Increasing the shelf life of raw materials is a problem faced by every manufacturing industry. It is even more crucial when it comes to food industry. Extending the raw material shelf life is vital to ensure safety of food to consumers. The role of food consultants is huge in helping food businesses preserve the food raw materials. Adding certain chemicals to food products to contain the growth micro-organisms is the most common method. There are several methods to preserve and extend the shelf life of raw materials, depending on the type of the product.
Here are some of the commonly used methods to preserve food raw materials for longer shelf life:
Cold storage or refrigeration is the most popular food preservation technique used to enhance shelf life of food products. It is widely used particularly for perishable food items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, etc. The temperature at which food items are stored in this technique is -18 degree or below.
Aseptic canning is the process of packaging of food products into sterilised cans under sterilised conditions. It is one of the popular methods of food preserving, wherein food is sealed in containers and then sterilized by heat. The amount of heat applied depends on size of the container and nature of the product. Food products that are acidic in nature such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, fish, etc. are preserved using aseptic canning technique.
Dehydration which is the removal of moisture from food products is another method to preserve food materials for longer shelf life. It is the oldest food preservation technique which is in usage for centuries. Some of the popular modern methods of dehydration technique include osmotic dehydration, drum dehydration, hot air drying, foam mat drying, etc.
Air Tight Packaging
Air tight packaging must be used for products like milk powder, baking soda, grains, etc. It helps to prevent materials from absorbing the moisture, which cause the growth of micro-organisms. Today, there are several plastic and glass air-tight containers available in the market at cost-effective prices that keep the food products fresh with longer shelf life.
Non-thermal Food Processing
It is the advanced food preservation technique that involves discharge of high voltage short electric pulses into the food products to increase shelf life. Ohmic heating, pulsed electric field processing, and high pressure processing are some of the non-thermal food processing techniques.
Radiation food preservation is a process where food products are exposed to controlled radio waves such as gamma rays, x-rays, etc. to increase the shelf life of food items. This technique can be used slowdown the ripening of fruits and vegetables, disinfect pulses and grains.
Mentioned are some of the popular food preservation techniques used in the food industry. However, proper implementation of these techniques is not an easy task and requires domain expertise from food consultants to achieve optimal results in terms of longer shelf life. Therefore, it is imperative for food industries to take guidance from food industry consultants for the successful implementation of food preservation techniques.
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