Paul Adams crinkles his nose:
For food to survive on a shelf for a year, it has to be free of nearly all microbes, and the most common FDA-approved method of ensuring that is fairly primitive. In fact, it is the same sterilization technique that Napoleon’s army used in 1810: Kill all the pathogens by heating food to 250°F in a pressurized vessel called a retort. Hormel Compleats Beef Tips, as a result, taste a bit like canned dog food smells.
Newer methods of food sterilization are in production:
In France, the food manufacturer Knorr just introduced the first line of boxed soups that are sterilized with electric current—a more efficient approach that leaves the vegetables in the potage more firm and flavorful than a retort can. But new approaches like these, despite their advantages, take decades to make their way into the entrenched and conservative food industry. For now, convenience comes with a cost.