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I was looking for a way to store for longer some products which go bad quickly. I found a stainless steel container made with a hermetic lid that you can remove air through (using a pump) so you create a vacuum of sorts (I don't know to what level can the internal air pressure be reduced). The issue is whether storing food which isn't specially sterilized, such as vegetables or spices, can result in the growth of pathogens such as Clostridium botulinum? What I originally looked to buy such a container for is soy lecithin, as I read these go bad very quickly even if stored in a cool, dry place as advised.

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Any sealed container can become anaerobic relatively quickly if there are oxygen consuming organisms inside (which there probably are if it's not sterilized). So, growth of anaerobes should always be a concern when using a sealed container for food storage, and proper temperatures for such storage should be considered.

A container like the one you describe would probably be good for extending the shelf life of dry foods that are sensitive to oxidation (coffee, spices, or your soy lecithin powder), and might even help stave off aerobic spoilage organisms (like molds), but it probably won't do anything to prevent growth of anaerobes like C. bolulinum or C. perfringins.

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  • $\begingroup$ So it can increase the probability of anaerobic growth? It seems the usual aerobic spoilage is not potentially lethal, but stuff like botulism is. $\endgroup$ – TLSO Feb 5 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that it would actually increase the anaerobic growth, but it probably won't help prevent it. The trouble there is that anaerobic spoilage can be less obvious than, say, mold growing on your food. Might be why C. perfringens is among the leading causes of food poisoning. Good news is that botulinum and perfringens don't grow well at colder temps, so keeping food in the fridge or freezer, when possible, is a good way to prevent them from growing. $\endgroup$ – MikeyC Feb 7 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Though, I think within the freezer at -20 Celsius no bacteria or mold should develop anyway whether there's vacuum or not. Within the fridge (3–4 Celsius) be, how effectively can it prevent such anaerobic growth? The non-freezing temperatures probably don't halt it completely, so if the stored product is something that takes months to finish, what might happen? $\endgroup$ – TLSO Feb 8 at 18:06

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