Vacuum Packed Chilled Foods

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Who should read this?
  • If you make, re-pack or sell vacuum and modified atmosphere packed (VP/MAP) chilled foods, and want to set a shelf-life of more than 10 days, you should follow the recommendations in this factsheet.
  • The factsheet will help you stop the growth of Clostridium botulinum and help show what you do to make food safely and comply with food hygiene regulations.
What food safety risks are associated with VP and MAP foods?
  • Although VP/MAP techniques generally increase the shelf-life of chilled foods by removing air, certain bacteria, including C. botulinum, may still be able to grow.
  • C. botulinum can produce a very harmful toxin that can cause a fatal form of food poisoning. It is commonly found in the environment as spores and could be in food. Removing air from food packaging can allow these spores to grow and produce toxins.
  • VP/MAP chilled foods must have controls in place, throughout the shelf-life of the product, to minimise the risk of this bacterium growing and producing toxin.
  • Remember to consider other risks, such as Listeria monocytogenes, when setting a shelflife for VP/MAP foods.
Food Standards Agency
Food Standards Agency