By definition, processed foods are those that are altered from its natural state by applying a certain step to be able to produce a variant out of that natural food. With meat for example, the pork undergoes certain processes such as slicing, marinating, smoking and freezing for it to be able to be made into a sausage or Spanish chorizo or as Filipino’s calls it Longganisa (skinless longganisa, tocino, etc.). One of the reasons for food processing is also to lengthen its shelf life by adding certain spices and ingredients. This is where the effects of food processing come in. Sometimes, too much content of spices and chemicals causes a negative reaction in one’s body. Some studies even show that processed food may cause certain diseases especially with too much consumption.
However, not all processed meat products are the same. That is why it is important for all consumers to examine well the product through its packaging. Most producers of processed meat products now adhere to certain quality standards that are being managed by government agencies and private institutions. Producers of processed meat are given licenses only if they follow these set standards by the respective agencies. Some examples of these standards are Good Manufacturing Practice or GMP, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points or HACCP, and ISO 2001 that pertains to Quality Management Systems, among others. These standards focus both on the ingredients, the processing methods and facilities used to be able to produce a certain product. Processed meat establishments are regularly monitored usually every six months if they follow the prescribed standards for food processing. If the producers do not comply, their licenses and permits will not be granted or renewed.
Therefore, establishments that are licensed with the quality standards usually produce foods that are safe to eat. In fact, some producers do not even use preservatives or nitrites which are the usual cause of diseases due to processed foods. That is why most products should be kept frozen to be able to preserve its quality. The packaging will tell the consumers whether the product is of quality or not. The price can also be a consideration for determining quality. Some consumers think that a lesser price is already a good deal only to know that the product with the lesser price does not conform to the quality standards.
Various kinds of processed meats are now available in the market worldwide. There is a growing consumer base for these kind of foods because most of them are easy to cook and prepare, and convenient to be packed for kids to bring to their schools. Examples of processed foods are hams, sausages, Spanish chorizos, bacon, tocino or sweetened pork, burger patties and a lot more. Each country have their own distinct taste based on their culture.
Nowadays, the competition in the processed meat industry are becoming more and more challenging due to the widening variety of the products made and the stiffening competition in terms of adhering to standards. Hence, the processed meat producers are challenged to do more, innovate and incorporate ways to improve their products to be able to do well in the market. This is the bright future that awaits the processed meat industry. Constantly improving and innovating for the good health of everyone.