The truth

A major problem with food is that it spoils relatively quickly at room temperatures. We can detect when food begins to spoil at these temperatures if we observe the food starting to rot, becoming sour, or moldy. Remaining at such temperatures for a long time creates a favorable environment for the growth of taintingand / or pathogenic microorganisms.

To preserve food for a long time, so that people do not starve during periods when it may have been scarce, special methods had to be used, such as drying, salting (pickling), smoking, etc. A diet based on such foods is life-sustaining, but it is also monotonous. At the time up-and-coming French soldier Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) realized the importance of proper nutrition for an army facing all of Europe and offered a prize of twelve thousand francs to anyone who would find a way to preserve food for a long time. French inventor Nicolas-François Appert (1750-1841) began working on this problem in 1795. He knew what Spallanzani in 1768 had proven with his experiments; namely, that meat does not spoil if it is boiled for a long time and then sealed in containers. Thus, Appert developed a system for applying this method on a larger scale, by boiling meat and vegetables for a long time and then sealing them in glass or metal containers.

The process of heat treatment in airtight containers destroys all tainting and pathogenic microorganisms and sustains the product for a long time at room temperature, without the need of preservatives, high amounts of salt, or other substances.

European food law defines preservatives as the substances which extend the shelf life of food, protect it from spoiling, which can be caused by microorganisms, and / or protect food from the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. For the canned fish product category, Greek and European legislation prohibits the use of preservatives.