ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Working in nutrition, I must say that I am in favor of food processing. I can see that preservation of foods offers us a safe, year-round supply of nutritious choices.
When working with clients to achieve their nutrition needs, however, I have found that people have differing viewpoints in their acceptance of food processing. In part, I have learned that clients vary in their working definitions of the term “processed.”
According to the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee, a processed food is “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity …” Processed foods include any that have undergone one or more mechanical or chemical operations to change or preserve them. Just think of the wide spectrum of alterations that could be done to a given food product!
The nonprofit International Food Information Council (IFIC) has developed a set of definitions for processed foods, outlining a continuum of operations. The categories and some examples are: