Date: 05 Sep 2009

Microbiological Spoilage of Canned Foods

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Nicolas Appert (1749–1841) developed the first commercial process that kept foods from spoiling in response to an offer from the French government for a method of preserving food for use by the army and navy. Appert, a confectioner and chef, began to experiment in his workshop in Massy, near Paris, but since little was known about bacteriology and the causes of spoilage (Louis Pasteur had yet to formulate the germ theory), much of his work involved trial and error. In 1810, after years of experimenting, he was awarded the prize of 12,000 francs for his method of preservation, which involved cooking foods in sealed jars at high temperatures. He described his method of preserving food in a book published in 1811, “L’Art De Conserver, Pendant Plusiers Annes, Toutes les Substances Animales et Végétales,” which translated means “The Art of Preserving All Kinds of Animal and Vegetable Substances for Several Years.” He later built a bottling factory and began to produce preserved foods for the people of France and is credited with being the “Father of Canning.”