Americans waste 40 percent of the food they buy, whether because they forget about it in the back of the fridge, fail to wrap it properly, or something else. It's equivalent to about 20 pounds per person per month, according to one study. Now a new spinoff company claims it can preserve at least some of our food for longer, by zapping it with microwaves.
Nuked bread can last up to 60 days, according to the company, MicroZap, which spun off from Texas Tech University. Among wasted foods, bread is a major culprit, meeting its end in the garbage can once it becomes festooned with greenish growths of mold. This usually happens within 10 days of the bread being baked. MicroZap's method kills the mold spores, keeping bread mold-free for two months and helping Americans reduce some of their food waste. Now you could preserve all those loaves of Wonder Bread you hastily grabbed at the supermarket during the Hostessocalpyse!
The equipment, which looks like a CT scanner for food, was originally developed to kill organisms like multi-resistant staph bacteria and salmonella. But its developers realized it also kills bread mold in about a 10-second zap. It works much like a home microwave, but the waves are produced in various frequencies, which allows for uniform heating, MicroZap CEO Don Stull told the BBC.
The technology could also preserve fresh food like poultry, produce and more. Just no cantaloupes, unfortunately; they get damaged tumbling around in the mold-zapping machine.
This is NOT a first world problem. Extending the viability of breads from 10 days to 2 months has far reaching impact for humanitarian work and disaster relief. It could also reduce the cost of transport because bread will no longer require freezer cars (which are heavier and consume extra resources) to survive prolonged transit.
The last thing Americans need is 40 percent more food.
How is it that when the government hands down demands for reduced waste by fiat, PopSci can barely contain their excitement, but when a private company motivated by profit finds a way to cut waste all on its own PopSci sneers and calls it a "first world problem"? If you absolutely must interject editorial comments into your articles, at the very least remain consistent.
Being able to preserve a loaf of bread for 2 months without refrigeration is a huge deal which could benefit people across the world. One would think that a magazine which seems to believe it is the sole Green Crusader for Justice would recognize that.
Originally, microwave ovens arrive to restaurants first, then move to the home consumer.
I wonder if this device might later move to the home consumer to reduce home bacteria problems and help in the home preservation of food?\
lol. Successful troll is successful. Don't feel bad, Rebecca has the most experience at it of any Popsci "journalist".
I have emailed the local bakery a number of times about how poor the quality of the bread is. If this is a example of their longer lasting bread it stinks.
Dang it!!! Why didn't they publish this article, prior to closing the Twinkie factory...... sheesh.
"Ah, first-world problems!"? Sounds like a solution to me...
(1) Food waste is a hard number to nail down. Sure, I throw away 1lb of a 5lb chicken - because I don't eat the bones. I also throw away part of the lettus core, the bannanna peel, and even trim fat from my steaks (which actually has food value, so should be seen as wasted food).
(2) Shelflife of bread is hardly a first world problem. We do just fine with constant shipments. The "just in time" suply chain likely doesn't even want bread with a longer shelf life. It is a boon for low volumn outlets or areas with a longer supply chain. Neither of which are terribly frist world.
(3) How can you complain about waste in an article and mock a solutino to waste in the same article?
(4) Why do they let women write on a science page? Shouldn't these be written by some sectretary taking down the dictation of some man? (notice the similarity to #3 if that offends).
(5) This can expand the shelf life AND reduce contamination from notious food born illness cariers like produce and poultry? How is few deaths due to samanella only a first world problem?
Can a zapped loaf be zapped again in two months to give it another two months of shelf life?