Food processing

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Industrial cheese production Production of cheese 1.jpg
Industrial cheese production

Food processing is the transformation of agricultural products into food, or of one form of food into other forms. Food processing includes many forms of processing foods, from grinding grain to make raw flour to home cooking to complex industrial methods used to make convenience foods.

Food Substances consumed as nutrition

Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth.

Grain small, hard, dry seed used as food; may be ground into flour

A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached hull or fruit layer, harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals and legumes.

Flour powder which is made by grinding cereal grains

Flour is a powder made by grinding raw grains, roots, beans, nuts or seeds. It is used to make many different foods. Cereal flour is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for most cultures. Wheat flour is one of the most important ingredients in Oceanic, European, South American, North American, Middle Eastern, North Indian and North African cultures, and is the defining ingredient in their styles of breads and pastries.

Contents

Primary food processing is necessary to make most foods edible, and secondary food processing turns the ingredients into familiar foods, such as bread.

Tertiary food processing has been criticized for promoting overnutrition and obesity, containing too much sugar and salt, too little fiber, and otherwise being unhealthful.

Overnutrition or hyperalimentation is a form of malnutrition in which the intake of nutrients is oversupplied. The amount of nutrients exceeds the amount required for normal growth, development, and metabolism.

Classification

Primary

These whole, dried bananas in Thailand are an example of primary food processing. 03 Ban Bang Krathum Bananas.jpg
These whole, dried bananas in Thailand are an example of primary food processing.

Primary food processing turns agricultural products, such as raw wheat kernels or livestock, into something that can eventually be eaten. This category includes ingredients that are produced by ancient processes such as drying, threshing, winnowing, and milling grain, shelling nuts, and butchering animals for meat. [1] [2] It also includes deboning and cutting meat, freezing and smoking fish and meat, extracting and filtering oils, canning food, preserving food through food irradiation, and candling eggs, as well as homogenizing and pasteurizing milk. [2] [3] [4]

Wheat Cereal grain

Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus Triticum; the most widely grown is common wheat.

Food drying method of food preservation in which food is dried

Food drying is a method of food preservation in which food is dried. Drying inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and mold through the removal of water. Dehydration has been used widely for this purpose since ancient times; the earliest known practice is 12,000 B.C. by inhabitants of the modern Middle East and Asia regions. Water is traditionally removed through evaporation, although today electric food dehydrators or freeze-drying can be used to speed the drying process and ensure more consistent results.

Threshing process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain from the scaly, inedible chaff that surrounds it

Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of grain from the husks and straw to which it is attached. It is the step in grain preparation after reaping and before winnowing, which separates the grain from the chaff. Threshing does not remove the bran from the grain.

Contamination and spoilage problems in primary food processing can lead to significant public health threats, as the resulting foods are used so widely. [2] However, many forms of processing contribute to improved food safety and longer shelf life before the food spoils. [3] Commercial food processing uses control systems such as hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) and failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) to reduce the risk of harm. [2]

Food spoilage process in which food deteriorates to the point in which it is not edible to humans or its quality of edibility becomes reduced

Food spoilage is the process where a food product becomes unsuitable to ingest by the consumer. The cause of such a process is due to many outside factors as a side-effect of the type of product it is, as well as how the product is packaged and stored. Due to food spoilage, one-third of the worlds' food produced for the consumption of humans is lost every year. Bacteria and various fungi are the cause of spoilage and can create serious consequences for the consumers, but there are preventative measures that can be taken.

Public health preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through organized efforts and informed choices of society and individuals

Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting human health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the health of a population and the threats it faces is the basis for public health. The public can be as small as a handful of people or as large as a village or an entire city; in the case of a pandemic it may encompass several continents. The concept of health takes into account physical, psychological and social well-being. As such, according to the World Health Organization, it is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Shelf life length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use or consumption

Shelf life is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale. In other words, it might refer to whether a commodity should no longer be on a pantry shelf, or just no longer on a supermarket shelf. It applies to cosmetics, foods and beverages, medical devices, medicines, explosives, pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals, tires, batteries and many other perishable items. In some regions, an advisory best before, mandatory use by or freshness date is required on packaged perishable foods. The concept of expiration date is related but legally distinct in some jurisdictions.

Secondary

Baking bread is an example of secondary food processing. Baking Bread Communal Oven, 2011.jpg
Baking bread is an example of secondary food processing.

Secondary food processing is the everyday process of creating food from ingredients that are ready to use. Baking bread, regardless of whether it is made at home, in a small bakery, or in a large factory, is an example of secondary food processing. [2] Fermenting fish and making wine, beer, and other alcoholic products are traditional forms of secondary food processing. [4] Sausages are a common form of secondary processed meat, formed by comminution (grinding) of meat that has already undergone primary processing. [5]

Fermented fish fish cured by fermentation to reduce spoilage

Fermented fish is a traditional preservation of fish. Before refrigeration, canning and other modern preservation techniques became available, fermenting was an important preservation method. Fish rapidly spoils, or goes rotten, unless some method is applied to stop the bacteria that produce the spoilage. Fermentation is a method which attacks the ability of microbials to spoil fish. It does this by making the fish muscle more acidic; bacteria usually cease multiplying when the pH drops below 4.5.

Wine alcoholic drink made from grapes

Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir, and the production process. Many countries enact legal appellations intended to define styles and qualities of wine. These typically restrict the geographical origin and permitted varieties of grapes, as well as other aspects of wine production. Wines not made from grapes include rice wine and fruit wines such as plum, cherry, pomegranate, currant and elderberry.

Beer alcoholic drink

Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea. Beer is brewed from cereal grains—most commonly from malted barley, though wheat, maize (corn), and rice are also used. During the brewing process, fermentation of the starch sugars in the wort produces ethanol and carbonation in the resulting beer. Most modern beer is brewed with hops, which add bitterness and other flavours and act as a natural preservative and stabilizing agent. Other flavouring agents such as gruit, herbs, or fruits may be included or used instead of hops. In commercial brewing, the natural carbonation effect is often removed during processing and replaced with forced carbonation.

Tertiary

Tertiary food processing is the commercial production of what is commonly called processed food. [2] These are ready-to-eat or heat-and-serve foods, such as TV dinners and re-heated airline meals.

TV dinner pre-packaged frozen or chilled meal

A TV dinner is a packaged frozen meal that usually comes portioned for an individual, but may also be a single dish intended to be shared. It requires very little preparation and may contain a number of separate elements that comprise a single-serving meal.

Airline meal meal served to passengers on board a commercial airliner

An airline meal, airline food, or in-flight meal is a meal served to passengers on board a commercial airliner. These meals are prepared by specialist airline catering services and normally served to passengers using an airline service trolley.

History

Food processing dates back to the prehistoric ages when crude processing incorporated fermenting, sun drying, preserving with salt, and various types of cooking (such as roasting, smoking, steaming, and oven baking), Such basic food processing involved chemical enzymatic changes to the basic structure of food in its natural form, as well served to build a barrier against surface microbial activity that caused rapid decay. Salt-preservation was especially common for foods that constituted warrior and sailors' diets until the introduction of canning methods. Evidence for the existence of these methods can be found in the writings of the ancient Greek, Chaldean, Egyptian and Roman civilizations as well as archaeological evidence from Europe, North and South America and Asia. These tried and tested processing techniques remained essentially the same until the advent of the industrial revolution. Examples of ready-meals also date back to before the preindustrial revolution, and include dishes such as Cornish pasty and Haggis. Both during ancient times and today in modern society these are considered processed foods.

Michael Foods egg-processing plant in Wakefield, Nebraska Wakefield, Nebraska Michael Foods plant.JPG
Michael Foods egg-processing plant in Wakefield, Nebraska

Modern food processing technology developed in the 19th and 20th centuries was developed in a large part to serve military needs. In 1809 Nicolas Appert invented a hermetic bottling technique that would preserve food for French troops which ultimately contributed to the development of tinning, and subsequently canning by Peter Durand in 1810. Although initially expensive and somewhat hazardous due to the lead used in cans, canned goods would later become a staple around the world. Pasteurization, discovered by Louis Pasteur in 1864, improved the quality and safety of preserved foods and introduced the wine, beer, and milk preservation.

A form of pre-made split-pea soup that has become traditional Erbswurst-1.jpg
A form of pre-made split-pea soup that has become traditional

In the 20th century, World War II, the space race and the rising consumer society in developed countries contributed to the growth of food processing with such advances as spray drying, evaporation, juice concentrates, freeze drying and the introduction of artificial sweeteners, colouring agents, and such preservatives as sodium benzoate. In the late 20th century, products such as dried instant soups, reconstituted fruits and juices, and self cooking meals such as MRE food ration were developed. By the 20th century, automatic appliances like microwave oven, blender, and rotimatic paved way for convenience cooking.

In western Europe and North America, the second half of the 20th century witnessed a rise in the pursuit of convenience. Food processing companies marketed their products especially towards middle-class working wives and mothers. Frozen foods (often credited to Clarence Birdseye) found their success in sales of juice concentrates and "TV dinners". [6] Processors utilised the perceived value of time to appeal to the postwar population, and this same appeal contributes to the success of convenience foods today.

Benefits and drawbacks

Benefits

Processed seafood - fish, squid, prawn balls and simulated crab sticks (surimi) Processed seafood.jpg
Processed seafood - fish, squid, prawn balls and simulated crab sticks (surimi)

Benefits of food processing include toxin removal, preservation, easing marketing and distribution tasks, and increasing food consistency. In addition, it increases yearly availability of many foods, enables transportation of delicate perishable foods across long distances and makes many kinds of foods safe to eat by de-activating spoilage and pathogenic micro-organisms. Modern supermarkets would not exist without modern food processing techniques, and long voyages would not be possible.

Processed foods are usually less susceptible to early spoilage than fresh foods and are better suited for long-distance transportation from the source to the consumer. [3] When they were first introduced, some processed foods helped to alleviate food shortages and improved the overall nutrition of populations as it made many new foods available to the masses. [7]

Processing can also reduce the incidence of food-borne disease. Fresh materials, such as fresh produce and raw meats, are more likely to harbour pathogenic micro-organisms (e.g. Salmonella) capable of causing serious illnesses.

The extremely varied modern diet is only truly possible on a wide scale because of food processing. Transportation of more exotic foods, as well as the elimination of much hard labor gives the modern eater easy access to a wide variety of food unimaginable to their ancestors. [8]

The act of processing can often improve the taste of food significantly. [9]

Mass production of food is much cheaper overall than individual production of meals from raw ingredients. Therefore, a large profit potential exists for the manufacturers and suppliers of processed food products. Individuals may see a benefit in convenience, but rarely see any direct financial cost benefit in using processed food as compared to home preparation.

Processed food freed people from the large amount of time involved in preparing and cooking "natural" unprocessed foods. [10] The increase in free time allows people much more choice in life style than previously allowed. In many families the adults are working away from home and therefore there is little time for the preparation of food based on fresh ingredients. The food industry offers products that fulfill many different needs: e.g. fully prepared ready meals that can be heated up in the microwave oven within a few minutes.

Modern food processing also improves the quality of life for people with allergies, diabetics, and other people who cannot consume some common food elements. Food processing can also add extra nutrients such as vitamins.

Drawbacks

Meat packages in a Roman supermarket Meat packages in a Roman supermarket.jpg
Meat packages in a Roman supermarket

Processing of food can decrease its nutritional density. The amount of nutrients lost depends on the food and processing method. For example, heat destroys vitamin C. Therefore, canned fruits possess less vitamin C than their fresh alternatives. The USDA conducted a study of nutrient retention in 2004, creating a table of foods, levels of preparation, and nutrition. [11]

New research highlighting the importance to human health of a rich microbial environment in the intestine indicates that abundant food processing (not fermentation of foods) endangers that environment. [12]

Using some food additives represents another safety concern. The health risks of any given additive vary greatly from person to person; for example using sugar as an additive endangers diabetics. In the European Union, only European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved food additives (e.g., sweeteners, preservatives, stabilizers) are permitted at specified levels for use in food products. Approved additives receive an E number (E for Europe), simplifying communication about food additives included in the ingredients' list for all the different languages spoken in the EU. As effects of chemical additives are learned, changes to laws and regulatory practices are made to make such processed foods more safe.

Food processing is typically a mechanical process that utilizes extrusion, large mixing, grinding, chopping and emulsifying equipment in the production process. These processes introduce a number of contamination risks. Such contaminates are left over material from a previous operation, animal or human bodily fluids, microorganisms, nonmetallic and metallic fragments. Further processing of these contaminates will result in downstream equipment failure and the risk of ingestion by the consumer. Example: A mixing bowl or grinder is used over time, metal parts in contact with food will tend to fail and fracture. This type of failure will introduce into the product stream small to large metal contaminants.[ citation needed ] Further processing of these metal fragments will result in downstream equipment failure and the risk of ingestion by the consumer. Food manufacturers utilize industrial metal detectors to detect and reject automatically any metal fragment. Large food processors will utilize many metal detectors within the processing stream to reduce both damage to processing machinery as well as risk to consumer health.[ citation needed ]

Food processing does have some benefits, such as making food last longer and making products more convenient. However, there are drawbacks to relying on a lot of heavily processed foods. Whole foods and those that are only minimally processed, like frozen vegetables without any sauce, tend to be more healthy. An unhealthy diet high in fat, added sugar and salt, such as one containing a lot of highly-processed foods, can increase the risk for cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to the World Health Organization.[ citation needed ]

Added sodium

One of the main sources for sodium in the diet is processed foods. Sodium is added to prevent spoilage, add flavor and improve the texture of these foods. Americans consume an average of 3,436 milligrams of sodium per day, which is higher than the recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams per day for healthy people, and more than twice the limit of 1,500 milligrams per day for those at increased risk for heart disease.

Added sugars

While you don't need to limit the sugars found naturally in whole, unprocessed foods like fresh fruit, eating too much added sugar found in many processed foods can increase your risk for heart disease, obesity, cavities and Type 2 diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends women limit added sugars to no more than 100 calories, or 25 grams, and men limit added sugars to no more than 155 calories, or about 38.75 grams, per day. Currently, Americans consume an average of 355 calories from added sugars each day.

Nutrient losses

Processing foods often involves nutrient losses, which can make it harder to meet your needs if these nutrients aren't added back through fortification or enrichment. For example, using high heat during processing can cause vitamin C losses. Another example is refined grains, which have less fiber, vitamins and minerals than whole grains. Eating refined grains, such as those found in many processed foods, instead of whole grains may increase your risk for high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, according to a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in December 2007.[ citation needed ]

Trans fats

Foods that have undergone processing, including some commercial baked goods, desserts, margarine, frozen pizza, microwave popcorn and coffee creamers, sometimes contain trans fats. This is the most unhealthy type of fat, and may increase your risk for high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends keeping your trans fat intake as low as possible.

Other potential disadvantages

Processed foods may actually take less energy to digest than whole foods, according to a study published in "Food & Nutrition Research" in 2010, meaning you retain more of the calories they contain. Processed foods also tend to be more allergenic than whole foods, according to a June 2004 "Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology" article. Although the preservatives and other food additives used in many processed foods are generally recognized as safe, a few may cause problems for some individuals, including sulfites, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and flavors, sodium nitrate, BHA and BHT, olestra, caffeine and monosodium glutamate.

Performance parameters for food processing

Factory automation - robotics palettizing bread Factory Automation Robotics Palettizing Bread.jpg
Factory automation - robotics palettizing bread

When designing processes for the food industry the following performance parameters may be taken into account:

Women working in a cannery Women working in a cannery.jpg
Women working in a cannery

Industries

Food processing industries and practices include the following:

See also

Notes and references

  1. Grumezescu, Alexandru Mihai; Holban, Alina Maria (2018-04-08). Food Processing for Increased Quality and Consumption. Academic Press. p. 430. ISBN   9780128114995.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Hitzmann, Bernd (2017-08-11). Measurement, Modeling and Automation in Advanced Food Processing. Springer. pp. 30–32. ISBN   9783319601113.
  3. 1 2 3 Ionescu, Gabriela (2016-05-25). Sustainable Food and Beverage Industries: Assessments and Methodologies. CRC Press. p. 21. ISBN   9781771884112.
  4. 1 2 US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (June 1987). "Chapter 8, Technologies Supporting Agricultural, Aquacultural, and Fisheries Development". Integrated Renewable Resource Management for U.S. Insular Areas: Summary. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. pp. 278–281. ISBN   9781428922792.
  5. Hui, Y. H. (2012-01-11). Handbook of Meat and Meat Processing, Second Edition. CRC Press. p. 599. ISBN   9781439836835.
  6. Levenstein, H: "Paradox of Plenty", pages 106-107. University of California Press, 2003
  7. Laudan, Rachel (September–October 2010). "In Praise of Fast Food". UTNE Reader. Retrieved 2010-09-24. Where modern food became available, people grew taller and stronger and lived longer.
  8. Laudan, Rachel (September–October 2010). "In Praise of Fast Food". UTNE Reader. Retrieved 2010-09-24. If we fail to understand how scant and monotonous most traditional diets were, we can misunderstand the “ethnic foods” we encounter in cookbooks, at restaurants, or on our travels.
  9. Laudan, Rachel (September–October 2010). "In Praise of Fast Food". UTNE Reader. Retrieved 2010-09-24. For our ancestors, natural was something quite nasty. Natural often tasted bad. Fresh meat was rank and tough, fresh fruits inedibly sour, fresh vegetables bitter.
  10. Laudan, Rachel (September–October 2010). "In Praise of Fast Food". UTNE Reader. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  11. "USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors, Release 6" (PDF). USDA. USDA. Dec 2007.
  12. Michael Pollan (15 May 2013). "Some of my Best Friends are Germs". New York Times Magazine.

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

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Dried cranberry

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