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Should you Ditch the Mylar Bag Habit When Freeze-drying?

Freeze dried food in a Mylar bag

Should you ditch the mylar bag habit when freeze-drying to save money and improve your mental health? I have extremely high amounts of aluminum in my system from various activities, including using my pressure canner, putting up foil reflective paper in my sprout house, and years and years of cooking on aluminum pans before I knew better.

What is Mylar anyway? states that Mylar is produced by vaporizing (powdering) aluminum inside a vacuum chamber that is bonded to a polyester sheet to create PET. PET is polyethylene terephthalate, also known as biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BoPET).

The Aluminium PET Combo

Aluminum is a Neurotoxin, and PET products are generally considered safe as long as they aren't exposed to some enzymes in food (such as zink) or handled too much. If the product breaks down, microplastics and aluminum are released into the food.

A PubMed publication on a study done by the Indian Institute of Science claims PET film biodegradation ingestion alone causes hormonal imbalance, cancer, nervous system disorders, and immunity level reduction in human beings. (1)

According to the National Library of Medicine, aluminum is a proinflammatory, trivalent metal neurotoxin that has been implicated in the onset, development, and propagation of neurodegeneration and cognitive decline in several human neurological disorders, including AD, DDS and DS (trisomy 21). (2)

If you are growing or storing food for your health or longevity, shouldn't the container you store food in be an important safety measure? I threw out all of my aluminum pots and pans a decade ago. So, to my surprise, last year, a test for heavy metals revealed that I have extremely high aluminum levels due to my lifestyle. My canner is aluminum, and I constantly use it. I work in the soil with naturally high aluminum levels all summer, and I use a large amount of aluminum tape and paper in my sprout house. I can't deal with storing my food in it, and I wanted to share this information with others with similar concerns.

According to ePac Flexible Packaging:

"Mylar is food-grade safe, less permeable to gasses, and protects from moisture and gas – especially oxygen. Some foods can last as long as twenty-five years using Mylar bags, but we don't suggest any amount of time over five".

a gem

Here is a gem to file away -

DYMAPAK, a mylar bag manufacturer, states on their website that you shouldn’t store some foods in Mylar bags for more than five years. This list includes dry and dehydrated food like pearl barley, brown sugar, whole wheat flour, brown rice, granola, chips, and dried meat. Dried eggs, nuts, seeds, milled grains, and other fresh or wet food products should not be stored for an extended period in a Mylar bag because the enzymes in the food break down the bag.

Proper Usage of Mylar is Necessary for Food Safety

I don't know about your food storage habits, but I am a rummager. I store my food in bins filled with bags that I constantly dig through to find the right size and amount of the necessary ingredients. This can quickly break down the integrity of a mylar bag and leech toxic nano-particles onto your hands that contact your food, which can quickly add up with daily use.

PackfreshUSA states:

"...that normal use, such as filling it or moving it, will cause tiny breaks in the foil layer that you may sometimes see if you hold it to the light - but don't worry, they are not holes. This happens with all Mylar foil films and their barrier properties are not significantly affected".

So, um... I'm thinking, where did the foil go? The plastic film is still there, but the aluminum foil is gone. What if the product bangs around in the bag during shipping or in a bin in my pantry? The point is—the aluminum can come off and wind up in the food.

I believe this is why Mylar bag manufacturers don't suggest keeping the bags in use for over five years. Have you ever used one of those 99ç softside Mylar bags from Walmart to bring something hot or cold home? It gets crumpled and creased easily; each time it does, it releases aluminum and plastics.

What method is the safest?

Glass jars and canning lids provide the least contamination from plastics and metals. However, jars are clunky, difficult to fill, and occupy vast space. They are also complicated to store if you live in an area prone to earthquakes.

I use polyethylene and nylon vacuum seal bags due to their extremely low toxicity and gas permeability. According to CHAT-GPT, Nylon is often used as a barrier material in vacuum seal bags because of its excellent gas barrier properties. It can significantly reduce the permeability of oxygen and other gases, helping maintain the sealed contents' freshness and quality.

Polyethylene, while less effective as a gas barrier than nylon, still provides some level of protection against gas permeation. However, it typically allows for more gas transmission.

I haven't had problems with long-term storage in the combo polyethylene-nylon bags, but I will have to trust the information provided until I learn more or acquire funding to prove it.

The polyethylene-nylon bags remain flexible and fairly puncture-proof. If kept out of direct light and heat, they also take around 20 years to decompose. I use large dark-colored storage bins to keep the light off my food products in a cool pantry.

As an extra measure, I regularly access smaller sort bins that hold a month's supply of goods to prevent digging into the larger food stores, which may damage the food product or the integrity of the bags.

Another added benefit is that polyethylene nylon bags are more affordable. This allows me to package in small portions. Packaging in single-use portions eliminates opening larger bags or containers, which exposes food to oxygen, moisture, yeast molds, and fungus in the air.

What kind of bags do I use, and what sizes?

Here is another blog that explains:

Growing Back to the Land book cover

Homesteading is a transformative and empowering journey that can bring healing and vitality to one's life. After a difficult battle with depression and cancer, I found solace in growing my own food and ensuring its proper care from the field to the table. In my journey, I discovered the true meaning of self-sufficiency and the profound connection to nature that comes with living a country life. My book, 'Growing Back to the Land,' shares my intimate narrative of growth, discovery, and the wonderful experience of living in "God's Country." It is available HERE on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback. The first few chapters are available for free with the "look inside" button on the book cover on Amazon.

My website shares my real-life photos for every chapter. Discover my website, free of ads and pop-ups and dedicated to providing information about my regenerative farming practices and animal-husbandry techniques on open pastures without bag feed. You can sign up to receive email notifications for new blog posts, and I assure you that I do not sell or share any personal information, including email addresses. If you find the information valuable, please consider sharing the knowledge with someone else.

Keep growing!

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