The National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), an offshoot of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), posted an announcement today warning consumers against using digital multi-cookers for pressure canning – even if they are advertised as being able to do so.
Specifically, they said..
Even if there are referrals to the National Center for HFP in the instructions for canning in the manufacturer’s directions, we do not currently support the use of the USDA canning processes in electric, multi-cooker appliances.
hip info: canning-schmanning
There are two types of canning: hot-water bath canning for acid foods (fruits jams and jellies) and pressure canning for low-acid foods (vegetables, meat, grains and/or tomatoes). Anyone can do hot-water bath canning with a normal pan and steamer basket (or using pressure cooker) but pressure canning is a tightly controlled process. Low-acid foods can provide a hospitable environment to the growth of deadly bacteria which is odor-free, taste-less and otherwise invisible. Pressure canning takes advantage of the high temperatures which can be achieved with pressure to fully sterilize the food within the jars and ensure that the contents are safe. Temperature, altitude and “processing times” are carefully calculated based on the type of food being pressure canned.
Four months ago, an American-based manufacturer began to run a TV infomercial, and large web ad campaign for a digital pressure multi-cooker with the ability to can and preserve. It raised lots of eyebrows because it claimed to meet USDA standards for canning and the internet was a-buzz about this new ability in a multi-cooker.
When we first saw a copy of this cooker’s manual, in September, hip pressure cooking posted a warning to inform readers.
These multi-cookers cannot be used as canners, according to NCHFP’s guidelines:
- Power Pressure Cooker XL 8 & 10qt by Tristar Products
- Harvest Cookware Pressure Pro
- Elite 6, 8 & 10qt Digital Pressure Cooker by Maxi-Matic USA
- Cook’s Essentials PC028 6, 8 & 10qt by QVC
- Instant Pot previously mentioned on their website FAQ that their cooker could be used for canning but after researching the matter they corrected the information.
- Any electric pressure cooker that either has a canning or preserving setting or claims to be able to pressure can meat and vegetables (except for Ball Automatic Home Canner – for reasons explained in the NCHFP announcement)
Multi-cookers are still safe to use to pressure cook food directly in the inner pot. The NCHFP only takes issue with using these vessels for pressure canning.
Dispose of improperly canned food
If you have one of the above multi-cookers and you preserved jars of vegetables, meat, grains, and/or tomatoes there is no guarantee that these items were preserved properly. Improperly pressure canned foods offer a hospitable environment for botulism – a toxin that can cause nerve damage, paralyze, and even kill. Botulism is tasteless, odorless and invisible to the naked eye. We strongly suggest following the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendation: When in doubt, throw it out!
To dispose of suspect jars, wrap them tightly in plastic, tape the bag shut and put them in the garbage (out of reach of humans and animals). Do not open or recycle the jars; do not taste or eat the food in the jars; do not feed the contents of the jars to animals; do not put the contents in a compost pile or throw them down the drain.
Opening jars of improperly canned food will contaminate your hands, kitchen and utensils with this deadly bacteria spores. If any jars break or fall open, clean the entire area with a 10% bleach solution. Dispose of the contents, glass, any sponges and rags used in the clean-up in a bag that is taped and sealed. For more information, read the Home Canning and Botulism Factsheet by the CDC.
If you ate foods pressure canned using the instructions of any of the above-mentioned cookers and have become ill please file a report with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to record your injury.
Read the full article from National Center for Home Food Preservation for more details, here:
- Preserving Food at Home: Can I can in a Multi-cooker? National Center for Home Food Preservation
Note: The screen captures of the infomercial above are used in accordance with copyright fair use. Reproduction of a small portion of a copywritten work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research do not constitute copyright infringement.
To avoid any appearance of impropriety, any advertisements for pressure cookers that originate from this website have been suppressed from this page.
When we posted a link to this article on Facebook and Eric Theiss, a representative for Power Pressure Cooker responded the next day (11/27/2014) defending the product but falling short of confirming whether the Power Pressure Cooker XL has been inspected by the National Center for home Food preservation and approved for pressure canning.
We recommended they contact the NCHFP, directly with their concerns. However, despite a recent update to their website and nearly two months after acknowledging being aware of these new NCHFP regulations via facebook, Tristar still mentions that the Power Pressure Cooker can be used for pressure canning on their website. On the pages “Top 10 Reasons”, “Comparison”, “FAQ”, there are also pressure canning recipes in the “Recipes” section.
We double-checked the NCHFP website before posting this update and their warning has not been amended or updated to exclude any other pressure cookers from this warning- other than the one mentioned previously in this article.