Food Safety Issues/vacuum packed cooked meats


Hello Carl,

I'm interested in starting a new business of pre-packaged vacuum packed cooked meats in sauce (like brisket in bbq sauce, pulled beef, boneless spare ribs, teriyaki beef stir fry and the like) was wondering about the estimated shelf life of this products under refrigeration once it is vacuum packed and if I would need to add any preservatives to it. Will the shelf life improve if we cure the meats with curing salts or brine it with a regular kosher salt and sugar solution?
I was also wondering if you know the permits and requirements I would need from the USDA/HACCP to be able to produce and distribute as a retail pre-packaged product into supermarkets and delis throughout the US or if it's different for retailing only in my state (New York). Will i need a USDA inspector daily to operate or just random visit from the state health dept.?
I will appreciate any information and advice about preserving / shelf life and about obtaining the right permits for production and retail.
Thank you!

Sorry but I'm not the best person to answer your questions. What I do know is that you are considering getting into a food processing sector that is both high risk and highly regulated. You will need a 20-C license. Your best resource for information in NY is the Dept. of Agriculture and Markets. You will likely need to submit a schedule of process outlining your entire process flow, ingredients and critical control points that ensure food safety. This is reviewed and validated by a process authority. Look over these sites. You are going to fall under LACF (Low acid canned foods)since your products(s) will be hermetically sealed. Since you intend to use meat as an ingredient USDA regulations and oversight applies.

As far as shelf life and the effects or use of preservatives I do not have expertise in this area.

Hope I was a little helpful.I would start by contacting NYS Ag&Mkts

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Carl LaFrate


I can answer food safety questions relative to food processing, retail food and food salvage after a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, flood, ammonia leak or fire. Questions related to HACCP, Regulatory, GFSI, SQF, BRC, liability issues, contamination events, pest infestation, pest control methodology,food safety defense, pathogen prevention such as L. Monocytogenes control in food processing and retail, any subject related to food safety including at home issues.


30 years experience as a food safety consultant working for the top food processors, food retailers and insurance companies that write liability policies related to food processing, storage and distribution. My firm employees 6 full time food safety auditors. I work for top law firms throughout the USA and am a staff consultant for Douglas Peterson and Associates, one of the top forensic engineering firms in the world. I also work with Risk Solutions International, a global leader in risk management.

New York State Association for Food Protection, past president, executive board Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials

Progressive Grocer Magazine Smart Money Magazine Private Label Buyer Magazine Supermarket News Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine Food Service Director Magazine NYS Association for Food Protection Annual Report NYS Association for Food Protection Newsletter

Syracuse University, Microbiology/Biology NYS College of Environmental Sciences, Plant and Environmental Biology Cornell University, Food and Dairy Processing

Awards and Honors
Wm. Hickey Award (2006), NYS Association for Food Protection, for contributions in the field of food safety and sanitation New York State Integrated Pest Management Award (2007), NYS Assoc. for Food Protection, for contributions in the filed of integrated pest management.

Past/Present Clients
Pillsbury, Agri-Mark, Associated Grocers, Beatrice Foods, Cargill, Southern Cold Storage, Quaker, Ben & Jerry’s, Delverde Pasta (Italy), New York Bakery, Cabot Cheese, Hazelwood Farms, General Mills, Price Chopper Supermarkets, P&C Supermarkets, Great American Supermarkets, Tops Markets, Big M Supermarkets, Big Bear Supermarkets, Frito-Lay Distribution Centers, IBP, Excell, Eckerd Drugs, Rite Aid Drug Stores, Fay’s Drugs, Carl’s Drugs, AWI Wholesale Food Distribution, McLane Food Distributors, Golub Food Distribution, many supermarket chains (many include large scale specialty food service operations), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Darden Foods (Red Lobster, Olive Garden), LSG Skychefs (Germany, US), Glen Mills Schools, Cornell University, Crider Poultry, Caesar’s Palace, The Oneida Indian Nation, Taylor Meat Packing, UCB Packaging Films

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