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Food processing
processed food Even if you buy flour to make your own bread, that flour is processed. First the wheat grains get ground up in a mill and then different parts, like the brown outside of the seed, get separated. Then, if you donít make your own bread (hardly anyone does this anymore), the flour is mixed with other ingredients and baked in an oven to make the loaf you buy in the shop. Thatís an example of simple food processing. Almost every food you buy in a packet, box or tub is processed in some way. This is where some problems can start.

Most of the food you eat will have been processed in a factory in some way.
factory food production lineA fresh orange is not processed Ė though unless you eat the peel too (ugh!) you will process it yourself by peeling the skin off.† Food processing used to be done at home but now, people have become rather lazy Ė or just too busy - and prefer to have someone else do it so they can buy and eat right away. This adds to the cost.† How many of the foods you eat come from factories, do you think?

processed or natural?
Here are some examples of foods made† - processed Ė in factories:

Milk (which is a food) usually gets put in packages after being heated to kill any bugs (pasteurised). Then itís cooled and taken in big trucks to supermarkets and shops. Milk can be made into cheese too. Skimmed milk has the cream taken off to be sold separately as cream or butter. Some milk gets made into yoghurt
Snack foods like chips. There are hundreds. Most of them are made from potatoes, corn (maize) or other grains with added salt, sugar and fat which makes them taste good
Tinned, frozen or dried (dehydrated) food
Breads, biscuits, crackers
Soda drinks (pop, fizzy) like cola and fruit flavours. Some of these really are foods because they contain nutrients like sugar
Meat Ė animals are killed in special factories called abattoirs (slaughter houses). Almost every scrap of them is used for something. For example, their skins become leather for clothing and shoes, and other stuff that nobody would much like the look of gets made into sausages and pie fillings
Sugar. This is made from crushing either sugar beet or sugar cane
Spreads

And so on. Iíve only mentioned a few of the main sorts of processed food. How many more can you think of?

TIP: Everything is processed if itís not fresh. Foods you buy in sealed packages like cans are processed.

Try my first quiz: do you know which foods are processed?

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