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“Microbial Loads Off The Charts”

How safe and healthy are meal kits? A new study looks at food safety and meal delivery services, and the results are damning.

EATDRINKBETTER – Meal kits like those provided by companies like Purple Carrot, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, SunBasket, and more promote a lot of things we stand behind:

high-quality ingredients, reducing food waste, and helping people learn to cook (or at least cook at home, while following a very detailed recipe).

We love all of these things about meal kits, but there are few things NOT to love too. A new study reveals some of the major problems for meal delivery services.

A new study looks at food safety and meal delivery services, and the results are damning. How safe and healthy are meal kits?

Most recently, Food Safety News reported on shipping issues with meal kit services and called into question their ‘cold chain integrity’ (the assurance that the food has been packed, stored, and shipped at the proper temperature).

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Professor Bill Hallman spoke about a study that included 169 meal kits (or home delivery meal services, whatever you want to call it), most all of them including meat. The research, “raised concerns about pathogens, packaging, labeling and cold-chain integrity.”

The study was telling in many ways. First, the vast majority of consumers felt that the food was safe (95%), but the study found that most of the meal kit deliveries were ‘left outside for eight or more hours before they are opened and refrigerated [and only] 5% require a signature upon delivery.”

But how are consumers supposed to know what is safe? The study mentioned that only 41% of the meal kit companies provide any food safety information on their sites.

Professor Hallman gave an example of how consumers were told that if the meat was ‘cool to the touch’ it was still fine to consume… even though anyone with any knowledge of food safety knows that ‘cool to the touch’ is not a proper way to determine that food is safe.

`The study also showed that some food arrived unlabeled, and since each food has its own cooking temperatures, this is another huge food safety issue.

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This section quoted from Food Safety News is perhaps the most damning:

“Surface temperatures on products the researchers received ranged from minus 23 degrees for items packed in dry ice to 75 degrees … ”

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