How to ensure the life and quality of your Bulk Organic Foods
These bags are then refrigerated and stored in air tight buckets, delivered directly to the consumer still in a fresh state. The key to this freshness is minimizing the organic food products exposure to air, light, heat and other environmental elements. The organic food products are only ever exposed to external elements for no longer than a few minutes.
Given organic foods naturally contain lower levels of preservatives, correct food storage and handling is essential to getting the most out of your premium organic products.
The main issue we found was the issue of pantry moth in flour. Pantry month absolutely craves preservative free organic flour, its like crack to them. As is with most pests, prevention is always better than cure. Cleanliness is key here. Once a colony gets into your food chain, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them without chemicals. Any open food items in the house, will quickly become contaminated. It is always advisable to store bulk organic foods in airtight containers, as soon as they enter the house. This prevents the likelihood of any pantry moth that may be around the house, getting into your tasty stash and laying eggs (Did I mention pantry moth also froth over nutrition yeast flakes, just can’t help themselves some of that vegan tasty taste?).
Another key to prevent pantry moth issues, is to keep all products at a steady cool temperature. 10 degrees for most foods is ideal, as it prevents any eggs, that have somehow found their way in the food, from hatching. The high end to this window is around 15 Deg C, anything above this you are risking hatching. Organic Food Perth runs coolrooms store set on cycle 10-12 Deg C at all times. We use these for all “non refrigerator lines, not just wholefoods. We have found even prepackaged non bulk items last better at this steady temperature.
It’s a bitter sweet irony that one of the greatest benefits to organic food, is also one of its greatest challenges. While it’s refreshing to know your food hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides, organic producers/ consumers don’t have the luxury of spraying to treat food pests. We have heard countless stories of people working in bulk food bin stores, secretly spraying fly spray (sometimes not so secretly), to control pantry moth. Then of course the food product may already be treated during the production itself, to prevent the eggs from hatching, if the products aren’t certified organic. Ironically if you walk into one of these places and do see a pantry moth flying, it may be the lesser of 2 evils. If not, the chances are these products were recently sprayed, as these places are rarely kept bellow 15 deg in Australia.
It is important to note, every time you open your refrigerator, you are going to swing the temp more on the up side of 15 deg. Swinging from 3 deg up to above above 15 deg is not optimal for many wholefoods, including nuts. Constant sudden alterations in the surrounding temperatures can be quite detrimental to the integrity of the food structure. Organic foods high in plant oils are often most susceptible to temp fluctuations, as these swings may quickly lead to rancidity. Indeed some organic foods will store better at a constant 20 deg, rather than a swinging 3-15 deg fridge. Minimizing how ofter the fridge is opened will help with this a lot, try telling that to you teenage kids though.
As you can see there are many challenges to reducing packaging, while still ensuring the quality of the organic food product. Organic food is particularly sensitive, so it is critical the food is handled and stored in specific conditions. We at Organic Food Perth go out of our way to ensure the balance between sustainability/ waste reduction and food integrity is met. This is by no means a simple procedure, however we sleep better knowing we doing our bit to improve the environment, while keeping our customers satisfied with the quality, and have them coming back to a more sustainable food model, time after time.