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.
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.
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. 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.
Contamination and spoilage problems in primary food processing can lead to significant public health threats, as the resulting foods are used so widely. However, many forms of processing contribute to improved food safety and longer shelf life before the food spoils. 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.
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. Fermenting fish and making wine, beer, and other alcoholic products are traditional forms of secondary food processing. Sausages are a common form of secondary processed meat, formed by comminution (grinding) of meat that has already undergone primary processing.
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.
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.
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". 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 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. 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.
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.
The act of processing can often improve the taste of food significantly.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When designing processes for the food industry the following performance parameters may be taken into account:
Food processing industries and practices include the following:
Where modern food became available, people grew taller and stronger and lived longer.
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.
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.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union (BCTGM) is a labor union in the United States and Canada primarily representing workers in the food processing industry. The union was established in 1886 as the Journeyman Bakers Union. The contemporary BCTGM was formed in January 1999 as a merger of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers' International Union and the American Federation of Grain Millers.
The BCTGM is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the Canadian Labour Congress and the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF).Creamery
In a dairy, the creamery is the location of cream processing. Cream is separated from whole milk; pasteurization is done to the skimmed milk and cream separately. Whole milk for sale has had some cream returned to the skimmed milk.
The creamery is the source of butter from a dairy. Cream is an emulsion of fat-in-water; the process of churning causes a phase inversion to butter which is an emulsion of water-in-fat. Excess liquid as buttermilk is drained off in the process. Modern creameries are automatically controlled industries, but the traditional creamery needed skilled workers. Traditional tools included the butter churn and Scotch hands.
The term "creamery" is sometimes used in retail trade as a place to buy milk products such as yogurt and ice cream. Under the banner of a creamery one might find a store also stocking pies and cakes or even a coffeehouse with confectionery.Fermentation in food processing
Fermentation in food processing is the process of converting carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms—yeasts or bacteria—under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desired. The science of fermentation is known as zymology or zymurgy.
The term fermentation sometimes refers specifically to the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol, producing alcoholic drinks such as wine, beer, and cider. However, similar processes take place in the leavening of bread (CO2 produced by yeast activity), and in the preservation of sour foods with the production of lactic acid, such as in sauerkraut and yogurt.
Other widely consumed fermented foods include vinegar, olives, and cheese. More localised foods prepared by fermentation may also be based on beans, grain, vegetables, fruit, honey, dairy products, fish.Food and Canning Workers' Union
The South African Food and Canning Workers' Union was established in 1941 by Rachel Simons. It was a founder member of the South African Congress of Trade Unions.
It spread through the fruit canning industry of the Boland, Western Cape and up the west coast among fishing communities. Many of the members were women.
In 1945 it obtained a Wage Determination for the fish canning industry which improved wages and working conditions.Oscar Mpetha became the General Secretary in 1951.
In 1979 it organised a successful consumer boycott. At that time it had about 25000 members.It was one of the members of the Federation of South African Trade Unions established in 1979.
In 1982 Dr Neil Aggett was the leader of the union, though unpaid. He was detained on 27 November 1981 and died in detention.
It amalgamated with the Sweet, Food and Allied Workers' Union and the Retail and Allied Workers' Union to form the Food and Allied Workers UnionFood engineering
Food engineering is a multidisciplinary field which combines microbiology, applied physical sciences, chemistry and engineering for food and related industries. Food engineering includes, but is not limited to, the application of agricultural engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering principles to food materials. Food engineers provide the technological knowledge transfer essential to the cost-effective production and commercialization of food products and services. Physics, chemistry, and mathematics are fundamental to understanding and engineering products and operations in the food industry.Food engineering encompasses a wide range of activities. Food engineers are employed in food processing, food machinery, packaging, ingredient manufacturing, instrumentation, and control. Firms that design and build food processing plants, consulting firms, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and health-care firms also employ food engineers. Specific food engineering activities include:
design and installation of food/biological/pharmaceutical production processes;
design and operation of environmentally responsible waste treatment systems;
marketing and technical support for manufacturing plants.Food industry
The food industry is a complex, global collective of diverse businesses that supplies most of the food consumed by the world's population. Only subsistence farmers, those who survive on what they grow, and hunter-gatherers can be considered outside the scope of the modern food industry.
The food Industry includes:
Agriculture: raising crops, livestock, and seafood
Manufacturing: agrichemicals, agricultural construction, farm machinery and supplies, seed, etc.
Food processing: preparation of fresh products for market, and manufacture of prepared food products
Marketing: promotion of generic products (e.g., milk board), new products, advertising, marketing campaigns, packaging, public relations, etc.
Wholesale and food distribution: logistics, transportation, warehousing
Foodservice (which includes catering)
Grocery, farmers' markets, public markets and other retailing
Regulation: local, regional, national, and international rules and regulations for food production and sale, including food quality, food security, food safety, marketing/advertising, and industry lobbying activities
Education: academic, consultancy, vocational
Research and development: food technology
Financial services: credit, insuranceFood industry in Bangladesh
Food industry is a rapidly growing sector in Bangladesh, employing a significant portion of the labor force in the country. Between 2004 and 2010, the food processing industry in Bangladesh grew at an average 7.7 percent per annum. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, in its 25006 Economic Census, reported that there were approximately 246 medium-sized food processing industries employing 19 percent of the industrial manufacturing workforce in Bangladesh or 8 percent of the total manufacturing labor force. The food industry employs 2.45 percent of the country's total labor force and its share in the GDP was 2.01 percent in 2010. There are also numerous small scale factories and domestic units engaged in food processing throughout the country. According to some industry analysts, the food processing sector in Bangladesh is a 4.5 billion US Dollar industry. In 2010, Bangladesh exported over $700 million worth of processed food and beverages, over 60 percent of them were shrimp and fish products.Food processing in Bangladesh has traditionally been small scale, with domestic or family business using common processing knowledge for the conservation and handling of raw agricultural commodities to make them usable as food and feed. Although commercial scale food processing using modern technology especially for wheat and rice milling, mustard seed crushing and very limited bread and cookie manufacturing appeared during the 1960s, the growth of this sector did not gain momentum in terms of operational scale and quality until the 1980s. Recently the defining characteristics of the industry has been the processing of increasingly diverse products to meet the changing demands of the Bangladesh population. The major food processing sub-sectors in Bangladesh include dairy, edible oil, sugar, rice, wheat, fruit and vegetable, tea, poultry/beaf, pulses and spices and fish processing industries. Induced by the vigorous growth of the diverse middle class population of Bangladesh and the growing demands for additional consumption, the food processing sector is set to witness further hefty expansion in the coming years.Food science
Food science is the science of nature devoted to the study of food; it is often confused with "food technology". The Institute of Food Technologists defines food science as "the discipline in which the engineering, biological, and physical sciences are used to study the nature of foods, the causes of deterioration, the principles underlying food processing, and the improvement of foods for the consuming public". The textbook Food Science defines food science in simpler terms as "the application of basic sciences and engineering to study the physical, chemical, and biochemical nature of foods and the principles of food processing".Activities of food technologists include the development of new food products, design of processes to produce these foods, choice of packaging materials, shelf-life studies, sensory evaluation of products using survey panels or potential consumers, as well as microbiological and chemical testing. Food scientists may study more fundamental phenomena that are directly linked to the production of food products and its properties.
Food science brings together multiple scientific disciplines. It incorporates concepts from fields such as chemistry, physics, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry... Food technology incorporates concepts from chemical engineering, for example.Hook (hand tool)
A hook is a hand tool used for securing and moving loads. It consists of a round wooden handle with a strong metal hook about 8" long projecting at a right angle from the center of the handle. The appliance is held in a closed fist with the hook projecting between two fingers.
This type of hook is used in many different industries, and has many different names. It may be called a box hook, cargo hook, loading hook, docker's hook when used by longshoremen, and a baling hook, bale hook, or hay hook in the agricultural industry. Other variants exist, such as in forestry, for moving logs, and a type with a long shaft, used by city workers to remove manhole covers.
Smaller hooks may also be used in food processing and transport.Leavening agent
A leaven , often called a leavening agent (and also known as a raising agent), is any one of a number of substances used in doughs and batters that cause a foaming action (gas bubbles) that lightens and softens the mixture. An alternative or supplement to leavening agents is mechanical action by which air is incorporated. Leavening agents can be biological or synthetic chemical compounds. The gas produced is often carbon dioxide, or occasionally hydrogen.
When a dough or batter is mixed, the starch in the flour and the water in the dough form a matrix (often supported further by proteins like gluten or polysaccharides, such as pentosans or xanthan gum). Then the starch gelatinizes and sets, leaving gas bubbles that remain.Ministry of Food Processing Industries
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) is a ministry of the Government of India responsible for formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws relating to food processing in India. The ministry was set up in the year 1988, with a view to develop a strong and vibrant food processing industry, to create increased employment in rural sector and enable farmers to reap the benefits of modern technology and to create a surplus for exports and stimulating demand for processed food. The ministry is currently headed by Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a Cabinet Minister.Nippon Ham
NH Foods Ltd. (日本ハム株式会社, Nippon Hamu Kabushiki-gaisha) (English name before 2014: Nippon Meat Packers, Inc.) is a food processing conglomerate headquartered in Hommachi, Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan. Founded in 1949, the company is commonly known as Nippon Ham. As a multinational corporation, Nippon Ham operates subsidiaries around the world, including China and the United States. In addition to its main business of meat packing and other food processing, the company owns the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, a professional baseball team in Japan's Pacific League, and owns part of the J-League soccer team, Cerezo Osaka.Pore (bread)
Pores are the air pockets found in leavened bread, where carbon dioxide from the fermentation process creates a network of primarily interconnected void structures. The degree to which pores form are a major determiner in the texture ("crumb") of the bread. Pore size varies between varieties of bread. Sourdough bread is a variety with larger pores. Rye bread has smaller pores and a denser crumb.Ramly Group
Ramly Food Processing Sdn Bhd (doing business as Ramly) is a Malaysian frozen and fast food company founded by Haji Ramly Mokni through Pemasaran Ramly Mokni Sdn Bhd.Rendering (animal products)
Rendering is a process that converts waste animal tissue into stable, usable materials. Rendering can refer to any processing of animal products into more useful materials, or, more narrowly, to the rendering of whole animal fatty tissue into purified fats like lard or tallow. Rendering can be carried out on an industrial, farm, or kitchen scale.
The majority of tissue processed comes from slaughterhouses, but also includes restaurant grease and butcher shop trimmings and expired meat from grocery stores. This material can include the fatty tissue, bones, and offal, as well as entire carcasses of animals condemned at slaughterhouses, and those that have died on farms, in transit, etc. The most common animal sources are beef, pork, mutton, and poultry.
The rendering process simultaneously dries the material and separates the fat from the bone and protein. A rendering process yields a fat commodity (yellow grease, choice white grease, bleachable fancy tallow, etc.) and a protein meal (meat and bone meal, poultry byproduct meal, etc.).
Rendering plants often also handle other materials, such as slaughterhouse blood, feathers and hair, but do so using processes distinct from true rendering.
The occupation of renderer has appeared in "dirtiest jobs" lists.Souring
Souring is a cooking technique that uses exposure to an acid to cause a physical and chemical change in food. This acid can be added explicitly (for example, in the form of vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, etc.), or can be produced within the food itself by a microbe such as Lactobacillus.
Souring is similar to pickling or fermentation, but souring typically occurs in minutes or hours, while pickling and fermentation can take a much longer time.Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) is a trade union in the United Kingdom, consisting of over 433,000 members nationwide. Usdaw members work in a variety of occupations and industries including: shopworkers, factory and warehouse workers, drivers, call centres, clerical workers, milkround and dairy process, butchers and meat packers, catering, laundries, chemical processing, home shopping and pharmaceutical. The retail sector employs around 2.77 million people.Vegetarian and non-vegetarian marks
Packaged food products sold in India and sri lanka are required to be labelled with a mandatory mark in order to be distinguished between lacto-vegetarian and non-lacto-vegetarian. The symbol is in effect following the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Act of 2006, and got a mandatory status after the framing of the respective regulations (Food Safety and Standards [Packaging and Labelling] Regulation) in 2011. According to the law, vegetarian food should be identified by a green symbol and non-vegetarian food with a brown symbol.Restaurants use voluntary Vegan Friendly mark to denote availability of vegan options. Packaged food manufacturers also use a variation of Vegan Friendly mark for their vegan offerings.
The fact that the symbols are identical in shape mean that a person with color blindness may not be able to distinguish them.Whole food
Whole foods are plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Examples of whole foods include whole grains, tubers, legumes, fruits, vegetables.There is some confusion over the usage of the term surrounding the inclusion of certain foods, in particular animal foods. The modern usage of the term whole foods diet is now widely synonymous with "whole foods plant-based diet" with animal products, oil and salt no longer constituting whole foods.The earliest use of the term in the post-industrial age appears to be in 1946 in The Farmer, a quarterly magazine published and edited from his farm by F. Newman Turner, a writer and pioneering organic farmer. The magazine sponsored the establishment of the Producer Consumer Whole Food Society Ltd, with Newman Turner as president and Derek Randal as vice-president. Whole food was defined as "mature produce of field, orchard, or garden without subtraction, addition, or alteration grown from seed without chemical dressing, in fertile soil manured solely with animal and vegetable wastes, and composts therefrom, and ground, raw rock and without chemical manures, sprays, or insecticides," having intent to connect suppliers and the growing public demand for such food. Such diets are rich in whole and unrefined foods, like whole grains, dark green and yellow/orange-fleshed vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds.
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