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Food Preservation Overview

Food is the primary source of energy for every living being on this planet. Consumption of unhealthy and spoiled food may lead to foodborne diseases. So, it is very important to preserve the food and prevent it from spoiling.

Food preservation is the process of preserving food to prevent spoilage and decay of food and improve its shelf-life. It involves various techniques that help to prolong the life of food products, prevent the development of micro-organisms, slow down the chemical oxidation of certain fats that result in rancidity. Food preservation has been in practice since ancient days. Food preservation helps to store food products for a longer period of time without any loss in nutritional value. Food preservation plays an important role in ensuring food security by providing adequate food to people.

Why Food Preservation?

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Increase the shelf-life of food
taste
To retain the texture and taste of food
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To preserve the appearance of food
food-safety
Improve food security

Methods of Food Preservation

  • Freezing is one of the easiest and most commonly used methods of food preservation. Freezing refers to lowering the internal temperature of food to stop the growth of micro-organisms. It does not involve the use of any kind of food preservatives. So, it is considered as the safest method of preserving food both domestically and commercially.
  • Some people believe that over the freezing of food for a longer period may lead to a change in the texture of food. So, it is advisable to not keep food in the refrigerator for a longer period of time to ensure the original taste and texture of the food. In the olden days, before the advent of refrigerators, people used to cool the food using the iceboxes.
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  • Sugaring is one of the oldest food preservation techniques. Sugaring is the process of preserving food by mixing it with crystalized sugar or liquids containing a high amount of sugars. It helps to reduce the activity of enzymes present in the food by minimizing the growth of bacteria. Fruits like apple, pears, plums, cherry, apricots, etc. and vegetables like carrot, ginger, etc. are preserved using the sugaring technique.
  • Salting is another oldest and most widely used food preservation technique. It is the process of preserving food by treating it with salt. Salting is used to preserve meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, etc. Adding salt helps to reduce the amount of water present in the food and thereby prevents the growth of micro-organisms and the decomposition of food.
vegetables
  • Vacuum packaging similar to canning involves removing air from the containers and destroying the food spoiling micro-organisms. While vacuum packing helps to improve the shelf-life of food, it cannot extend the shelf-life of food as long as the canning process does. Vacuum packing does not require the addition of any other ingredients or food preservatives. Therefore, it does not affect the texture, taste, colour and other natural characteristics of the food products.
  • Vacuum packing is majorly used to preserve dry food products, such as nuts, cereals, coffee powder, potato chips, biscuits, etc. over a longer period of time. Generally, vacuum packaging machines are used to vacuum pack food products. However, vacuum packaging can also be done manually in some cases. Apart from food preservation, the vacuum technique is also used in processing of the food.
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  • Pasteurization is the process of heating food products like milk and juices to eliminate bacteria and other micro-organisms and extend the shelf-life of food products. Pasteurization is mainly used in the dairy industry in the world. In the pasteurization technique, milk is heated to a temperature of 71.7°C. Then it is quickly cooled down to a temperature of less than 3°C before it is packed and sealed. This helps to kill pathogens present in the milk such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Brucella abortus, and Coxiella burnetii.
  • Apart from destroying the pathogens, it also helps to deactivate several enzymes in the milk. This does not affect the colour, texture and taste of food products. For better results, pasteurization is used in combination with other food preservation techniques like refrigeration, canning, etc.
vegetables

Companies Availed Preservation Consulting Services

Govt. Initiatives & Schemes

PLI Scheme

An outlay of Rs. 10,900 Crore to enhance domestic manufacturing capabilities and exports

Operation Green (Top to Total)

To help fruits and vegetable growers increase sales and reduce post-harvest losses.

AHIDF

The scheme will provide financial assistance for dairy, meat and animal feed processing industries.

PMKSY

Establishment of mega food parks, integrated cold chain and value added infrastructure, food safety and quality assurance infrastructure, etc.

ODOP Scheme

Identification and promotion of specific food products for each district under the ODOP scheme.

PM Matsya Sampada Yojana

An amount of Rs. 20,050 crores till FY 2024-25 for the sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector.

NABARD Loans

Loans at minimum interest for food processing units in designates food parks from NABARD.

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