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Chapter 25 : Interventions for Hazard Control during Food Processing
Category: Food Microbiology; Applied and Industrial Microbiology
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Food preservation technologies, some of which have been used for centuries to minimize deterioration of foods and to enhance their safety, include salting, heating, chilling, freezing, drying, acidifying (either directly or by fermentation), modifying packaging atmosphere, and using chemical antimicrobial compounds. The major approaches used to enhance the microbiological quality and safety of food include the application of procedures that (i) prevent or minimize access of microorganisms to the product, (ii) reduce contamination that has gained access to the product, (iii) inactivate microorganisms on the product without cross-contamination, and (iv) prevent or inhibit growth of microorganisms which have gained access and have not been inactivated, during product storage. The antimicrobial activity of essential oils or their components has also been enhanced when combined with nonthermal processing technologies, such as high-pressure processing (HPP), high-intensity pulsed electric fields (PEF), and ultrasound. Overall, non edible antimicrobial films can be classified as those that contain additives that (i) migrate to the surface of the food or (ii) are bound to the surface layer of the film and are effective against surface contamination without migration. Several other food processing technologies for microbial inactivation have been described in scientific publications. These include radio frequency heating, ohmic and conductive heating, UV light, pulsed light, ultrasound, magnetic fields, high-voltage arc discharge, and dense-phase carbon dioxide. The goal of any food preservation method is to enhance product safety, maintain product quality, and extend product shelf life by inactivating or retarding the growth of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms.