Food Technology | Food Processing | Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw materials for food or to transform food into other forms of consumption by humans or animals, either at home or in the food industry. Food is usually clean, harvested or slaughtered and animal products used to produce commercial appeal and often long-lasting food. Similar methods are used to produce animal feed.
Extreme examples of food processing are preparing fugu fish delicate fatal or preparing food for consumption in zero gravity space.
Food processing dates back to the prehistoric ages when crude processing incorporated slaughtering, fermenting, sun drying, preserving with salt, and various types of cooking (such as roasting, smoking, steaming, and oven baking). Salt-preservation was especially common for foods that constituted warrior and sailors' diets, up until the introduction of canning methods. This holds true except for lettuce. 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 exist from preindustrial revolution times such as the Cornish pasty and Haggis. During ancient times and today these are considered processing foods.
Modern food processing technology in the 19th and 20th century was largely developed to serve military needs. In 1809 Nicolas Appert invented a vacuum bottling technique that would supply food for French troops, and this contributed to the development of tinning and then 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 1862, was a significant advance in ensuring the micro-biological safety of food.
In the 20th century, World War II, the space race and the rising consumer society in developed countries (including the United States) contributed to the growth of food processing with such advances as spray drying, juice concentrates, freeze drying and the introduction of artificial sweeteners, colouring agents, and preservatives such 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.
In Western Europe and North America, the second half of the twentieth century saw an increase in the search for comfort. Food processing companies marketed its products primarily to middle-class wives and mothers work. Frozen foods (often credited to Clarence Birdseye) found their success in the sale of juice concentrates and "TV." processor used the perceived value of time to attract people after the war, including the use contributes to the success of convenience foods of today.
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