Why Does Processed Food Have Such a Long Shelf Life?

One of the principal characteristics of most processed food is that it possesses a long shelf life. The preservation of such foods is not by accident, as food manufacturers know that foods that spoil quickly have lower profit margins. Over time, food manufacturers have therefore learnt to increase the shelf lives of foods, and processing of the foods is a necessary stage in that process. Processing of foods can increase the sugar content of the food, relative to other nutrients, and this perseveres the food because microorganisms cannot survive in such osmotically unfavourable conditions. Heating and sterilising the food as in canning, can also increase the shelf life because it removes any microorganisms from the food. However, this is at the cost of the nutritional content. Lastly, adding preservatives can also improve shelf life, but such preservatives may also have detrimental effects on the consumer. Most processed foods are therefore of low nutritional value and often possess anti-nutrients that can negatively affect health. 

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About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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