Different Types of Food Freezing Technology
Freezing is a method of food preservation which has been used by humans for thousands of years. In the past, freezing food was as simple as surrounding it with a block of freshly carved ice to keep its core temperature lowered. While the technology and methods have changed over the years, the basic idea remains the same – to lower the food’s temperature to a suitable degree where germs and bacteria are unable to thrive, therefore increasing the life of the food.
One of the most basic, and frequently used, methods for freezing is flash freezing. In the early 1900’s before refrigerators were made readily available to the public, Clarence Birdseye discovered the benefits of freezing fish and wild game at low temperatures. Birdseye noted that lower temperatures translated into a faster freezing process, which meant the food could be stored for longer periods of time without requiring refrigeration.
Birdseye knew he was onto something with his discovery of flash freezing. In 1925, he invented a device which used a pressurized brine and water solution to freeze vegetables for transport. Instead of forcing consumers to purchase vegetables locally, they could now freeze and transport them throughout the country. Birdseye’s invention was an instant success and was ultimately sold to the company now known as General Foods.
To this day, flash freezing is still a popular method of preserving vegetables, meats and other foods for transport. It’s safe, effective and inexpensive, which are features every food manufacturer should look for. With that said, you should always be on the lookout for new technologies and developments with food preservation.
A lot has changed in the food industry since the early days of Birdseye’s flash freezing process. In searching for ways to improve the effectiveness of freezing, scientists have come up with a new process known as active packaging. Basically, this involves using a variety of new technologies to sense and eliminate harmful bacteria present in the food. While much of this technology is still being researched, certain techniques using active packaging are already being used.
Food product films which allow oxygen to pass through is one form of active packaging. For instance, when a microwavable food dish is frozen, an oxygen-permeable film may be added to the top. As long as the dish is stored in a freezer truck or cold storage, the air will be able to pass through to the food, keeping it cooler for longer periods of time.