Unsurprisingly, there is no uniform and precise definition or criteria of what industrialized & processed foods are. The ambiguity mainly serves the food industry.
Most definitions of processed and industrialized foods try to distinguish between whole and natural foods, lightly processed foods, and highly processed foods. Yet, the average consumer will often find it challenging to understand their food category.
It is challenging to separate the criteria between processed and industrial foods in practice, as they are intertwined.
- Food production is one long process ranging from growing food from animals and plants to picking, slaughtering, collecting, transporting, packing, preparing, cooling, processing, packaging, storing, and distributing.
- Processed food criteria do not concern how to prepare food at home before eating but the entire production chain before it reaches the shelf.
Processed and industrialized food suggested broad and stringent definitions and foremost criteria.
Food that meets one or more criteria may be considered processed or industrialized. (Rank is a separate exam)
- After a deep freeze, raw or ready-to-eat food, baking, frying, steaming, or heating over high heat.
- The primary test is the degree of damage caused to each product's nutrients individually during freezing, cooling, or heating to high heat. We are taking into account the shelf life of the product.
- In their final serving form, food and beverages contain not wholly natural substances, such as artificial sweeteners, artificial emulsifiers, solidified vegetable oils, trans fats, artificial flavors, colorants, preservatives, etc.
- Animal, and plant nutrients, are grown under conditions that are not their optimal conditions in nature. Such as:
- Animal foods that have received growth hormones, antibiotics, and foods that target unnatural obesity for the specific animal. Various unneeded chemicals.
- Plant foods are grown under conditions that impair product quality. Such food has undergone chemical spraying or harmful biological treatment, growing produce in untreated wastewater and poor soil unsuitable for the specific crop.
- Food packed in tin cans (leaking), smoked food. (Smoking may contain unhealthy chemicals)
Continue reading: Criteria for classification into industrialized, processed food and beverages.
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