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Friday, January 28, 2011

Great Vacuum Sealer...or Greatest Vacuum Sealer (for organs)

As a hospital mortuary technician, I have tried probably every trick in the book to try and properly store various appendages and organs, with no success in finding a method of near 100% preservation, post-thaw. Either for research purposes, autopsies, evidence, verification, substantiation purposes or otherwise; samples selected for testing and/or specimen analysis must be properly maintained to uphold organic composition. Basically, if someone's suspected of being poisoned, suspiciously found dead, murdered, and so on, certain body parts are harvested, and must be stored, sometimes for extended durations and defrosted later on to be tested. Sometimes it's just for med students that get some homeless Joe's liver to poke and prod for "educational purposes." Which let me tell you, is overrated. The job seems morbid, but we do have fun, and even joke around a bit. For instance, we might pick up a finger and point to someone and say "This guy isn't looking too well, but I can't quite put my finger on it."

Anyways, I came across the vacuum packer one night while watching infomercials. The host guaranteed your meat would stay fresh for a year in this vacuum-sealed bag. I thought, wow, we keep organs in the fridge sometimes just laying on cookie sheets, and they surprisingly don't last a month without early stages of seepage; this vacuum bag could really help. And it does. We've had stuff in the freezers, which would usually be freezer burned, so long in these vacuum bags we don't even know what it is anymore. Helpful hint: label those bags, and put a date on there too. It's easy to forget after a few years where you stuffed that one specific spleen, especially if it's in a containment unit that's overflowing with them.

For what reason I was never trained in the use of vacuum packing internals/segments and nobody else in the profession employs the use of a vacuum packer, I will never know. Its preservation capabilities are truly sensational. It might sound like I'm describing a meal at a fancy restaurant, but I was really impressed. I can pack like four hearts per bag, which you're not supposed to do, because of convoluted contamination practices, but how else are you going to determine a bag's storage capacity for say, hearts. Voluminous measurements for organs certainly aren't specified on the side of the bag. So I felt like a pioneer, in a way. PM me if anyone wants to know info for any other organs. No inquiries from psychopathic killers though...well, maybe if you ask nice.

I'll admit, for Halloween I did bring some of these baggies (yes, with organs) home...just to scare some kids. And really, you don't even need a freezer when transporting a vacuum-sealed bag. Nothing to worry about, since the vacuum packing helps keep the contents stable longer. At least I think that's what I read in the manual, I haven't had any issues with the tissues. I almost had a buddy try and eat a lung I brought home. He thought it was a steak, had the pan all heated up and everything. I caught him right before he was about to toss it in. Although, I'm sure if he did eat it, he would say, "Wow, I'm amazed at how this bag preserves the freshness of this meat... meat which is unidentifiable, yet delicious." Don't worry, I wiped off all the seasonings he put on it.

Some reviewers complained the machine is loud. It is a little loud, however, I wouldn't say it's loud enough to wake the dead. No complaints from my clients.

The sealing process is seamless. Literally. And it better be, can't have any of the stuff I'm packing leaking onto my lunch when we have to store this stuff in the fridge. Sometimes the freezers get full, what are you gonna do. Do pay attention when sealing these bags. Why? It uses heat. I may or may not have accidentally "cooked" some contents that were too tightly packed, that got pressed up against the heat seal element. Mistakes are easy to hide, stuff gets lost frequently and without difficulty around here.

The process of sealing is easy. Slide the open end of the bag under the sealer thing and hit the button, remember not to cook the meat inside, watch the patented Seal-A-Spleen system work its magic, let the overflow catch all the biohazardous juices, spray with Febreeze to clean, and you are done. Oh, and take it from someone who has learned the hard way; don't forget to toss that sealed bag in the freezer. Otherwise, you've wasted a vacuum bag, and they aren't cheap.

Overall, the vacuum sealer is priced right for such a quality product that can really handle some heavy usage. I hope my review helped some people with their purchase decision and that maybe some mortuary techs will read this and start using the vacuum sealer to get the longest shelf life possible for the unusual stuff we need to store.

The Amazon Review 

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