Friday, December 21, 2007

Food Processing

Food Processing
Food processing began thousands of years ago when early man preserved his harvest, fresh meats and fish for winter reserves by drying in the sun, later expanding this to smoking and salting these foods.

Our forefathers labored continually, because seasonal availability and climate necessitated strict attention to schedules. Fruit need to be picked at the right time, animals had to be slaughtered when and where they could be found processed quickly. Inefficient preservation techniques, poor harvest yields, and danger of contamination were common factors limiting the nutritive value of their diets.

While some progress had been made, the diets of man at the time America was settle were still inadequate. Vitamin C, for example, was often in short supply during winter and spring. Primitive techniques utilized in processing, such as drying and pickling, were quite destructive with the skill of the processor, then quality of the ingredients, the technique, and the weather.

Today however, in addition to providing a plentiful supply and large variety of foods throughout the entire year, our modern sophisticated commercial food processing techniques assure a safe, wholesome, and nutritious food supply. Commercial processing preserves food quality and extends shelf life by destruction of food spoilage and disease causing microorganisms. Furthermore processing destroys certain enzymes, occurring naturally in foods, which could otherwise promote spoilage or reduce nutritive value.

It also preserves the desirable sensory qualities of foods, i.e., flavor, odor, texture and appearance. Home processing results in a more variable product than commercial processing and nutrient losses are frequently higher. However processing is essential, since the concentrations of various nutrients decrease in unprocessed foods and eventually wholesomeness is lost.
Food Processing

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