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Due to the inadequate techniques for post harvested food preservation, more than 50% of the harvested food is often lost due to spoilage in developing countries (Rasul et al., 2018). Food safety is a worldwide topic that affects a wide range of aspects of daily life, and it is achieved through the employment of biotechnology and chemical substances (Friedman et al., 2016). Food safety is a scientific discipline that describes how to handle, prepare, and store food in order to minimize the risk of getting sick from contaminated infections.
Sources of contaminants in food include Physical contaminants, Biological contaminants and chemical contaminants.
The physical contaminant can be found in food when food is contaminated by an undesired object. Physical pollutants can enter food through a variety of routes. Stones, hair, metal, rubber, and insects are examples of physical pollution.
Fungi, bacteria, viruses, and parasites are the four major kinds of organisms that can contaminate food and cause significant sickness or even death during any step of food production or preparation are referred to as biological contaminants. Fresh produce and meats include a variety of biological contaminants and are the usual target of biological contaminants. The most common reason for food recalls is biological contaminants. Many biological contaminants are opportunistic disease-causing agents that produce a range of symptoms in people.
When unwelcome chemicals end up in food, it is known as chemical food contamination. During the farming or processing of fresh fruit or delicacies, certain chemicals such as pesticides and cleaning materials might contaminate them. As a result, it is generally recommended that people wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them, and that food is removed from surfaces before cleaning. When people use domestic pesticides like cockroach spray in places where food is stored or cooked, chemical food contamination can occur. Chemicals might also be released from unsuitable pots and pans.
Practice good personal hygiene including good personal conduct in food establishments and when handling food (Becalski et al., 2009). The use of spoons when serving foods to prevent contamination of cooked foods. Grain and other vulnerable foods should be dried and stored properly. The usage of leftovers is discouraged (Becalski et al., 2009).
Hurdle technology, Nanotechnology, Irradiation, and Heat treatment are examples of recent breakthroughs in food preservation technology. e.g. Pasteurization, Boiling or heating, Sterilization (Leistner, 2014), and the use of food preservatives (chemical).
Hurdle technology combines numerous preservation technologies to make a product shelf-stable while also improving quality and increasing safety (Leistner, 2014). It is also known as “combined method technology”. Temperature, water activity, pH, and redox potential are the most crucial challenges in food preservation, etc. (Leistner, 2014). With the application of hurdle technology, pathogens in food can be removed or regulated. This means that the food goods will be safe to eat and will have a longer shelf life. These methods can be viewed as “barriers” that the virus must overcome in order to stay alive in the meal. If the correct set of hurdles is applied, all pathogens can be removed or rendered harmless in the final product. Typically, hurdle technology employs a combination of approaches.
To preserve the food, Hurdle Technology employs four primary techniques. These include (Gayán et al., 2012): Multitarget Preservation, Homeostasis, Metabolic Exhaustion, Stress Reaction (Leistner, 2010; Gayán et al., 2012).
The tendency of organisms’ internal states to be regular and stable is known as Homeostasis. (Leistner, 2010). If preservation substances (hurdles) in foods disrupt these microbes’ equilibrium, they will not multiply, remain in the lag phase, or even die.
The part of hurdle technology that deals with auto sterilizing of food are Metabolic Exhaustion. Foods that are microbiologically stable become safer during storage thanks to auto sterilization (Leistner, 2010).
Stress Reaction involves a reaction in which some bacteria become more resistant under stress (Gómez et al., 2011). This stress reaction generates stress shock protein and is affected by factors like pH, water activity etc. Microbes’ varying responses to stress may make food preservation more difficult.
MULTI TARGET PRESERVATION approach is often more effective than single-targeting (Thippeswamy et al., 2011). It allows for the usage of lower-intensity hurdles.
Preservatives serve as antimicrobials that prevent or slow down the growth of moulds, yeasts and bacteria (Oladapo et al.,2014). By preventing the growth of moulds, yeasts and bacteria, preservatives can improve the safety of food as well as make it last longer on the shelf or in the fridge. An ideal preservative should meet the following criteria; A preservative should be able to stop a wide spectrum of microorganisms from growing. A preservative should be non-toxic to humans because they are mostly applied to foods (Oladapo et al.,2014).
Sulfites, propionic acid, sorbic acid, benzoic acid, sodium nitrate, and other preservatives are among them. These preservatives had been tested in foods and have been found safe for preserving foods (Piper et al., 2017).
Sulfites have antioxidant properties and can be applied in foods such as dehydrated fruits, vegetables, wine, juices and sausages. Sulfites are used as a preservative to kill microorganisms like yeast and bacteria.
Sodium nitrate has antimicrobial properties and can be applied in foods such as cured meats. To kill microorganisms like bacteria, sodium nitrate is used as a preservative.
Propionic acid has antimicrobial properties and can be applied in foods such as bread, cakes and cheese. Propionic acid as a preservative is used to target microorganisms such as moulds.
Sorbic acid has antimicrobial properties and can be applied in foods such as salad dressing, wine, cakes and cheese. Sorbic acid is a preservative that is used to kill bacteria like mould.
Benzoic acid has antimicrobial properties and can be applied in foods such as salad dressing, soft drinks, ketchup. To kill microorganisms like moulds, benzoic acid is used as a preservative.
In conclusion, recent advances in food preservation to ensure safety through the application of chemicals has been achieved and also with the use of biotechnology.
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