Q:

What is food production?

A:

Food production is the process of transforming raw ingredients into prepared food products. Food production includes industries that take raw food products and convert them into marketable food items. Home food production includes converting produce into forms for long-term storage.

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The food production industry takes fruits, vegetables and grains in their harvested forms as well as meat directly after the butchering process and processes these into the types of food products that are available for sale in supermarkets. Food production ranges from minimal processing, such as cleaning and packaging, to complicated processes involving lots of additives and ingredients. Food production processes create products with longer shelf lives than raw food ingredients.

Some food production techniques go back to prehistoric times. These include smoking and salting meats for long-term storage and fermenting or pickling vegetables. In the 19th century, canning became a popular method of food production. Home cooks sometimes use traditional food production techniques, such as fermenting, pickling and canning, to produce food for their families.

Although food production techniques produce germ-free food products with long shelf lives, they also have drawbacks. During high heat and refining processes, raw foods lose nutrients. Food production industries also add artificial colors and flavors to make foods more appealing. Although government regulatory bodies test all additives, many health advocacy groups question the safety of their use in large quantities.

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