In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Characteristics of Food Industry 2. Objectives of Food Industry 3. Risks 4. Benefits.
A simple definition of food processing is the conversion of raw materials or ingredients into a consumer food product. A more complete definition of commercial food processing is defined as that branch of manufacturing that starts with raw materials and transform them into intermediate foodstuff or edible product through the application of labor, machinery, energy and scientific knowledge.
The food industry is the largest industry in the world, which are the complex, collective of so many businesses that contribute the supply of the food energy for world population. The food processing industry employs in excess of 1.5 million or more than employees in the entire manufacturing sector.
The recent statistics indicates that food processing is among the industries with the largest magnitude of “value added” when compared to other industries associated with manufacturing. The major categories under food products include meat products, dairy products, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, grain mill products, bakery products, sugar and confectionary products, fats and oils, beverages and miscellaneous food preparations and kindred products.
The foundation of the modern industry was built up with the introduction of machinery and technology of new methods from Germany. Different type of food processing have been practiced since ancient period in which people were familiar the processes such as slaughtering, fermenting, sun drying, preserving with salt and various types of cooking (such as roasting, smoking, steaming and oven baking).
Salt-preservation was especially common for food that constituted warrior and sailor’s diets, up until the introduction of canning methods. Now a days, manufacturing technology of food, process control, packaging environmental facilities have been become more advanced because of the advancement of food science, general introduction of quality hygienics, applied microbiology, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electronic engineering and high-polymer technology.
The major aims of the food industry today are:
1. To extend the period during which a food remains wholesome (the shelf life) by preservation techniques which inhibit microbiological or biochemical changes and thus allow time for distribution, sales and home storage.
2. To increase variety in the diet by providing a range of attractive flavors, colors, aromas and textures in food (collectively known as eating quality, sensory characteristics or organoleptic quality); a related aim is to change the form of the food to allow further processing (for example the milling of grains to flour).
3. To provide the nutrients required for health (termed nutritional quality of a food).
4. To generate income for the manufacturing company.
Risks of Food Industry:
Although a nutritious and adequate food supply is vital to human survival, it can also pose a health risk from food borne illnesses. Safety measures and risk indicators are regulated by many different government agencies – the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA, FSIS), which regulates meat and poultry; the United States Department of Commerce, which regulates voluntary water food inspection; the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates all other categories of foodtuffs; and the United States Department of Defense (DOD), which regulates all foodtuffs procured under military contracts. Safe production, distribution and consumer handling of food require knowledge of food borne pathogens, chemical toxins, food quality, labeling and food safety education.
Food safety is a worldwide issue affecting hundreds of millions of people who suffer from diseases caused by contaminated food. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls it “one of the most widespread health problems and an important cause of reduced economic productivity”.
Annually, over 3 million children under the age of 5 die of diarrheal diseases among approximately 1,500 million episodes of diarrhea in developing countries. 70% of this incidence is attributable to food borne illness. 6.5 million To 80 million cases of food borne illness occur annually in the United States. About 13 million children under the age of 5 die each year from infections and malnutrition, most often attributable to contaminated food.
Serious and chronic health effects of food borne illness present an additional burden on the health care system and affect an estimated 3 of every 1,000 prenatal infants. The estimated annual medical costs/productivity losses due to the 7 major foods borne pathogens range from $6.6 billion to $37.1 billion, according to USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures.
The most important risks are facing the food industry while the processing of food are:
During the thermal processing of food some kinds of undesirable consequences are taking place includes loss of vitamins, essential amino acids, poly unsaturated fatty acids, some proteins etc., are adversely affects to the nutritional quality of food.
Another global food risk is radioactivity in the food system. Even if we are processing the food in food industry, these toxic materials will remains in the food. The important types of toxic substances are radioisotopes. The isotopes of strontium, cesium, etc. will enter bone and causes various types of borne cancer. So the catastrophic events of radioisotopes would contaminate the global food chain, food web and increase rates of deformity, cancer and death.
Food additives are added to the food for long term preservation and aroma development. But the addition of chemical preservatives would cause serious health problems and allergic reactions in some people.
Other important types of risks in food industry are the toxic products presents in animal and plants. The products such as some alkaloids, mycotoxins, enterotoxins and veterinary drugs arise by plant or animal origin may contaminate the food and is very difficult to remove while the processing.
One of the prime risks are facing in the food industry is microbial contaminations. The microorganisms can produce various types of toxins, toxic products, mycotoxins, heat resistant spores which would contaminate almost all the food items. Organisms like moulds, Salmonella, Clostridium sps, Staphylococcus, Shigella, Campylobactor, Giardia, E.coli, Vibrio, etc. may causes serious problems in humans.
The other risk factors are improper holding time and temperature while the processing of different food, cross contamination, contaminated equipments and poor personal hygiene.
(1) Risk Analysis in Food Industry:
Risk analysis is widely recognized as the fundamental method ology underlying the development of food safety standards. As recognized in the 1995 consultation, risk analysis is composed of three separate but integrated elements, namely risk assessment, risk management and risk communication.
(i) Risk Assessment:
It is a process that involves identifying a potential hazard that can cause a negative impact.
(ii) Risk Management:
It is a process that involves identifying, evaluating, selecting and implementing specific management measures to mitigate risk.
(iii) Risk Communication:
Risk communication is a process that includes the exchange of information about the risk.
Risk management is defined as the process of weighing policy alternatives in the light of the results of risk assessment and, if required, selecting and implementing appropriate control options, including regulatory measures. The primary goal of the management of risks associated with food is to protect public health by controlling such risks as effectively as possible through the selection and implementation of appropriate measures.
i. Risk Evaluation:
Risk evaluation in food industry includes:
(i) Identification of a food safety problem.
(ii) Establishment of a risk profile.
(iii) Ranking of the hazard for risk assessment and risk management priority.
(iv) Establishment of risk assessment policy for conduct of risk assessment.
(v) Commissioning of risk assessment.
(vi) Consideration of risk assessment result.
ii. Risk Management Option Assessment:
The option assessment in risk management covers the following concepts:
(i) Identification of available management options.
(ii) Selection of preferred management option, including consideration of an appropriate safety standard.
(iii) Final management decision.
Implementation, Monitoring and Review:
These are the last element in risk assessment and are follows:
(i) Assessment of effectiveness of measures taken.
(ii) Review risk management and / or assessment as necessary.
Benefits of Food Industry:
Even though food industries have number risk factors, same time it has some benefits also.
The major benefits of food industry listed below:
1. Largest industrial sector in the world
2. Removal of natural toxin from plant and animal food
3. Long time preservation
4. Improve the shelf life, consistency, aroma and flavor
5. Ease of marketing and distribution
6. Increase the seasonal availability
7. Enable transportation of delicate, perishable food across long distance.
8. Make many kinds of food safe to eat by deactivating spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms.