Wednesday, May 30, 2012


It is fashionable these days to demonize processed foods, with many really convinced that processing destroys the health conferring properties of food significantly if not totally. Is it not amazing that even to day there are powerful people's movements shunning pasteurized milk or frowning upon cooking of eggs? While one has to respect their beliefs and convictions, it is wrong to impose their narrow view on others who are more adventurous and realistic in consuming products which have undergone some form of processing. If processed foods with long shelf life and convenience built into them are not available in the market the living quality of millions of families would have been compromised. Once in a while some one has the guts and conviction to refute the opinionated views of critics of food technology and here is an excellent example of the same.  

"1. People typically think of food processing as something bad, but they fail to consider that many of the most loved foods and beverages require processing for consumption.
    * In its raw state, a cacao bean isn't edible. But thanks to food processing, the bean is turned into every form of chocolate that is available.
    * Coffee beans aren't edible in their raw, unroasted state. Roasting is a form of processing that turns those beans into a consumable form.
    * Wine undergoes processing to turn the grapes into liquid before they are aged in barrels.
2. Food processing also helps support a strong world economy. Imported foods like cheeses, pastas and bottled drinks undergo many of the same types of processing that dairy products and other foods undergo in the U.S. The processing is designed to make these foods safe to eat, and to prevent insects and other contaminants from entering the packaging.
3. Many people rely on processed foods to help them eat a balanced diet because they don't have the ability, time, or energy to prepare foods themselves.
    * Busy mothers with picky eaters often rely on processed foods for easy snacks for when they don't have time to prepare foods that their kids will eat.
    * People with disabilities often live alone with the help of mobility solutions, but they still may have a hard time with the physical requirements of preparing foods from scratch.
    * Individuals who don't know how to cook are typically consumers of processed foods because they don't know how to make meals.
    * Teens often snack while their parents are out of the house, leading them to rely on processed foods.
4. Processing also makes it possible for seasonal produce, which contains many essential vitamins and minerals, to be packaged for later consumption. This makes it possible for people, especially those who live in rural areas without easy access to supermarkets or other food sources, to eat a healthier diet all year.
Obviously, there are two sides to every story. People must understand that, while some forms of food processing are unnecessary and even dangerous, not all fall into this category. So the next time you hear someone overgeneralizing about processed food, take a few minutes to set them straight. You just may teach them a thing or two!"

Many of the stated advantages listed above are just common sense but are ignored by those who passionately preach their beliefs. One of the most convincing arguments in favor of food technology is that it enables man to extend the food supply protecting more lives which otherwise might be extinguished due to food shortages. After all, most foods are seasonal in nature and therefore cannot be produced round the year, no matter what technology is deployed in the field. That necessitates preservation of foods for some time till the next harvest. Imagine how seriously the market forces would have reacted if there are shortages with demand outstripping supply! This is an aspect that cannot be ignored easily whenever the relevance of food processing is debated. Next time somebody fulminates on negative consequences of food processing, the above fact sheet should help in rebutting such ill founded assertions.


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