees Fahrenheit. The food is then sealed with moisture and oxygen-proof cans to ensure freshness.
The manufacturer that has really perfected this canning process is Mountain House, also known as Oregon Freeze Dry. The Mountain House canning process uses both vacuum oxygen removal and nitrogen flushing. This process, called “Sublimation,” removes approximately 98% of the moisture and prevents the food from spoiling. Lastly, it’s important that the manufacturer test the quality of product after each batch. This ensures that you’re buying a product that will last as long as the shelf life says and that it will not have any pathogens waiting for you when consumed.
Here are a few tips to look for when purchasing a stable long shelf life food.
- Quality Control – Manufacturer test all batched of product before releasing product and have done testing throughout the canning process.
- Every #10 can or pouch should have less than a 3% moisture rate.
- For disaster purposes it’s also important that the food can be rehydrate with hot or cold water.
- For convenience purposes, especially if feeding in the masses, you’ll want to be able to prepare the food in the #10 can buy just adding water. You don’t want to have to worry about cookware and stoves if they’re not accessible.
It’s always best to source a company that doesn’t just claim a long shelf life but actually have product that’s been around long enough to test the quality of what the shelf life claims. It may not seem important now to think about the canning process however it will when a disaster strikes and you’re relying on a nutritional sustainable food.