Frozen food products are experiencing significant market share in recent times and this increasing demand is largely influenced by socio-economic changes and technological developments in the food industry. These are ready to use foods, especially demanding in urban and city lifestyles.
The underlying concept of frozen foods is based on inhibiting or preventing the growth of microorganisms in food and thus reducing the biological and chemical activities as much as possible. The desirable temperature for freezing of foods is –180C.
Freezing of foods is an important preservation method adopted to retain the quality and improve the shelf life of foods. One of the major advantages of frozen foods is the convenience and ease they offer while utilizing the products. It is an efficient method for food preservation with minimal effect on food quality when compared to thermal processing techniques. Frozen foods retain their minerals and vitamins and the carbohydrate, fat and protein content almost remain stable.
Nutritional values are well maintained as chemical and biological activities will be hindered.
In case there are significant amounts of microbes in the food product before being subjected to freezing, then the shelf life of the product will be adversely affected. Proper conditions should be maintained for thawing, which plays a central role in efficient consumption of frozen food. If these parameters are not handled properly, it affects the shelf life, quality and safety of these food products.
Stability of frozen foods is related to the composition of the food as well as temperature and packaging conditions. In order to overcome problems that come with frozen foods, careful control of the initial load of microbes in the food is important. Rapid freezing aids to minimal structural changes. Frozen foods can be best maintained when stored at –18°C (0°F) or lower. If the temperature rises above –18°C, food can become discoloured and lose vitamin and mineral content.
Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act 1955 is controlling overall food manufacturing in India. Frozen foods do not have any specific labelling requirements and are described as normal food in rule 32 to 36 in PFA act.
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