Definition of Processed Meat

History of Processed Meat

Meat preservation was the primary reason processed meat was developed centuries ago. Extended shelf life is still a major asset of processed meat. Such products are popular now because they fit into today's busy lifestyle. They are easy to prepare, with little waste and provide controlled portion sizes. Processed meat is also flavorful and provides variety to the diet.

Historical evidence suggests that sausage was made and eaten by the Babylonians some 3500 years ago, and the ancient Chinese also made sausage. The earliest recorded reference to sausage was in Homer's Odyssey, written in the ninth century B.C. Sausage making gained popularity during the Roman and Christian eras, and by the middle Ages was popular throughout Europe. Local climate and availability of raw materials had a great deal to do with the type of products that were produced.

Processed meat products have been favorite foods of U.S. citizens since Colonial times. In 1987, over 17.1 billion pounds of processed meat products, cold cuts, sausages, bacon and hams, were produced in the U.S. In that same year approximately 2100 federally inspected processors produced 5.1 billions pounds of sausage.

Source: Lessons on Meat

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