What is a 10K OTR Film? Why should you care about a vacuum seal?

Have you ever wondered why you see directions to remove frozen fish from its vacuum seal package while thawing? Well, the answer is simple: in packaging without 10K OTR plastic film (we’ll get to that below), if you don’t remove the vacuum seal, the temperature becomes too warm, creating a food safety risk. 

A pesky little bacteria called Clostridium botulinum exists inside (and on) fish. This isn’t a problem for fresh seafood, but when this bacteria is prevented from breathing oxygen (like when fish is vacuum sealed) it goes into anaerobic mode, which allows it to survive without oxygen. That’s great for the bacteria, and not so good for us. Just like yeast produces alcohol as a bioproduct in an anaerobic state, C. botulinum produces Botulinum neurotoxin, which is the Toxin responsible for Botulism. This is where a special, plastic film called 10K OTR – which we use at Niceland – saves the day! Let us explain.

10K OTR film (10,000 Oxygen Transmission Rate), is a plastic film that makes seafood safer, more hygenic, reduces seafood waste from spoilage (saving you money), is easier to work with, and reduces mealtime cleaning. The film is oxygen permeable, allowing food to be sealed from environmental contaminants (like bacteria, dirt, dust, water, chemicals, and more).The oxygen, which is able to pass the barrier, prevents anaerobic bacteria growth, and in turn prevents the production of anaerobic bacteria by-products, like Botulinum neurotoxin.  The 10K OTR film also increases shelf life by reducing the amount of oxygen available for bacteria. Lastly, 10K OTR film makes mealtime prep and cleanup easier – you don’t have to remove the fish from its vacuum seal packaging to thaw out, and when you’re ready to prepare your meal, you can pull the tray from your fridge, remove the plastic film, and season right in the tray (no need to use another dish). If we’re talking about fresh seafood in a 10K OTR tray, there are benefits here too because there’s no need to prepare the fish for freezing – just put it in the freezer and you’re done. There’s no need to wrap the fish in plastic or foil, or to vacuum seal it yourself, and you can freeze it longer without having to worry as much about the fish becoming dry from freezer burn.

How’s that for convenience?! We love 10K OTR film here at Niceland Seafood. 

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