Food Preservation

Essay by FadsCollege, UndergraduateB+, December 1996

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Throughout the history of mankind science has searched into the realms of the unknown. Along with it bringing new discoveries, allowing for our lives to become healthier, more efficient, safer, and at the same time, possibly more dangerous. Among the forces driving scientists into these many experiments, is the desire to preserve the one fuel that keeps our lives going; FOOD.

As early as the beginning of the 19th century, major breakthroughs in food preservation had begun. Soldiers and seamen, fighting in Napoleons army were living off of salt-preserved meats. These poorly cured foods provided minimal nutritional value, and frequent outbreaks of scurvy were developing. It was Napoleon who began the search for a better mechanism of food preservation, and it was he who offered 12,000-franc pieces to the person who devised a safe and dependable food-preservation process.

The winner was a French chemist named Nicolas Appert. He observed that food heated in sealed containers was preserved as long as the container remained unopened or the seal did not leak.

This became the turning point in food preservation history. Fifty years following the discovery by Nicolas Appert, another breakthrough had developed. Another Frenchman, named Louis Pasteur, noted the relationship between microorganisms and food spoilage. This breakthrough increased the dependability of the food canning process. As the years passed new techniques assuring food preservation would come and go, opening new

doors to further research.


Farmers grow fruits and vegetables and fatten livestock. The fruits and vegetables are harvested, and the livestock is slaughtered for food. What happens between the time food leaves the farm and the time it is eaten at the table? Like all living things, the plants and animals that become food contain tiny organisms called microorganisms. Living, healthy plants and animals automatically control most...