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Chapter 1

Principles of Green Food Processing (Including Lifecycle Assessment and Carbon Footprint)

We introduce green processing in the food manufacturing sector with an emphasis on sustainability assessment. We describe the systems approach of lifecycle assessment as a tool for evaluating environmental sustainability of processes or products. We briefly discuss other approaches for evaluating the triple bottom line of sustainability, known as lifecycle sustainability assessment, where the environmental, economic and social benefits and costs of food production, manufacturing and consumption are accounted for. A case study of the carbon footprint of fluid milk processing shows that even among modern production facilities, a wide variation in the carbon footprint exists, in addition to significant variations in the relative contributions of different operations within the manufacturing facility. Assessing the sustainability of food processing necessarily includes an assumed compliance with all regulatory and food safety requirements in addition to providing nutritional information. We discuss some current and emerging technologies that meet these requirements, providing brief descriptions highlighting their potential sustainability benefits. Finally, we discuss future directions for the incorporation of new (from the perspective of lifecycle assessment) impact assessment metrics – specifically, an accounting of the burden of food-borne illness and the effects of diet on human health.

Print publication date: 31 Jan 2018
Copyright year: 2018
Print ISBN: 978-1-78262-518-6
PDF eISBN: 978-1-78262-659-6
ePub eISBN: 978-1-78801-403-8
From the book series:
Green Chemistry Series