How well does food packaging really have to be sealed? | The heart of the farm is the family



“Easy to open,” promised the plastic wrap I collected from the fridge. I carefully separated the back and front corners marked “easy open” from the sturdy packaging that contained sausages, meant to be part of the lunch. Cut into pieces and stored in my slow cooker, along with potatoes, carrots and onions, the spicy sausage and veggie stew was cooking while I was gone for a few hours.

Well, maybe he would be ready if I could open the package. I yanked and yanked the plastic corners, trying to pull them apart to get the contents out. The packaging has not moved. After a few repeated attempts, I gave up trying to tear the corners of the package with my fingers.

That’s why we have scissors, I thought, grabbing the handy little pair for such frequent occasions. This irreplaceable tool (there are at least half a dozen scissors handy in various places in our house) made short work of the stubborn packaging, and lunch preparations were finally done.

You have to love the sturdy, durable – and sometimes almost unbelievably safe – packaging of today.

Many modern and sturdy closures on all kinds of products, especially food, are certainly safety related. For such food safety measures we can all be grateful as we open food packaging knowing the contents are clean and healthy.

Putting my groceries away a few weeks ago, I discovered that a boxed cereal box I had purchased was completely split along one top edge, probably an overcut due to opening a crate. With no way of knowing where the box was or what it might have been exposed to, it returned to the store to be replaced.

Each of us here seems to have a different favorite dressing, so a variety of bottled types are usually available to dress our greens. In the past year or so, one mark appears to be sealed with heavy duty glue securing the flip lids to the bottle. In fact, some bottles have recently been so tightly sealed that none of us have been able to unscrew the caps to peel the internal security seal off the top of the container.

I eventually resorted to a paring knife and a hole in the plastic seals, so the dressing could be poured. I guess the manufacturer of the product thought it was better to have too many security measures than not enough.

The commercial sealing of “zipper bags” sometimes irritates me greatly. After tearing off the top of the pack, to gain access to the “zipper”, the two sides of the pack often catch on to each other as if they were totally afraid of being separated. After you’ve finally pulled them apart, it’s usually easier to close them just by twisting the top down a few times and securing it with a bag clip, or my favorite alternative, a clothespin.

A day before I struggled with the package of sausages, a nearly empty ink cartridge on my computer printer sent me to the nearest retailer where the brand we need is usually in stock. With supply shortages these days, I never know if the items we need will be in a store’s stock when we need them, so I bought an extra large black and color cartridge combo. , which lasts for many more impressions.

This is not for food safety reasons, but the potential “stock loss” of printer cartridge shelves, like many other electronics-related items, has led manufacturers to pack them in plastic boxes. rigid and sealed plastic. At checkout, boxes must be opened with a special cutting tool before the cashier rings them on the cash register. The larger, outer, and durable protective case increases the size of the package (it’s harder to hide if someone has intentions of theft) and certainly makes it harder to remove the cartridge. Yet if you steal a small cartridge or electronic device, you’ve probably found a way to get into the tough outer packaging.

From time to time, we receive small pieces of equipment shipped in oversized, padded boxes with much more filling than the actual contents. I’m still puzzled as to the reasoning behind a large shipping box for an almost tiny part, but at least the size of the package probably helps prevent the item from getting lost en route to a giant distribution warehouse.

And the surprisingly sturdy packaging envelopes that some items are shipped in, such as some food items, send me straight to the nearest pair of scissors. But, despite the occasional irritation created by trying to penetrate the ultra-strong, durable packaging used today, we can’t help but be grateful for the safety and protection it offers to our consumer goods.

So, with the wrapping and wrapping holiday season upon us, it looks like an ideal gift to open first could be one of these Swiss Army Knives, containing a range of cutting, slicing tools. , lever and gouging.

Or, maybe an electric saw would be even better.

Have you ever had big trouble opening ultra-durable sealed food packaging? Lancaster agricultural columnist Joyce Bupp comes to the rescue



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