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The Most Significant Food Safety Inventions in History

Food and Beverages | Friday, January 07, 2022

Food scientists and researchers have discovered that there are over 250 food-borne disorders worldwide.

FREMONT, CA: Since the dawn of humans, people have sought ways to preserve food for consumption, beginning with cooking food over an open fire and salting food to keep it. As humanity progressed, some of the early applications of the technology were to aid in food safety.

From the first instances of technology and food safety coming together until the year 2021, the approaches to food safety have evolved and improved considerably over the years. Below are some of the technological advancements that have altered the landscape of food safety.

Blockchain

Blockchain technology is an emerging technology that can impact food safety significantly but has not yet been completely realised. A blockchain is a distributed electronic ledger that securely records each transaction or block along its chain. Although it is most frequently connected with Bitcoin, it also has applications in food safety.

Blockchain technology can securely track each stage of a food's journey through the supply chain, increasing transparency. It can inform consumers about the shelf life of their food, how it was handled, and whether or not it is safe. This technology will be increasingly used in the following years to ensure that the food people consume is as safe as possible.

Irradiation

Even with tight food manufacturing regulations, there is no guarantee that food is safe and germ-free. Indeed, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports substantial evidence that no amount of washing will remove all organisms from a specific food.

Irradiation is maybe the most significant non-thermal invention in food safety. Food irradiation kills bacteria without causing damage to the product by using electron beams, X-rays, or gamma rays. While high-energy beams do not affect food production, they damage the DNA of living beings and kill microorganisms. Irradiation has been demonstrated to be effective at controlling germs such as E. coli on seed sprouts. When used in conjunction with other established food safety practices (e.g., washing, packaging, heat or chemical treatment, refrigeration, or freezing), irradiation can help ensure the quality and safety of food. Additionally, irradiation offers the following benefits over standard food safety practices:

  • It does not appreciably raise the temperature of the meal and hence does not "cook" it.
  • Unlike freezing, it does not result in the formation of ice crystals that alter the texture of the meal.
  • In comparison to chemical treatments, it leaves no possibly dangerous residue.
  • It can be used in conjunction with food packaging to ensure that food remains contaminant-free following treatment.

Microwave Ovens

The microwave oven is now a "standard" appliance in most modern houses. For almost three decades, commercial entities have used microwaves to sterilise and pasteurise manufactured goods, effectively eliminating germs and dangerous bacteria.

Refrigeration

Since prehistoric times, humans have used refrigeration in a variety of methods to preserve food. Refrigeration is possibly the most significant advancement in food safety in history. Without this process of cooling and freezing, most foods cannot be transported, eaten, or stored correctly.

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