Food processing techniques date back to the prehistoric ages, when crude processing involved slaughtering, fermenting, drying, preserving with salt, and various types of cooking (such as roasting, smoking, steaming, and oven baking). Food processing may be carried out in the home or by community groups, as cottage industries or more formal commercial formulations with increasing levels of sophistication and capital requirements. The aim of food processing is to ensure microbiological and chemical safety of foods, adequate nutrient content and bioavailability, and acceptability to the consumer with regard to sensory properties and ease of preparation. Processing may have either beneficial or harmful effects on these different properties of food, so each of these factors must be taken into account in the design and preparation of complementary foods.
The availability and safety of nutrition-rich food are areas of worldwide concern due to their direct impact on human health. Food processing is expected to affect content, activity and bioavailability of nutrients; the health-promoting capacity of food products depends on their processing history. Traditional technologies, such as the use of antimicrobials and thermal processing, are efficient in increasing nutritional value to an extent, though they may not be the most effective at addressing food safety, particularly when it comes to maintaining the food's molecular structure. Modern food processing plants improve the quality of life for people with allergies, diabetics, and others who cannot consume some common food elements. Food processing can also add extra nutrients, such as vitamins. Processed foods are often less susceptible to early spoilage than fresh foods and are better suited for long-distance transportation from the source to the consumer.
However, food processing can also decrease the nutritional value of foods and introduce hazards not encountered with naturally occurring products. Processed foods often include food additives, such as flavourings and texture-enhancing agents, which may have little or no nutritive value, and may in fact be unhealthy. Preservatives added or created during processing to extend the 'shelf-life' of commercially available products, such as nitrites or sulphites, may cause adverse health effects (mutagenic and carcinogenic in humans). Use of low-cost ingredients that mimic the properties of natural ingredients (e.g., cheap chemically-hardened vegetable oils in place of more expensive natural saturated fats or cold-pressed oils) have been shown to cause severe health problems. Processed foods often have a higher ratio of calories to other essential nutrients than unprocessed foods, a phenomenon referred to as 'empty calories.' Processed food ingredients are often produced in high quantities and distributed widely among value-added food manufacturers; noncompliance with hygiene standards in 'low-level' manufacturing facilities that produce a widely distributed basic ingredient can have serious consequences for many final products.
This book deals with the subject of food processing in a unique way, providing an overview not only of current techniques in food processing and preservation (i.e., dairy, meat, cereal, vegetables, fruits and juice processing, etc.) but also the health and safety aspects: food technologies that improve nutritional quality of foods, functional foods, and nanotechnology in the food and agriculture industry. The text also looks into the future by defining current bottlenecks and future research goals. This work will serve as a ready reference for the subject matter to students and researchers alike.
This book is not intended to serve as an encyclopedic review of the subject. However, the various chapters incorporate both theoretical and practical aspects and may serve as baseline information for future research through which significant development is possible.
- Publication Date:
- 15 / 11 / 2019
- 155 x 235mm