Overview of the Principles of Food Processing
Food processing is a currently applied trend to turn fresh food into different food products through such methods as washing, pasteurizing, freezing, cooking, or packaging. The purposes of this decision vary, but the major outcome is to extend the shelf-life of food and create an appropriate storage environment (Knorr & Watzke, 2019). Major principles of food processing can be divided into three sections: prevention/delay of microbial decomposition, prevention/delay of self-decomposition, and prevention of damage due to various external factors. For example, microbial decomposition means keeping all possible microorganisms out and is called asepsis. Washing of products, sterilization, and canning of the packaging equipment are required to ensure food contamination. Heat or low temperature are some other options to support the first principle of food processing. Self-decomposition of food should not be ignored as it includes the management of chemical reactions. Blanching, drying, and using low-temperature environments are the common examples to support the second principle. Finally, insects, dust, and fumes may damage food. To maintain the natural taste and save the form, people use specific packaging approaches, choose effective transformation, and create safe environments.
Current Nutritional Controversies Surrounding Processed Food
Processed food is characterized by high volumes of fat, sugar, and unnecessary calories, which provoke multiple questions and controversies. Some health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, are caused by the consumption of ultra-processed foods (Knorr & Watzke, 2019). Despite the intention to create a safe environment and various options for users, nutrients like sodium and saturated fat put human health at risk. The nutritional quality cannot be high, resulting in high mortality rates. Applying the culinary triangle explains the nutritional discussion and proves that food processing is not as damaging as it seems. Raw food is the initial phase when foods are free from human interventions. It may become cooked or processed food even after washing or slicing or rotten food damaged by natural processes without interventions. If the priority were replaced from raw to cooked or rotten, the same edibility volume would not be achieved. This triangle structures the possible model of healthy eating, which supports processed food and removes most controversies. Either with or without processing, food may be damaged, and this step has as much harm and worth as any other activity.
Practical Examples of Emerging Concepts in Food Science
Current advances in modern food science continue to grow and develop, affecting the quality of food and increasing the number of opportunities for consumers. Processed food should no longer be a cause for additional discussions but a method for improvement with the help of available bioresources. The first example is blockchain technology to record transactions with a complex network (Valoppi et al., 2021). This method focuses on the traceability and transparency of the supply chain and increases people’s trust and recognition of technological involvement. Applying virtual reality techniques is another example of how food science can be changed. Digitalization offers obesity-related solutions so people can eat healthy food and recognize unhealthy products at the same time (Valoppi et al., 2021). Shifts in visual food appearance are traced and improved in real time to recognize damage at its early stage and take other steps to predict harm and evaluate consequences. People will change their perceptions of food, examine taste, and define the required texture. Although the offered technologies do not have a direct relation to food processing, they show how the prospects of food science might grow and develop with time.
Knorr, D., & Watzke, H. (2019). Food processing at a crossroad. Frontiers in Nutrition, 6.
Valoppi, F., Agustin, M., Abik, F., Morais de Carvalho, D., Sithole, J., Bhattarai, M., Varis, J. J., Arzami, A. N. A. B., Pulkkinen, E., & Mikkonen, K. S. (2021). Insight on current advances in food science and technology for feeding the world population. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.