The Evolving Nature Of Food Processing Technology

Food is one of the basic needs of humanity. Its production and processing constitute one of the major economic pillars of all societies. And the ways in which that production and processing are done reflect the general level of technological advancement within society at any given point in time. Current food processing techniques constitute a snapshot of a dynamic system in continuous, expansive change. Driven by ever more demanding requirements of consumers, food processors continually seek ways to improve their way of doing things. Even casual reflection allows identification of several relatively recent additions to the arsenal of food processing technologies. Familiar examples of such additions include microwave cooking, ultrafilteration, ohmic heating, modified atmosphere packaging, freeze drying, high pressure processing, blast freezing, supercritical fluid extraction, reduced-fat and -calorie formulations, myriad flavor extracts and enhancers, enzymic processing, and a host of functionality modifiers. Thus, technological change and innovation is no stranger to the food industry. It is in this context of continuous change, driven by changing needs, that radiation processing of food is emerging to join the food processors' arsenal.

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