2.2.2. Food processing and preservation.


Food processing

The food processing is a set of processes performed in different parts of the production, transportation, sale and consumption also made ​​in order to guarantee the life and food hygiene. It starts from the initial idea that food is perishable and must possess certain conditions and perform certain treatments for possible preservation.

During processing of food must have a rigorous control, eg control of good manufacturing practices involving, personal hygiene, clean and sanitized facilities, pest control, proper cooking temperatures, to obtain a safe product.

Food preservation

Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or slow down food spoilage, loss of quality, edibility or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage.

Preservation usually involves preventing the growth of bacteria, fungi (such as yeasts), and other micro-organisms (although some methods work by introducing benign bacteria, or fungi to the food), as well as retarding the oxidation of fats which cause rancidity.


Food preservation can also include processes which inhibit visual deterioration, such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples after they are cut, which can occur during food preparation.

Maintaining or creating nutritional value, texture and flavour is an important aspect of food preservation, although, historically, some methods drastically altered the character of the food being preserved. In many cases these changes have now come to be seen as desirable qualities – cheese, yoghurt and pickled onions being common examples.

1) Drying. 
Drying is one of the most ancient food preservation techniques, which reduces water activity sufficiently to prevent bacterial growth.


2) Refrigeration. Preserves food by slowing down the growth and reproduction of micro-organisms and the action of enzymes which cause food to rot. The introduction of commercial and domestic refrigerators drastically improved the diets of many in the Western world by allowing foods such as fresh fruit, salads and dairy products to be stored safely for longer periods, particularly during warm weather.

3) Freezing.
Is also one of the most commonly used processes commercially and domestically for preserving a very wide range of food including prepared food stuffs which would not have required freezing in their unprepared state.

vacuum_pouches4) Vacuum packing. It stores food in a vacuum environment, usually in an air-tight bag or bottle. The vacuum environment strips bacteria of oxygen needed for survival, slowing spoiling.

5) Salt. Salting or curing draws moisture from the meat through a process of osmosis. Meat is cured with salt or sugar, or a combination of the two. Nitrates and nitrites are also often used to cure meat and contribute the characteristic pink color, as well as inhibition of Clostridium botulinum.

6) Sugar. Sugar is used to preserve fruits, either in syrup with fruit such as apples, pears, peaches,apricots, plums or in crystallized form where the preserved material is cooked in sugar to the point of crystallisation and the resultant product is then stored dry. The use of sugar is often combined with alcohol for preservation of luxury products such as fruit in brandy or other spirits.

smoking7) Smoking. Is used to lengthen the shelf life of perishable food items. This effect is achieved by exposing the food to smoke from burning plant materials such as wood. Most commonly subjected to this method of food preservation are meats and fish that have undergone curing. It is one of the oldest food preservation methods, which probably arose after the development of cooking with fire.

8) Artificial food additives. Preservative food additives can be antimicrobial; which inhibit the growth of bacteria or fungi, including mold, or antioxidant; such as oxygen absorbers, which inhibit the oxidation of food constituents. Common antimicrobial preservatives include calcium propionate,sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, sulfites (sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite, potassium hydrogen sulfite, etc.) and disodium EDTA.Antioxidants include BHA and BHT. Other preservatives include formaldehyde (usually in solution), glutaraldehyde (kills insects),ethanol and methylchloroisothiazolinone.

9) Pickling. Pickling is a method of preserving food in an edible anti-microbial liquid. Pickling can be broadly categorized into two categories:


– In chemical pickling, the food is placed in an edible liquid that inhibits or kills bacteria and other micro-organisms. Typical pickling agents include brine (high in salt), vinegar, alcohol, and vegetable oil, especially olive oil but also many other oils. Many chemical pickling processes also involve heating or boiling so that the food being preserved becomes saturated with the pickling agent. Common chemically pickled foods include cucumbers, peppers, corned beef, herring, and eggs, as well as mixed vegetables such as piccalilli.

– In fermentation pickling, the food itself produces the preservation agent, typically by a process that produces lactic acid. Fermented pickles include sauerkraut, nukazuke, kimchi, surströmming, and curtido. Some pickled cucumbers are also fermented.

lye-cure-vinegar-brine10) Lye. Sodium hydroxide (lye) makes food too alkaline for bacterial growth. Lye will saponify fats in the food, which will change its flavor and texture. Lutefisk uses lye in its preparation, as do some olive recipes. Modern recipes for century eggs also call for lye. Masa harina and hominy use agricultural lime in their preparation and this is often misheard as ‘lye’.

11) Canning and bottling. Canning involves cooking food, sealing it in sterile cans or jars, and boiling the containers to kill or weaken any remaining bacteria as a form of sterilization. It was invented by Nicolas Appert. Foods have varying degrees of natural protection against spoilage and may require that the final step occur in a pressure cooker. Food preserved by canning or bottling is at immediate risk of spoilage once the can or bottle has been opened.

6a00e553deebaf883401053542e85c970c-400wi12) Jellying. Food may be preserved by cooking in a material that solidifies to form a gel. Such materials include gelatine, agar, maize flour and arrow root flour. Some foods naturally form a protein gel when cooked such as eels and elvers, and sipunculid worms which are a delicacy in Xiamen in Fujian province of the People’s Republic of China.

13) Jugging. Meat can be preserved by jugging, the process of stewing the meat (commonly game or fish) in a covered earthenware jug or casserole. The animal to be jugged is usually cut into pieces, placed into a tightly-sealed jug with brine or gravy, and stewed. Red wine and/or the animal’s own blood is sometimes added to the cooking liquid. Jugging was a popular method of preserving meat up until the middle of the 20th century.

Foto de verduras14) Irradiation. Is the exposure of food to ionizing radiation; either high-energy electrons or X-rays from accelerators, or by gamma rays (emitted from radioactive sources as Cobalt-60 or Caesium-137). The treatment has a range of effects, including killing bacteria, molds and insect pests, reducing the ripening and spoiling of fruits, and at higher doses inducing sterility. The technology may be compared to pasteurization; it is sometimes called ‘cold pasteurization’, as the product is not heated. Irradiation is not effective against viruses or prions, it cannot eliminate toxins already formed by microorganisms.

15) Pulsed electric field (PEF) processing is a method for processing cells by means of brief pulses of a strong electric field. PEF holds potential as a type of low temperature alternative pasteurization process for sterilizing food products. In PEF processing, a substance is placed between two electrodes, then the pulsed electric field is applied. The electric field enlarges the pores of the cell membranes which kills the cells and releases their contents. PEF for food processing is a developing technology still being researched. There have been limited industrial applications of PEF processing for the pasteurization of fruit juices.

16) High pressure food preservation. “Pressed inside a vessel exerting 70,000 pounds per square inch (480 MPa) or more, food can be processed so that it retains its fresh appearance, flavour, texture and nutrients while disabling harmful microorganisms and slowing spoilage. By 2005 the process was being used for products ranging from orange juice to guacamole to deli meats and widely sold.

17) Burial in the ground. Can preserve it due to a variety of factors: lack of light, lack of oxygen, cool temperatures, pH level, or desiccants in the soil. Burial may be combined with other methods such as salting or fermentation. Most foods can be preserved in soil that is very dry and salty (thus a desiccant), or soil that is frozen.

18) Controlled use of micro-organism. Some foods, such as many cheeses, wines, and beers will keep for a long time because their production uses specific micro-organisms that combat spoilage from other less benign organisms. These micro-organisms keep pathogens in check by creating an environment toxic for themselves and other micro-organisms by producing acid or alcohol.

19) Biopreservation. Is the use of natural or controlled microbiota or antimicrobials as a way of preserving food and extending its shelf life. Beneficial bacteria or the fermentationproducts produced by these bacteria are used in biopreservation to control spoilage and render pathogens inactive in food.It is a benign ecological approach which is gaining increasing attention.



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