An American company called Microzap have figured out how to stop bread mold and keep it fuzz-free for 60 days, hoping to “cut food waste.” But foods that never go bad scare us: Food mold is gross, but it happens if you’re eating fresh foods–which are basically the golden rule of healthy eating. Eliminating food waste is a noble cause, but doing it by getting everyone on a processed foods diet isn’t healthy, and it’s probably not the greenest approach, either.
Scientists at Microzap developed technology to “zap” food and kill the spores that create food mold; they say the process can keep bread mold free for two months, and claim that the same process could be used on other foods, like fresh meat and some fruits and vegetables. It’s not what we feared–some kind of astronaut food made of mystery ingredients that never go bad…probably because they’re not really even food–but still: ‘Zapping’ the life out of spores so that fungus can’t grow on food is probably not doing any favors to its nutrients and enzymes, either.
Their machine is like an industrial microwave, originally built to kill bacteria like salmonella and MRSA. Microzap’s chief executive Don Stull told BBC how it works:
We introduce the microwave frequencies in different ways, through a slotted radiator. We get a basically homogeneous signal density in our chamber – in other words, we don’t get the hot and cold spots you get in your home microwave.
No cold spots–and no bread mold, either.
The BBC points out that Americans toss around 40% of the food they buy every year–and this is where Microzap hopes to help out. But what sounds like a healthy, green initiative is, in reality, just another way to push unnecessary food processing, if you ask me: Hasn’t anyone ever heard of a freezer?
Slowing up bread mold would be awesome as a way to get food to impoverished communities or disaster zones where people need emergency food and water. But creating more processed food won’t address America’s biggest food problem, which is mainly just that so many of us dont’ know what to eat or how to eat it. We buy healthy food, then throw it away because we don’t know how to cook it, or we overestimate what we need, and put the rest in a dumpster. And the main reason we’ve gotten so bad at knowing what to eat is–you guessed it–processed food. Creating more of it won’t make us any better.
Photo: flickr user dpstyles