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American Researchers Say They’ve Come Up With A Way To Make Bread Last For 60 Days
November 30, 2012
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Ever find yourself throwing out half a loaf of bread, because it started going mouldy.

Well, in the spirit of a late night infomercial, what if we told you... you'll never have to do that again!

To be clear, we're not endorsing this. We're not even sure we're comfortable with the idea.

But researchers say they've developed a technique that can make bread stay mould-free for 60 days (ie: two months).

Usually, bread will go mouldy in about 10 days.

An American company called Microzap came up with the technology at its lab at Texas Tech University.

Essentially, the bread is zapped in a high-tech microwave which kills the spores that cause bread to go mouldy. And apparently, it can do it in about 10 seconds.

The company says it sterilizes or pasteurises the bread, keeps it fresh and tasting the same without using preservatives.

Researchers believe it could significantly reduce the amount of bread we waste and reduce outbreaks of food related illnesses.

And they say it could be used for other foods as well, such as fresh turkey, many fruits and vegetables, and leafy herbs such as coriander.

Here's a video from the company.

Food waste is a major problem in most developed countries. A recent Canadian study suggested that as a country, we waste a staggering amount of food.

According to recent estimates, we throw away 40% of our food. Or to put it another way, we waste $27 billion worth of food a year.

The company says it uses pulsed microwave frequencies to zap specific food for a set time - for example, 40 seconds for jalapeno peppers.

But unlike a microwave in your home, the company say there are no hot and cold spots, and the food isn't damaged or cooked.

"We treated a slice of bread in the device, we then checked the mould that was in that bread over time against a control," said Don Stull, the chief executive of MicroZap.

"And at 60 days, it had the same mould content as it had when it came out of the oven."

The company also says the technology is better at killing salmonella and E coli than current methods.

It's worth nothing the zapping machines aren't cheap to buy or run, so using them would push up the cost of bread in a very competitive market.

And Stull admits the average person might not be into buying bread that lasts so unusually long.

"You probably won't see a lot of people wanting 60-day old bread," he said.

In fact, experts say there's a lot we can do to cut down on waste without expensive technology.

If you have leftover slices of bread that are past their best before date, you can put them in the food processor and turn them into bread crumbs - or tear them up and put them into salad.

Or just put your bread in the freezer before its expiry date, and use it when you need it.

The company is hoping the Pentagon will jump on board, since it's always looking for new non-perishable or ready-to-eat food to send to soldiers in the field.

Researchers are still waiting for patent approvals for the technology.

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