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Proper treatment of food processing wastes, including the recovery of valuable products, is important both environmentally and economically to the food processing industry. For this industry, as for many others, environmental regulations and disposal costs for waste/wastewater are two major forces driving the use of alternative treatment technologies that will recover valuable products from waste streams and recycle water effectively.

The quantity and quality of wastes and wastewaters generated in the food industry vary widely. Depending on the operations and the products, wastes can amount to over 50% of the raw materials on a weight basis (Zaror, 1992). The characteristics of a specific waste depend mainly on the product being processed, the processing methods and the amount of water used to wash raw materials and clean equipment. Segregating waste streams at the source will facilitate resource recovery and reduce the amount of waste that has to be treated (Zaror, 1992). This often results in simpler operations, less energy consumption and lower treatment costs. One simple but effective segregation practice is to separate liquid streams from solid streams.

This chapter reviews both the theoretical basics and practical applications of different separation technologies. The suitability of each for specific food processing wastes and wastewaters is discussed, and the quality and final uses of the products recovered through separation are presented.

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