Classification of Food Processing and Preservation Operations

  • Enrique Ortega-Rivas
Part of the Food Engineering Series book series (FSES)


The origins of food processing may be placed in ancient Egypt in that period when diverse developments seemed to symbolize the history of the culture of mankind. Crude processing methods that included slaughtering, fermenting, sun-drying, and preserving with salt are evidenced, not only in the writings of the ancient Egyptians, but also in those attributed to Greek, Chaldean, and Roman civilizations. All these cultures tried and tested processing methods, which remained essentially the same until the Industrial Revolution. Examples of ready-to-eat meals existed even prior to the Industrial Revolution, for instance, the Cornish pasty and haggis, a traditional Scottish dish. Modern food processing technology was largely developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to serve mainly military needs. A typical example is the invention of a vacuum bottling technique by Nicolas Appert in 1809 to supply food for French troops, which contributed to the development of tinning and then canning by Peter Durand in 1810. Although initially expensive and somewhat hazardous owing to the lead used in cans, canned goods later became a staple around the world. Pasteurization, discovered by Louis Pasteur in 1862, was a significant advance in ensuring the microbiological safety of food. During the twentieth century, World War II, the space race, and the rising consumer society in developed countries contributed significantly to the growth of food processing with such advances as spray-drying, juice concentrates, and freeze-drying, as well as the introduction of artificial sweeteners, coloring agents, and food preservatives. By the late twentieth century, products such as dried instant soups, reconstituted fruits and juices, and self-cooking meals were developed. In Western Europe and North America, the second half of the twentieth century witnessed a rise in the pursuit of convenience, as food processors marketed their products especially to middle-class working wives and mothers, using the perceived value of time to appeal to the postwar population. Nowadays, the processed foods that are on the shelves of grocery shops and supermarkets are modern processed foods or traditional ones, but their manufacturing technology, process control, and packaging methods have been advanced and rationalized to an incomparable extent in recent years. As a result, products with high quality and uniformity are now being manufactured, based on the advancement of food science, applied microbiology, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and some other interrelated disciplines.


Food Industry Food Processing Unit Operation Pulse Electric Field Food Material 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Ortega-Rivas
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Chemical SciencesAutonomous University of ChihuahuaChihuahuaMexico

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