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Food waste: what you need to know

Food waste: what you need to know

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The Western world wastes three times the amount of food needed to feed the planet’s hungriest people.

From our farms to our supermarkets, tonnes of perfectly edible food ends up in landfill, while statistics suggest that the average family in the UK throws away £700 worth of food a year – that’s £12 billion nationwide*.

Not only is this a waste of good food, it’s also a waste of the resources that were used to produce it – from the water, heat and fertilisers used in the growing process to the energy consumed during its transportation. When you consider that the equivalent of 86 million chickens alone are thrown away every year in the UK* , the story becomes even more shocking.

We believe that minimising food waste is vital to maintaining a responsible and sustainable food system. Reducing waste allows for better distribution of nutritious food to those that need it and eases the enormous strain on the planet’s resources.

We’re taking steps to do this by educating people on the value of food, where it comes from and the amount of resources needed to produce it. There’s so much that can be done to make things better and it’s a job not only for the food industry; everyone can play a part.

Here are some quick tips and tricks to help you get started…


Plan your meals for the week so you’re less likely to over-shop.


Check your fridge, freezer and cupboards before you go shopping so you know exactly what you need. Write it down so you’re more likely to stick to it.


Understand the difference between best-before dates and use-by dates so you’re not throwing away edible food. Click here for more info.


They still have just as many nutrients and are just as tasty as perfectly shaped produce, even if they are a bit ugly!


Be more open-minded about how you buy and eat food – try more unusual cuts of meat or buy sustainable whole fish and use the leftover bones and head to make a delicious stock.


These small eggs from young hens are not large enough to meet supermarkets’ criteria, so they’re often wasted. In truth, they’re the best quality egg you can buy, so keep an eye out for them on sites, such as


Make sure your fridge and freezer are set to the right temperature. This will help food keep for longer.


Weigh out foods such as rice, pasta and vegetables so you don’t end up cooking too much and throwing it away.


Portion out leftovers into freezer bags, label and date them, then pop them in the freezer ready for a quick weekday supper.


Check out Jamie’s book Save with Jamie for plenty more ideas on how to shop smart, cook clever and waste less. Click here to view some of the recipes.

As a business, we’re also evaluating how we can further minimise food waste across our restaurants, shops and products. We already have several measures in place with our suppliers, such as feeding our pigs on a diet of 90% recycled food and using higher-welfare eggs that aren’t large enough to pass supermarket stipulations. Within our restaurant kitchens, we’re mindful of not cooking more than we can sell and using up leftover ingredients wherever possible. The reduction of food waste is a journey we are on ourselves and like most things in life, we believe prevention is better than cure.

*Stats provided by WRAP, correct at time of publication

Is Expired Food Safe to Eat? The Truth About Expiration Dates

Food labeling can be confusing. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your groceries.

A survey from the National Resources Defense Council found that 90 percent of Americans toss out food prematurely. Much of this waste can be attributed to a confusing food dating system that is not federally regulated.

In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states on its website that, with the exception of infant formula, product dating is not required by Federal regulations. The food dates or "expiration dates" we&aposre so familiar with are actually not indicators of food safety at all, they are simply the manufacturer&aposs suggestion as to when their product is at best quality.

So what does this mean for the consumer? You and I may very well be tossing out food while it&aposs still perfectly safe to eat. The best way to combat this waste is to familiarize yourself with common food labels and their meanings. Here we&aposll break down meanings behind these food labels and give general guidelines as to how long your groceries will actually last you.

6 Best Food Waste Apps

1. Food for All

Food for All is an app that lets you buy meals from restaurants and cafes in Boston and New York City for at least 50% off. Pay directly through the food waste app, choose a pick up time, and feel smug knowing you did your part at reducing food waste.

2. Flashfood

Currently only available in Canada, Flashfood allows shoppers to receive major discounts on food items nearing their best before date. They’ve teamed up with large supermarket chains such as Meijer to sell their surplus at reduced prices. The app lets you select items and purchase directly from your phone, which are then ready for pick up.

3. Too Good To Go

Similarly to Flashfood and Food for All, Too Good To Go has a wide listing of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and supermarkets that offer unsold food packaged as ‘magic bags’ at a set price. Half the fun is opening the bag to find out what goodies your local store has picked for you.

Too Good To Go is one of the fastest growing food waste apps in Europe (they are currently in 14 countries) and have just launched in the US also. Watch this space.

4. Food Rescue US

Food Rescue US is a US-wide app connecting ‘food donors’ like grocery stores and restaurants, with food rescue groups and local community kitchens to fight food waste and serve the food insecure population. Since its inception in 2011, Food Rescue US has saved over 22,000 tonnes of food from landfills, including 30,000 pounds of leftover Super Bowl food earlier this month (delivered to local shelters).

5. Olio

Olio is like Tinder for the over-ambitious home cook. Get to know a few neighbours whilst sharing whatever extra meals, sauces, farmers market vegetables you want to save from being binned. Upload your product, wait for a request, connect, meet and share. And like any social app, users can leave reviews and ratings for each other based on their experience.

6. Transfernation

NYC-based Transfernation will take any untouched surplus food off your hands at the click of a button, making sure that it gets to the right people in need. The organisation focuses on redistributing the extra food from events to those in need through a variety of methods including connecting social institutions with events, volunteer food recovery, and partnerships with distribution networks and companies.

17 cool food waste hacks you need to know

How do you feel when you throw away food? Is it a gut-wrenching, guilt-inducing event or do you not even notice? I tend to feel awful about waste in general, especially food waste. I’m forever going through the fridge, eating old bits of ham, just so as to make sure nothing goes in the bin.

Take last night for instance…

We are due a food shop, but I was loathe to buy new things when we had so many odd bits and pieces that needed using. I found a bagel which only had a tiny bit of mould on it, so I cut that off. There were four random, loose fish fingers in the freezer too – job done! Fish finger sandwich for Belle for tea.

(Don’t tell her about the mould.)

The fact is though that a shocking SEVEN MILLION TONNES of food waste is generated by UK households every year and we need to do whatever we can to reduce this, even if it does mean scraping off the odd bit of mould. Naturally, there are also other ways to help. Eagle dumpster rental in reading can be a good service to model after. When you have to throw something away, you can rest assured that it will at least go to the right place

It’s interesting to think about the difference between my attitude to food waste and Belle’s. A new report from Sainsbury’s actually showed that a lot of the increase in food waste has to do with the change in attitudes between generations. Think about your parents or grandparents, living in the post war era. They wouldn’t have stocked the fridge with dozens of yogurts and raspberries, ‘just in case’, only to throw them away when they got to their use by dates would they? No way.

I haven’t lived in that era, but I have lived through times when money has been tight as a family, and I do attach value to food. Does Belle have that same awareness of the cost involved in producing, transporting, storing and consuming food? Probably not.

According to the Sainsbury’s report, which surveyed 5,000 people, the younger generations are much more likely to have a ‘live to eat’ attitude to food – with food as a pleasurable activity in itself. With this comes higher shopping bills and more food waste. Older generations however are more likely to ‘eat to live’ and have correspondingly lower grocery bills and less waste.

To try to tackle the food waste mountain in the UK, Sainsbury’s has invested £10million into its Waste less, Save more initiative, helping shoppers reduce the amount of food they waste at home. The Waste less, Save more initiative also aims to encourage families to pass down skills and knowledge from generation to generation, so that younger people are better equipped to keep food waste to a minimum.

In a bid then to help get your kids involved in reducing food waste, I’ve come up with 17 super cool food waste hacks designed not just to educate younger family members, but to show them that reducing food waste can actually be fun:

Plan your meals. I know, this is a kind of obvious one that people always tell you, but honestly, if you can plan ahead it makes such a difference as you only buy what you really need. If you can make it a family activity even better – Belle always seems much more inclined to eat things that she has had a hand in choosing.

Freeze excess bananas by laying out slices on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Once they’re frozen you can transfer them to a freezer bag and then use them to make your own banana ice cream. It’s literally the easiest recipe in the whole entire world – simply blend the frozen banana and tada! Super tasty banana ice cream with no nasties.

We’ve tried a couple of different ways to jazz up frozen bananas. The first is banana lollies – cut the bananas in half and freeze them on popsicle sticks. Once they’re hard, dip them in melted chocolate, add toppings like chopped nuts, and return to the freezer. Alternatively, why not use leftover bananas to make these frozen banana and peanut butter treats?

Organise your fridge. If Belle is in the right sort of mood I can get her quite excited about this one. When you’re unpacking new shopping, make sure the food that needs using more quickly is near the front and the food that has a longer life is at the back. You could even leave yourself a note on the front of the fridge as a reminder to use particular foods asap.

On the subject of dates – IGNORE the best before ones! They’re just to let you know that something might lose a bit of flavour or not be quite at it’s best before a certain time, but it’s totally fine to eat. Don’t get my started on dates on fruit and vegetables as it’s just ridiculous. They don’t come out of the ground with dates on do they?! No.

Store things like celery and asparagus in a glass of water. It helps to keep them crisper for longer and is a modern alternative to a vase of flowers. (Not that second bit, but the first part is true.)

When you get to the end of a jar of hot chocolate, turn the leftovers into a delicious drink by filling the jar with warm milk and shaking vigorously. Kids will love this one and it’s a great treat to show off to friends on SnapChat.

Pop an apple in with your potatoes. The apple produces ethlylene gas, which apparently stops the potatoes sprouting as quickly. Be warned though, apples can have the reverse effect on other fruits, causing them to ripen too quickly, so you might want to keep them separately from the other fruit in your fruit bowl.

Add some kitchen roll in with your salad leaves. It will absorb the moisture and help to keep sogginess at bay. Similarly for mushrooms, keeping them in a paper bag will help to absorb the moisture and keep them fresh.

Reducing food waste doesn’t just mean you have to think of ways to eat your leftovers. How about using those squishy bananas to make a face mask? Here are seven different banana face mask recipes you might like to try, each designed for different skin types or issues.

Another beauty tip – keep the water when you boil sweet potatoes as it’s apparently amazing for your skin. Decant it into a suitable container, store it in the fridge and use it as a skin toner. You can also blend leftover sweet potatoes with equal parts oats and yogurt to make a face scrub. Work the mixture into your face for a couple of minutes and rinse off.

Be savvy about school lunches. If your kids are like mine they pretty much never finish an entire lunch, so the key here is to only pack things that won’t spoil. I have been known to put the same apple back into Belle’s lunch box for an entire week. Avoid foods that will need to be binned if they don’t get eaten, like yogurts, cheese and cut fruit.

Did you know you can regrow your own vegetables?? It sounds kind of creepy but actually all you need is a little bit of water to regrow all sorts of things, including lettuce and celery. Simply pop the stump at the bottom into a dish of water and new growth appears from the middle! Read more here about how to regrow 10 different popular foodstuffs.

Store cut avocado with cut onion to stop it going brown in the fridge. Ideal for when you want to create an Instagrammable avocado on toast, which surely is top of every teen’s to do list? Brushing the cut avocado with lemon juice or olive oil works well too.

Master the art of my speciality dish – fridge pasta. It might include random vegetables, soft cheese, a few old tomatoes, half a jar of slightly dried out pesto – whatever you have lying around in the fridge. Soups and stews work well for this too. Top tip – don’t use leftover red cabbage in a pie unless you are comfortable with the concept of an entirely purple pie.

Use stale bread to make croutons. Cut your bread into cubes, spread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper and add any herbs you fancy. Bake them for about ten minutes, shaking half way through. You can use them straight away but they will keep for a few days in an airtight container. Use them to garnish your speciality fridge soup!

Rather than throwing them away, mix leftover coffee grinds with coconut oil to make an anti-cellulite scrub. You might want to add a little sugar for extra exfoliation. This works well as a face scrub too as the coffee stimulates the circulation. (Don’t use on broken or damaged skin.)

What’s your favourite food waste hack? Please leave a comment and share your tips – I’m always looking for new ideas! You can get more ideas and inspiration from the Sainsbury’s Waste less, Save more website.

Mushy, browning fruit may seem to be no good for eating, but it’s actually the best kind of fruit for making desserts. Cut off any blemishes and cook the fruit with a little sugar and lemon juice and you have a great filling for pies, crisps and cobblers. You can also turn those mushy peaches into a peach glaze. Just roast and blend with sweet chili sauce, roasted onion, garlic, salt, pepper and your favorite herb, be it basil or cilantro.

Composting food waste at home

There are many ways to compost at home, and you don’t necessarily need a garden to do it. Broadly speaking, composting and fermentation methods can be split into the following:

Standard Composting

This method piles up layers of waste, killing pathogens and slowly composting organic material. Generally, meat, fish, dairy, and oils are difficult to compost at home, while other materials such as citrus and onion peels may also be problematic. This is because temperatures may not reach the required levels to breakdown such waste in smaller piles, and the potential to attract rodents and other pests may also be an issue. However, this method requires little maintenance and expense to set up in a garden or other outdoor space.


Uses various species of worm to help break down waste. It can be practiced in confined spaces with dedicated vermicomposting bins. Animal-based materials such as meat or dairy may be problematic as they attract rodents, however, vermicomposting can deal with small amounts of these materials, and as long as your bin is safely stowed away, the pest problem shouldn’t be an issue.


Uses effective microorganisms to ferment waste in an anaerobic container. Capable of “composting” all types of waste which can then be used within a soil factory or added to a conventional compost heap where it breaks down more quickly than when using conventional methods. Additionally, this type of “composting” can be practiced indoors, as the sealed containers do not attract pests and do not release odors.

The perfect pie to save on food waste this winter

Featuring golden pastry and a cheesy filling, this homemade pie is not only delicious, but it also helps to reduce food waste by using up all the extra veggies laying around in your fridge crisper.

‘SecondBite’ ambassador, Courtney Roulston cooked up this delicious dish and also spoke about how SecondBite has just launched it’s winter appeal for one million meals.

Watch how to make this cheese and greens pie in the video player above

SecondBite is one of Australia’s largest food rescue organisations, has today launched its Winter Appeal campaign, to raise funds to provide an extra 1 million meals for Australians doing it tough this winter.

With one in five Australians affected by food insecurity (of which one third are children), food insecurity impacts people from all backgrounds and communities including single parents, students, pensioners, low-income households, migrant families and more.

This financial year, SecondBite is on track to divert nearly 21 million kgs of food waste from landfill and provide more than 41 million meals to Australians in need.

Ta-da! The finished product tastes amazing and saves on waste as well Credit: Seven



*This is the perfect pie filling to use up any green vegetables or odd pieces of cheese that you have on hand…The perfect fridge raid/clean-out recipe!


  • 2 sheets store bought shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 300g mixed greens- Silverbeet, Kale, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli
  • 2 green spring onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup dill, chopped
  • 250g fresh ricotta cheese
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 5 free-range eggs, beaten (reserving 1 Tablespoon for brushing)

Cut down on food wastage with this yummy cheese and greens pie Credit: Seven

  1. Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees C.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add in the onion and cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until softened then stir in the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  3. Add in the mixed greens a handful at a time, and once wilted add in another handful until it is all cooked down. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  4. Meanwhile place the two sheets of pastry on top of each other and using a rolling pin, gently roll the pastry into a rectangle, around 3-4mm thick. Place the pastry onto a lined oven tray.
  5. Stir the dill, spring onion, ricotta, feta, half the Parmesan and eggs through the spinach mixture until well combined.
  6. Place the Spinach mixture into the centre of the pastry, leaving a 6cm boarder.
  7. Fold the outside pastry over the side of the pie to form a boarder. Brush the outside pastry with reserved egg and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top of the pie filling.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the pie filling is set. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Courtney recommends serving this pie with a simple salad of cucumbers, olives and tomatoes dressed in dill, lemon, salt and olive oil.


New techniques of food preservation became available to the home chef from the dawn of agriculture until the Industrial Revolution.


The earliest form of curing was dehydration or drying, used as early as 12,000 BC. Smoking and salting techniques improve on the drying process and add antimicrobial agents that aid in preservation. Smoke deposits a number of pyrolysis products onto the food, including the phenols syringol, guaiacol and catechol. [7] Salt accelerates the drying process using osmosis and also inhibits the growth of several common strains of bacteria. More recently nitrites have been used to cure meat, contributing a characteristic pink colour. [8]


Cooling preserves food by slowing down the growth and reproduction of microorganisms and the action of enzymes that causes the food to rot. The introduction of commercial and domestic refrigerators drastically improved the diets of many in the Western world by allowing food such as fresh fruit, salads and dairy products to be stored safely for longer periods, particularly during warm weather.

Before the era of mechanical refrigeration, cooling for food storage occurred in the forms of root cellars and iceboxes. Rural people often did their own ice cutting, whereas town and city dwellers often relied on the ice trade. Today, root cellaring remains popular among people who value various goals, including local food, heirloom crops, traditional home cooking techniques, family farming, frugality, self-sufficiency, organic farming, and others.


Freezing is also one of the most commonly used processes, both commercially and domestically, for preserving a very wide range of foods, including prepared foods that would not have required freezing in their unprepared state. For example, potato waffles are stored in the freezer, but potatoes themselves require only a cool dark place to ensure many months' storage. Cold stores provide large-volume, long-term storage for strategic food stocks held in case of national emergency in many countries.


Boiling liquid food items can kill any existing microbes. Milk and water are often boiled to kill any harmful microbes that may be present in them.


Heating to temperatures which are sufficient to kill microorganisms inside the food is a method used with perpetual stews. Milk is also boiled before storing to kill many microorganisms.


The earliest cultures have used sugar as a preservative, and it was commonplace to store fruit in honey. Similar to pickled foods, sugar cane was brought to Europe through the trade routes. In northern climates without sufficient sun to dry foods, preserves are made by heating the fruit with sugar. [9] "Sugar tends to draw water from the microbes (plasmolysis). This process leaves the microbial cells dehydrated, thus killing them. In this way, the food will remain safe from microbial spoilage." [7] Sugar is used to preserve fruits, either in an antimicrobial syrup with fruit such as apples, pears, peaches, apricots, and plums, or in crystallized form where the preserved material is cooked in sugar to the point of crystallization and the resultant product is then stored dry. This method is used for the skins of citrus fruit (candied peel), angelica, and ginger. Also, sugaring can be used in the production of jam and jelly.


Pickling is a method of preserving food in an edible, antimicrobial liquid. Pickling can be broadly classified into two categories: chemical pickling and fermentation pickling.

In chemical pickling, the food is placed in an edible liquid that inhibits or kills bacteria and other microorganisms. Typical pickling agents include brine (high in salt), vinegar, alcohol, and vegetable oil. Many chemical pickling processes also involve heating or boiling so that the food being preserved becomes saturated with the pickling agent. Common chemically pickled foods include cucumbers, peppers, corned beef, herring, and eggs, as well as mixed vegetables such as piccalilli.

In fermentation pickling, bacteria in the liquid produce organic acids as preservation agents, typically by a process that produces lactic acid through the presence of lactobacillales. Fermented pickles include sauerkraut, nukazuke, kimchi, and surströmming.

Sodium hydroxide (lye) makes food too alkaline for bacterial growth. Lye will saponify fats in the food, which will change its flavor and texture. Lutefisk uses lye in its preparation, as do some olive recipes. Modern recipes for century eggs also call for lye.


Canning involves cooking food, sealing it in sterilized cans or jars, and boiling the containers to kill or weaken any remaining bacteria as a form of sterilization. It was invented by the French confectioner Nicolas Appert. [10] By 1806, this process was used by the French Navy to preserve meat, fruit, vegetables, and even milk. Although Appert had discovered a new way of preservation, it wasn't understood until 1864 when Louis Pasteur found the relationship between microorganisms, food spoilage, and illness. [9]

Foods have varying degrees of natural protection against spoilage and may require that the final step occur in a pressure cooker. High-acid fruits like strawberries require no preservatives to can and only a short boiling cycle, whereas marginal vegetables such as carrots require longer boiling and addition of other acidic elements. Low-acid foods, such as vegetables and meats, require pressure canning. Food preserved by canning or bottling is at immediate risk of spoilage once the can or bottle has been opened.

Lack of quality control in the canning process may allow ingress of water or micro-organisms. Most such failures are rapidly detected as decomposition within the can causes gas production and the can will swell or burst. However, there have been examples of poor manufacture (underprocessing) and poor hygiene allowing contamination of canned food by the obligate anaerobe Clostridium botulinum, which produces an acute toxin within the food, leading to severe illness or death. This organism produces no gas or obvious taste and remains undetected by taste or smell. Its toxin is denatured by cooking, however. Cooked mushrooms, handled poorly and then canned, can support the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, which produces a toxin that is not destroyed by canning or subsequent reheating.


Food may be preserved by cooking in a material that solidifies to form a gel. Such materials include gelatin, agar, maize flour, and arrowroot flour. Some foods naturally form a protein gel when cooked, such as eels and elvers, and sipunculid worms, which are a delicacy in Xiamen, in the Fujian province of the People's Republic of China. Jellied eels are a delicacy in the East End of London, where they are eaten with mashed potatoes. Potted meats in aspic (a gel made from gelatin and clarified meat broth) were a common way of serving meat off-cuts in the UK until the 1950s. Many jugged meats are also jellied. A traditional British way of preserving meat (particularly shrimp) is by setting it in a pot and sealing it with a layer of fat. Also common is potted chicken liver jellying is one of the steps in producing traditional pâtés.

Besides jellying of meat and seafood, a widely known type of Jellying is fruit preserves which are preparations of fruits, vegetables and sugar, often stored in glass jam jars and Mason jars. Many varieties of fruit preserves are made globally, including sweet fruit preserves, such as those made from strawberry or apricot, and savory preserves, such as those made from tomatoes or squash. The ingredients used and how they are prepared determine the type of preserves jams, jellies, and marmalades are all examples of different styles of fruit preserves that vary based upon the fruit used. In English, the word, in plural form, "preserves" is used to describe all types of jams and jellies.


Meat can be preserved by jugging. Jugging is the process of stewing the meat (commonly game or fish) in a covered earthenware jug or casserole. The animal to be jugged is usually cut into pieces, placed into a tightly sealed jug with brine or gravy, and stewed. Red wine and/or the animal's own blood is sometimes added to the cooking liquid. Jugging was a popular method of preserving meat up until the middle of the 20th century.


Burial of food can preserve it due to a variety of factors: lack of light, lack of oxygen, cool temperatures, pH level, or desiccants in the soil. Burial may be combined with other methods such as salting or fermentation. Most foods can be preserved in soil that is very dry and salty (thus a desiccant) such as sand, or soil that is frozen.

Many root vegetables are very resistant to spoilage and require no other preservation than storage in cool dark conditions, for example by burial in the ground, such as in a storage clamp. Century eggs are traditionally created by placing eggs in alkaline mud (or other alkaline substance), resulting in their "inorganic" fermentation through raised pH instead of spoiling. The fermentation preserves them and breaks down some of the complex, less flavorful proteins and fats into simpler, more flavorful ones. Cabbage was traditionally buried during Autumn in northern US farms for preservation. Some methods keep it crispy while other methods produce sauerkraut. [ citation needed ] A similar process is used in the traditional production of kimchi. Sometimes meat is buried under conditions that cause preservation. If buried on hot coals or ashes, the heat can kill pathogens, the dry ash can desiccate, and the earth can block oxygen and further contamination. If buried where the earth is very cold, the earth acts like a refrigerator.

In Orissa, India, it is practical to store rice by burying it underground. This method helps to store for three to six months during the dry season.

Butter and similar substances have been preserved as bog butter in Irish peat bogs for centuries.


Meat can be preserved by salting it, cooking it at or near 100 °C in some kind of fat (such as lard or tallow), and then storing it immersed in the fat. These preparations were popular in Europe before refrigerators became ubiquitous. They are still popular in France, where they are called confit. [11] [12] The preparation will keep longer if stored in a cold cellar or buried in cold ground.


Some foods, such as many cheeses, wines, and beers, use specific micro-organisms that combat spoilage from other less-benign organisms. These micro-organisms keep pathogens in check by creating an environment toxic for themselves and other micro-organisms by producing acid or alcohol. Methods of fermentation include, but are not limited to, starter micro-organisms, salt, hops, controlled (usually cool) temperatures and controlled (usually low) levels of oxygen. These methods are used to create the specific controlled conditions that will support the desirable organisms that produce food fit for human consumption.

Fermentation is the microbial conversion of starch and sugars into alcohol. Not only can fermentation produce alcohol, but it can also be a valuable preservation technique. Fermentation can also make foods more nutritious and palatable. For example, drinking water in the Middle Ages was dangerous because it often contained pathogens that could spread disease. When the water is made into beer, the boiling during the brewing process kills any bacteria in the water that could make people sick. Additionally, the water now has the nutrients from the barley and other ingredients, and the microorganisms can also produce vitamins as they ferment. [9]

Techniques of food preservation were developed in research laboratories for commercial applications.


Pasteurization is a process for preservation of liquid food. It was originally applied to combat the souring of young local wines. Today, the process is mainly applied to dairy products. In this method, milk is heated at about 70 °C (158 °F) for 15–30 seconds to kill the bacteria present in it and cooling it quickly to 10 °C (50 °F) to prevent the remaining bacteria from growing. The milk is then stored in sterilized bottles or pouches in cold places. This method was invented by Louis Pasteur, a French chemist, in 1862.

Vacuum packing

Vacuum-packing stores food in a vacuum environment, usually in an air-tight bag or bottle. The vacuum environment strips bacteria of oxygen needed for survival. Vacuum-packing is commonly used for storing nuts to reduce loss of flavor from oxidization. A major drawback to vacuum packaging, at the consumer level, is that vacuum sealing can deform contents and rob certain foods, such as cheese, of its flavor.

Freeze drying

Artificial food additives

Preservative food additives can be antimicrobial – which inhibit the growth of bacteria or fungi, including mold – or antioxidant, such as oxygen absorbers, which inhibit the oxidation of food constituents. Common antimicrobial preservatives include calcium propionate, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, sulfites (sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite, potassium hydrogen sulfite, etc.), and EDTA. Antioxidants include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Other preservatives include formaldehyde (usually in solution), glutaraldehyde (insecticide), ethanol, and methylchloroisothiazolinone. There is also another approach of impregnating packaging materials (plastic films or other) with antioxidants and antimicrobials, such as butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene, tocopherols, hinokitiol, lysozyme, nisin, natamycin, chitosan, and ε-polylysine. [13] [14]


Irradiation of food [15] is the exposure of food to ionizing radiation. Multiple types of ionizing radiation can be used, including beta particles (high-energy electrons) and gamma rays (emitted from radioactive sources such as cobalt-60 or cesium-137). Irradiation can kill bacteria, molds, and insect pests, reduce the ripening and spoiling of fruits, and at higher doses induce sterility. The technology may be compared to pasteurization it is sometimes called "cold pasteurization", as the product is not heated. Irradiation may allow lower-quality or contaminated foods to be rendered marketable.

National and international expert bodies have declared food irradiation as "wholesome" organizations of the United Nations, such as the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, endorse food irradiation. [16] [17] Consumers may have a negative view of irradiated food based on the misconception that such food is radioactive [18] in fact, irradiated food does not and cannot become radioactive. Activists have also opposed food irradiation for other reasons, for example, arguing that irradiation can be used to sterilize contaminated food without resolving the underlying cause of the contamination. [19] International legislation on whether food may be irradiated or not varies worldwide from no regulation to a full ban. [20]

Approximately 500,000 tons of food items are irradiated per year worldwide in over 40 countries. These are mainly spices and condiments, with an increasing segment of fresh fruit irradiated for fruit fly quarantine. [21] [22]

Pulsed electric field electroporation

Pulsed electric field (PEF) electroporation is a method for processing cells by means of brief pulses of a strong electric field. PEF holds potential as a type of low-temperature alternative pasteurization process for sterilizing food products. In PEF processing, a substance is placed between two electrodes, then the pulsed electric field is applied. The electric field enlarges the pores of the cell membranes, which kills the cells and releases their contents. PEF for food processing is a developing technology still being researched. There have been limited industrial applications of PEF processing for the pasteurization of fruit juices. To date, several PEF treated juices are available on the market in Europe. Furthermore, for several years a juice pasteurization application in the US has used PEF. For cell disintegration purposes especially potato processors show great interest in PEF technology as an efficient alternative for their preheaters. Potato applications are already operational in the US and Canada. There are also commercial PEF potato applications in various countries in Europe, as well as in Australia, India, and China. [23]

Modified atmosphere

Modifying atmosphere is a way to preserve food by operating on the atmosphere around it. Salad crops that are notoriously difficult to preserve are now being packaged in sealed bags with an atmosphere modified to reduce the oxygen (O2) concentration and increase the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. There is concern that, although salad vegetables retain their appearance and texture in such conditions, this method of preservation may not retain nutrients, especially vitamins. There are two methods for preserving grains with carbon dioxide. One method is placing a block of dry ice in the bottom and filling the can with the grain. Another method is purging the container from the bottom by gaseous carbon dioxide from a cylinder or bulk supply vessel.

Carbon dioxide prevents insects and, depending on concentration, mold and oxidation from damaging the grain. Grain stored in this way can remain edible for approximately five years. [24]

Nitrogen gas (N2) at concentrations of 98% or higher is also used effectively to kill insects in the grain through hypoxia. [25] However, carbon dioxide has an advantage in this respect, as it kills organisms through hypercarbia and hypoxia (depending on concentration), but it requires concentrations of above 35%, [26] or so. This makes carbon dioxide preferable for fumigation in situations where a hermetic seal cannot be maintained.

Controlled Atmospheric Storage (CA): "CA storage is a non-chemical process. Oxygen levels in the sealed rooms are reduced, usually by the infusion of nitrogen gas, from the approximate 21 percent in the air we breathe to 1 percent or 2 percent. Temperatures are kept at a constant 0–2 °C (32–36 °F). Humidity is maintained at 95 percent and carbon dioxide levels are also controlled. Exact conditions in the rooms are set according to the apple variety. Researchers develop specific regimens for each variety to achieve the best quality. Computers help keep conditions constant." "Eastern Washington, where most of Washington’s apples are grown, has enough warehouse storage for 181 million boxes of fruit, according to a report done in 1997 by managers for the Washington State Department of Agriculture Plant Services Division. The storage capacity study shows that 67 percent of that space—enough for 121,008,000 boxes of apples—is CA storage." [27]

Air-tight storage of grains (sometimes called hermetic storage) relies on the respiration of grain, insects, and fungi that can modify the enclosed atmosphere sufficiently to control insect pests. This is a method of great antiquity, [28] as well as having modern equivalents. The success of the method relies on having the correct mix of sealing, grain moisture, and temperature. [29]

A patented process uses fuel cells to exhaust and automatically maintain the exhaustion of oxygen in a shipping container, containing, for example, fresh fish. [30]

Nonthermal plasma

This process subjects the surface of food to a "flame" of ionized gas molecules, such as helium or nitrogen. This causes micro-organisms to die off on the surface. [31]

High-pressure food preservation

High-pressure food preservation or pascalization refers to the use of a food preservation technique that makes use of high pressure. "Pressed inside a vessel exerting 70,000 pounds per square inch (480 MPa) or more, food can be processed so that it retains its fresh appearance, flavor, texture and nutrients while disabling harmful microorganisms and slowing spoilage." By 2005, the process was being used for products ranging from orange juice to guacamole to deli meats and widely sold. [32]


Biopreservation is the use of natural or controlled microbiota or antimicrobials as a way of preserving food and extending its shelf life. [33] Beneficial bacteria or the fermentation products produced by these bacteria are used in biopreservation to control spoilage and render pathogens inactive in food. [34] It is a benign ecological approach which is gaining increasing attention. [33]

Of special interest are lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Lactic acid bacteria have antagonistic properties that make them particularly useful as biopreservatives. When LABs compete for nutrients, their metabolites often include active antimicrobials such as lactic acid, acetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and peptide bacteriocins. Some LABs produce the antimicrobial nisin, which is a particularly effective preservative. [35] [36]

These days, LAB bacteriocins are used as an integral part of hurdle technology. Using them in combination with other preservative techniques can effectively control spoilage bacteria and other pathogens, and can inhibit the activities of a wide spectrum of organisms, including inherently resistant Gram-negative bacteria. [33]

Hurdle technology

Hurdle technology is a method of ensuring that pathogens in food products can be eliminated or controlled by combining more than one approach. These approaches can be thought of as "hurdles" the pathogen has to overcome if it is to remain active in the food. The right combination of hurdles can ensure all pathogens are eliminated or rendered harmless in the final product. [37]

Hurdle technology has been defined by Leistner (2000) as an intelligent combination of hurdles that secures the microbial safety and stability as well as the organoleptic and nutritional quality and the economic viability of food products. [38] The organoleptic quality of the food refers to its sensory properties, that is its look, taste, smell, and texture.

Examples of hurdles in a food system are high temperature during processing, low temperature during storage, increasing the acidity, lowering the water activity or redox potential, and the presence of preservatives or biopreservatives. According to the type of pathogens and how risky they are, the intensity of the hurdles can be adjusted individually to meet consumer preferences in an economical way, without sacrificing the safety of the product. [37]

Principal hurdles used for food preservation (after Leistner, 1995) [39] [40]
Parameter Symbol Application
High temperature F Heating
Low temperature T Chilling, freezing
Reduced water activity aw Drying, curing, conserving
Increased acidity pH Acid addition or formation
Reduced redox potential Eh Removal of oxygen or addition of ascorbate
Biopreservatives Competitive flora such as microbial fermentation
Other preservatives Sorbates, sulfites, nitrites

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  3. "Good food for a better future". Sustainable Development Goals Fund. 11 March 2016 . Retrieved 3 November 2020 .
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  5. "Fields of Farmers by Joel Salatin | Chelsea Green Publishing" . Retrieved 3 November 2020 .
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  7. Stacy Simon (26 October 2015). "World Health Organization Says Processed Meat Causes Cancer".
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  9. James Gallagher (26 October 2015). "Processed meats do cause cancer – WHO". BBC.
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  11. "IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat" (PDF) . International Agency for Research on Cancer. 26 October 2015.
  12. ^ ab Msagati, T. (2012). "The Chemistry of Food Additives and Preservatives"
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  14. Nummer, Brian Andress, Elizabeth (June 2015). "Curing and Smoking Meats for Home Food Preservation". National Center for Home Food Preservation.
  15. ^ abc Nummer, B. (2002). "Historical Origins of Food Preservation" (Accessed on 5 May 2014)
  16. ^Nicolas Appert inventeur et humaniste by Jean-Paul Barbier, Paris, 1994 and
  17. ^ Bruce Aidells (2012): The Great Meat Cookbook, page 429. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 632 pages. 9780547241418
  18. ^ Susan Jung (2012): "Truc: confit, a fat-fabulous way to preserve meat". Post Magazine, online article, posted on 2012-11-03, accessed 2019-02-21.
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  20. Yildirim, Selçuk Röcker, Bettina Pettersen, Marit Kvalvåg Nilsen-Nygaard, Julie Ayhan, Zehra Rutkaite, Ramune Radusin, Tanja Suminska, Patrycja Marcos, Begonya Coma, Véronique (January 2018). "Active Packaging Applications for Food: Active packaging applications for food…". Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 17 (1): 165–199. doi: 10.1111/1541-4337.12322 . PMID33350066.
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  22. L. Brody, Aaron Strupinsky, E. P. Kline, Lauri R. (2001). Active Packaging for Food Applications (1 ed.). CRC Press. ISBN9780367397289 .
  23. ^ anon., Food Irradation – A technique for preserving and improving the safety of food, WHO, Geneva, 1991
  24. ^ World Health Organization. Wholesomeness of irradiated food. Geneva, Technical Report Series No. 659, 1981
  25. ^ World Health Organization. High-Dose Irradiation: Wholesomeness of Food Irradiated With Doses Above 10 kGy. Report of a Joint FAO/IAEA/WHO Study Group. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization 1999. WHO Technical Report Series No. 890
  26. ^ Conley, S.T., What do consumers think about irradiated foods, FSIS Food Safety Review (Fall 1992), 11–15
  27. ^ Hauter, W. & Worth, M., Zapped! Irradiation and the Death of Food, Food & Water Watch Press, Washington, DC, 2008
  28. ^NUCLEUS – Food Irradiation ClearancesArchived 26 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^Food irradiation – Position of ADA J Am Diet Assoc. 2000100:246-253Archived 16 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ C.M. Deeley, M. Gao, R. Hunter, D.A.E. Ehlermann, The development of food irradiation in the Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe tutorial presented to the International Meeting on Radiation Processing, Kuala Lumpur, 2006. [permanent dead link]
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  34. Navarro, Shlomo Timlick, Blaine Demianyk, Colin White, Noel (March 2012). "Controlled or Modified Atmospheres" (PDF) . . Retrieved 17 March 2018 .
  35. ^ Annis, P.C. and Dowsett, H.A. 1993. Low oxygen disinfestation of grain: exposure periods needed for high mortality. Proc. International Conference on Controlled Atmosphere and Fumigation. Winnipeg, June 1992, Caspit Press, Jerusalem, pp. 71–83.
  36. ^ Annis, P.C. and Morton, R. 1997. The acute mortality effects of carbon dioxide on various life stages of Sitophilus oryzae. J. Stored Prod.Res. 33. 115–124
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  38. "Controlled Atmospheric Storage (CA) :: Washington State Apple Commission". Archived from the original on 14 March 2012 . Retrieved 8 August 2013 .
  39. ^ Various authors, Session 1: Natural Air-Tight Storage In: Shejbal, J., ed., Controlled Atmosphere Storage of Grains, Elsevier: Amsterdam, 1–33
  40. ^ Annis P.C. and Banks H.J. 1993. Is hermetic storage of grains feasible in modern agricultural systems? In "Pest control and sustainable agriculture" Eds S.A. Corey, D.J. Dall and W.M. Milne. CSIRO, Australia. 479–482
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  42. Laine Welch (18 May 2013). "Laine Welch: Fuel cell technology boosts long-distance fish shipping". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013 . Retrieved 19 May 2013 .
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  45. "High-Pressure Processing Keeps Food Safe". Archived from the original on 2 February 2008 . Retrieved 16 December 2008 . Pressed inside a vessel exerting 70,000 pounds per square inch or more, food can be processed so that it retains its fresh appearance, flavor, texture and nutrients while disabling harmful microorganisms and slowing spoilage.
  46. ^ abc Ananou S, Maqueda M, Martínez-Bueno M and Valdivia E (2007) "Biopreservation, an ecological approach to improve the safety and shelf-life of foods"Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine In: A. Méndez-Vilas (Ed.) Communicating Current Research and Educational Topics and Trends in Applied Microbiology, Formatex. 978-84-611-9423-0.
  47. ^ Yousef AE and Carolyn Carlstrom C (2003) Food microbiology: a laboratory manual Wiley, Page 226. 978-0-471-39105-0.
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  49. ^ Alzamora SM, Tapia MS and López-Malo A (2000) Minimally processed fruits and vegetables: fundamental aspects and applications Springer, p. 266. 978-0-8342-1672-3.
  50. ^ ab Alasalvar C (2010) Seafood Quality, Safety and Health Applications John Wiley and Sons, Page 203. 978-1-4051-8070-2.
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  52. ^ Leistner L (1995) "Principles and applications of hurdle technology" In Gould GW (Ed.) New Methods of Food Preservation, Springer, pp. 1–21. 978-0-8342-1341-8.
  53. ^ Lee S (2004) "Microbial Safety of Pickled Fruits and Vegetables and Hurdle Technology"Archived 1 September 2011 at the Wayback MachineInternet Journal of Food Safety, 4: 21–32.

This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 License statement/permission on Wikimedia Commons. Text taken from The State of Food and Agriculture 2019. Moving forward on food loss and waste reduction, In brief, 24, FAO, FAO. To learn how to add open license text to Wikipedia articles, please see this how-to page. For information on reusing text from Wikipedia, please see the terms of use.

But First, What Is Meal Planning?

Before we go for the deep dive, let’s make sure we’re on the same page here about what meal planning is and what it isn’t.

What it is: Meal planning is asking the what’s for dinner question once for the whole week, instead of every night, and then shopping for and prepping the ingredients before cooking. We believe the simplest way to approach meal planning is with three steps.

  1. Select your dinners and their recipes, if needed.
  2. Shop for ingredients.
  3. Prepare those ingredients.

Start on a Friday: We’re big fans of putting this practice into place over the weekend, kicking off the planning on Friday, shopping on Saturday morning (or night — less people in the stores), and then using an hour or so on Sunday for meal prep.

What it isn’t: The holy grail! There’s so much fanfare about how meal planning can change you’re life that it’s easy to blow its effects out of proportion. And while it does solve so many problems, you’ve got to tailor it to fit your needs (which means you’ve got to be clear on what those are) and give yourself lots of leeway to experiment and find a system that works for you. You’ve also got to make room for pizza night — we feel very strongly about pizza night!

Other Things Meal Planning Is Not

  • A big tabbed binder with a full month of meals: Write it in your planner, on a paper you stick to the front of the fridge, in a Google doc, or on a whiteboard you hang in the kitchen. Just put it somewhere you’re going to see it.
  • Entirely home cooked: We’re big, big fans of planning for takeout, pizza night, and leftovers.
  • Just for families of four: Meal planning is for everyone. But there are different strategies to employ depending on the number of people you’re planning for. If you’re flying solo, these tips for meal planning for one are helpful.
  • Expensive: When done well, this practice will save you money. Promise!
  • A lot of work: Not true. You do a bit of concentrated work up front, but it’s smooth sailing once you begin to work your plan.
  • Inflexible: There’s so much room for experimentation, quick revisions, and customization in meal planning. It’s not set in stone.

Post-Surgery Food Recipes?

To help you get on your feet as soon as possible, we have prepared for you two easy recipes you can make under ten minutes. No hassle, just amazing, delicious results.

Protein Smoothie

Protein smoothies are excellent post-surgery food because they can serve as a substitute for food if you don’t have an appetite. Not only that, they are easy to make and customize – you can adjust the protein smoothie to taste just as you want it.

A good protein smoothie consists of:
● Some liquid ingredients. You can choose between water, plan-based mil, yogurt, or kefir.
● Proteins that are in the form of nuts (like cashews). If you are not a big fan of nuts, try to a protein powder instead.
● Carbs and fats. Don’t forget that you can get carbs from fruits, especially the delicious bananas. When it comes to fat, be sure to include coconut oil or avocado.
● Fibers. For an option for fiber-rich food, we advise you to include chia seeds. These seeds contain a lot of vitamins and minerals.
● If you feel like something is missing in the flavor of this smoothie, you can always add cinnamon and cocoa powder (just a little bit).

So, how many slices or pieces of fruits and nuts should you include in this smoothie? Well, we would say as much as you like. Find what works best for you and mix the ingredients just the way you want it. Eating post-surgery food can be a bit annoying, so eating tasty and healthy meals can help you enjoy the process of eating. Who knows, maybe this type of smoothie will raise your appetite level?

Spring Salmon

According to, one of the easiest meals you can make is to salmon with veggies on the side. If you are hungry but don’t feel like getting out of the bed and spending an hour around your stove cooking a meal, then salmon with a few spring vegetables is the way to go.

For this recipe, you will need:
● One salmon fillet.
● Zucchini, squash, onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Our advice is to add vegetables you like you can use paprika or some other.
● Olive oil.
● Spices like salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and whichever one is your favorite.

So, how to prepare it? Preheat the oven on 400 degrees and while the oven is getting hotter, slice all vegetables (the way you like it) and a salmon. Put all the ingredients in aluminum foil and then add olive oil and spices. Before putting the dish into the oven, wrap sides of foil inward to cover the meal. This dish should be baked for about 25-30 minutes.

As you can see, you can prepare spring salmon in just about 10 minutes. This is an easy meal that is both marvelous and nutritive.

Watch the video: What can we do about food waste? Fresh facts for restaurant, catering and hospitality staff (July 2022).


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