unit7.docx - Unit 7.1 Food Processing Preservation of Food by Physical Technologies Introduction In this Unit we will explore the application of

unit7.docx - Unit 7.1 Food Processing Preservation of Food...

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Unit 7.1 Food Processing: Preservation of Food by Physical Technologies Introduction In this Unit, we will explore the application of technology to our food system. The modern production-to-consumption food system is vast and complex and includes agricultural production and harvesting, holding and storing raw materials, food manufacturing (formulation, processing, and packaging), transportation and distribution, retailing, and food service or home food preparation (Floros, 2010). As a whole, the U.S. food supply is generally safe, nutritious, abundant, affordable, accessible, diverse, convenient, and appealing. Using food technology, the quality and safety of foods can be maintained or enhanced (i.e., sensitive nutrients can be preserved, important nutrients added, and toxins removed) and food waste and product loss can be reduced. Foods can even be designed to optimize health and reduce disease risk. During the 19th and 20th centuries, significant advances in food processing technologies have enabled the use of: Physical phenomenon to dry, can, refrigerate, and freeze food (Unit 7.1) Emerging Food Processing technologies (Unit 7.2); Process controls to optimize microbiological fermentation (Unit 7.3); and Chemical additives to stabilize and enhance food attributes (Unit 7.4). In this century, thermal and non-thermal food processing technologies continue to be developed and some emerge as alternatives (Unit 7.1). These innovations respond to a consumer desire for minimally processed and "fresh- like" foods while maintaining the benefits of enhanced safety and extended shelf life (i.e., the period of time before the quality of a food product begins to diminish) of traditional processing technologies. As discussed in Unit 6, control of microbial growth and activity in foods can be achieved by manipulating water activity, oxygen concentration, temperature, pH, nutrients, and antimicrobial inhibitors. An industry strategy in food preservation, known as “hurdle technology,” uses multiple inhibitory techniques at moderate parameters rather than a single inhibitory technique at an extreme. For example, rather than manipulating a product to a water activity of less than 0.85 or a pH of less than 4.6, a food processor could adjust the Aw to 0.92 and pH to 5.2 and effectively inhibit microbial growth. Therefore, applying hurdle technology to both product formulation and preservation process selection can result in a food product that is both safer and more appealing. Despite the many benefits to consumers attributable to food processing technologies, negative perceptions about "processed foods" exist, often due to a lack of clear understanding. In a broad sense, food processing can be described as any deliberate change in a food occurring between origin and
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consumption, and the "process" may be as simple as rinsing and packaging.
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  • Fall '15
  • Stephanie A. Smith

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