For Employers CFS helps turn your talent strategies into positive business results. Renew Your CFS. To help consumers make informed decisions about the food they eat, IFT has developed IFT Food Facts to provide consumers with news they can use in their daily lives. What is Food Science? Food science is the study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food; the causes of food deterioration; and the concepts underlying food processing. Food scientists and technologists apply scientific disciplines including chemistry, engineering, microbiology, and nutrition to the study of food to improve the safety, nutrition, wholesomeness and availability of food.
What is Food Technology? Food technology is the application of food science to the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution, and use of safe food. Related fields include analytical chemistry, biotechnology, engineering, nutrition, quality control, and food safety management. What is Food Processing and Manufacturing?
Food processing is the treatment of food substances by changing their properties to preserve it, improve its quality or make it functionally more useful. Food processors take raw animal, vegetable, or marine materials and transform them into edible products through the application of labor, machinery, energy, and scientific knowledge. Chemical, biological, and mechanical processes are used to convert relatively bulky, perishable, and typically inedible food materials into shelf-stable, convenient, and palatable foods and beverages.
Food processing is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the United States. According to the FDA, there are approximately 44, food processors and , food warehouses in the U. The processors include canners, producers, wineries, and other food and beverage manufacturers and distributors. There are more than 1. What is Food Research? What is Product Development? What is Quality Assurance and Quality Control?
What is Food Regulation? Pasteurized milk is probably the best example, but many other foods and beverages are also pasteurized and then refrigerated. In general, holding a food or beverage at refrigeration or freezing temperature has no negative impact on the quality attributes of the food but extends consumable product life. Lower temperatures cause the liquid water to change phase to ice. It is not unusual for frozen fruits, vegetables, and some meat products to maintain high quality for as much as 1 y while frozen.
Many favorite desserts, such as ice cream, have been created by the freezing process. Most nutrients are not affected by freezing; however, it is difficult to freeze a food product without impact on the some of its more evident quality attributes. The formation of ice crystals within the structure of a plant or animal food results in a series of reactions with potential impact on texture and flavor. Thus, careful control of the time to freeze the product and the temperature of the frozen product during distribution and storage is important to minimize such reactions and ensure the best possible quality attributes over time Erickson and Hung The size of ice crystals created during the freezing process can be controlled, but this is not possible with all products or freezing facilities.
For example, small pieces of fruits or vegetables can be frozen very rapidly, and the product structure is preserved with uniform distribution of small ice crystals. The extent of the impact on product quality depends on an array of factors occurring after freezing, including control of temperature during storage and distribution and final preparation of the food. For many foods, the quality attributes of refrigerated and frozen foods compare favorably to those of the fresh counterparts Mallet Drying is intended to halt or slow the growth of microorganisms and rate of chemical reactions.
The removal of water provides food processors excellent opportunities to reduce volume and weight, extend shelf life, and convert liquids to powdery products, such as instant coffee or a vegetable soup base mix. This process is one of the oldest techniques used to preserve foods, one of the most utilized, and the most energy intensive von Loesecke ; Saravacos ; King ; Thijssen Water removal is usually performed via evaporation, vaporization, or sublimation drying while frozen by means of a simultaneous heat, mass, and momentum transfer mechanism Whitaker This transfer occurs within the food itself and between the food and the drying medium, resulting in the reduction of moisture, a key variable in all drying operations.
In addition, loss of volatile compounds, gelatinization of starches, and modification of food material structure change the characteristics of the original product significantly Viollaz and Alzamora Many types of dryers, dehydration methods, and associated equipment are applied to a very wide range of foods. Sun drying on trays, mats, or platforms is the traditional method and is still used today. Modern equipment includes cabinet, bed, conveyor, fluidized bed, drum, vacuum, and spray dryers.
With continuous technological advances in different fields, drying is constantly evolving to offer better quality and novel products. Mathematical modeling and process simulation have significantly contributed to the understanding of the intricacies of this very complex process and the design of new dryers and drying systems. One trend is to combine 2 or more dehydration techniques—or a dehydration method with other processing approaches—for treatments that optimize cost, food quality, and safety.
Raw foods and beverages vary significantly in levels of acid they contain. Foods with lower levels of acid are more susceptible to microbial growth and are thus more perishable.
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The intentional adjustment in the level of acid in a food has been a preservation method for centuries, in making pickles, for example. This approach to preservation is based on the inability of many spoilage microorganisms and pathogens to grow at high levels of acid. Increasing the acidity prevents growth of many microorganisms and extends the shelf life of the product, while maintaining many of its attributes. This preservation method can be accomplished by addition of acid to adjust the overall acidity level of the product, or biologically through fermentation.
Since acid alone may not be sufficient to fully protect the product, adjustments in acidity are frequently used in combination with other techniques such as heat, additives, or refrigeration to accomplish preservation and safety. Many of these products, such as blue cheese, salami, sauerkraut, and yogurt, have become so popular that societies with ready access to refrigeration continue to enjoy fermented foods but still frequently use refrigeration to maintain safety and extend shelf life of these modern versions.
Although some microorganisms lead to food spoilage and others cause food poisoning, specific microorganisms that can induce desirable changes in foods are used to overpower those that can lead to unappealing or unsafe foods. Fermentation microorganisms primarily work to change the chemical makeup of a product, making it less likely that undesirable microorganisms will reproduce and compromise product safety or quality. Beneficial microorganisms synthesize natural preservatives, such as lactic acid and other acids increasing the acidity of the food , carbon dioxide lowering the oxygen content , and ethanol discouraging growth of undesirable microorganisms.
Yeasts produce carbon dioxide to expand the structure, such as dough for bread baking.
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They are also responsible for the production of ethanol to produce beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. Fermented dairy products include yogurt and a host of ripened cheeses. Fermented cucumbers are called pickles in Western countries, but pickling is another word for fermenting and is used to produce pickled eggs, pig's feet, and even snakes in certain countries. Many countries and cultures have their own favorite types of fermented products, such as injera from Ethiopia, kimchi fermented cabbage from Korea, salami and other fermented sausages from Italy and Germany, and sauerkraut from northern Europe.
Harvested cacao beans are fermented before cleaning and roasting, making all chocolate products the result of at least one fermentation step. A very important and useful tool in the control of food quality attributes and food safety is water activity a W. Defined as an equilibrium property free energy of water at a given temperature and moisture content, the concept of a W was first suggested in the s when it became obvious that water content could not adequately account for microbial growth limitations.
During the s, researchers demonstrated that a W is also important in controlling the rates of chemical deterioration in foods, and then in the s it was also found to relate to the texture of crisp dry foods and caking of powders such as instant coffee. Through the research of hundreds of food scientists, a number of a W paradigms have been established and used by food manufacturers to create safe, tasty, and nutritious dry and semimoist foods such as crispy snacks and breakfast cereals, semimoist cookies, and creamy confections.
For example, it is known that at a W values between about 0. In fact, the concept of a W is used in regulation of food processing to ensure food safety. Figure 2 depicts the water content and a W of a few common foods. Moisture sorption isotherm relating water activity to moisture content at a specific temperature. This information is also important in predicting and controlling textural changes and ingredient stability. Foods such as dry mixes, nuts, and dehydrated foods rely on control of a W for preventing the growth of microorganisms. Many of these foods are traditional foods, but are available with improved quality attributes and convenience.
Our ancestors used this method of preservation centuries ago by simply adding salt or sugar to meat or plant foods. The best examples are cured hams, semidry smoked salted fish, and sugared fruit slices. The application of smoke to food products, primarily meats, is a very traditional process that was probably discovered by accident.
It has been speculated that when ancient cave dwellers learned to cook food over open fires, it quickly became obvious to them that the smoke from the fire helped reduce the spoilage of perishable food products such as meat and also imparted a very distinctive, desirable flavor. Over time, the smoke process was expanded to include not only meat, fish, and poultry but also, more recently, sausage products, ham, bacon, cheeses, and many other foods for which a unique smoked flavor and increased shelf life are desired.
Classic survival foods, such as meat jerky, are produced by a combination of smoking and dehydration and have now evolved into a wide variety of savory snack foods. The smoke application process has evolved dramatically from open campfires to a highly controlled, scientific process, but the benefits have remained the same. Smoke achieves 4 different functions when applied to food, all of which contribute to safer, more palatable products:. Food safety. Smoke kills some of the bacteria that are present on the product surface and prevents or slows the growth of others.
While this has been one of the most important roles of smoke for food preservation in the past, this effect is less critical today because several other antimicrobial processes are available. Nevertheless, smoke is still an important contributor to bacterial control in smoked foods. The antibacterial effect of smoke is due to several components of wood smoke, specifically acids and alcohol, which are formed during combustion of wood and deposited on the product surface. Furthermore, most smoke processes are done with application of heat at the same time, and the combination of smoke with mild heating increases the control of both spoilage and pathogenic bacteria.
Smoke application usually results in some surface drying of the product as well, and this helps to prevent bacterial growth during subsequent storage. Quality—flavor and aroma. Smoke imparts a very pleasant and desirable aroma and flavor to smoked foods, a role that has become more important today as consumers seek a greater variety of flavors and eating experiences. Wood smoke can be derived from a variety of wood sources, including hickory, apple, mesquite, and others, to add to the variety of flavors that can be achieved. Quality—visual appeal. Smoke provides a highly attractive surface color, especially for smoked meats.
The deep, rich mahogany color of a smoked ham is easily recognized by consumers and communicates assurance that the associated aroma and flavor expected of a smoked ham will be delivered. Smoke functions as an antioxidant or flavor protector. Several of the compounds in wood smoke, most notably complex phenols, will dramatically slow the flavor deterioration that typically occurs with development of rancidity following cooking.
Despite the advantages, 3 criticisms have occasionally been leveled at the use of smoke for food preservation. First is that atmospheric emissions result from combustion of wood to generate smoke. Second is that it degrades some food nutrients; this has been demonstrated to be of very minor importance—smoke has been shown to not significantly alter the nutrient value of food under normal circumstances.
Liquid smoke contains all of the important functional components of natural smoke and results in the same effects on color, flavor, and bacterial control, but it is much more consistent in composition than natural smoke and therefore more reproducible in effect. These application methods result in surface deposition of smoke components with product effects that are very similar to those produced by the surface application of natural smoke. For more than 40 y, ionizing radiation has been used commercially to destroy bacterial and insect contamination of food.
Elaborate physical safeguards assure worker safety. Irradiation also may be applied to eliminate insects in a wide variety of foods, for example, flour, spices, fruits, vegetables, and grains IFT , to prevent seeds from sprouting, and to control pathogens in fresh shell eggs, seeds for sprouting, fresh or frozen molluscan shellfish for example, oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops , and fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach Morehouse and Komolprasert , FDA Low doses permit fruit to be harvested when ripe or nearly so, thus increasing nutritional and flavor quality, while still extending shelf life well beyond that of nonirradiated produce.
Irradiation works by damaging the DNA of living organisms; the targets are typically bacteria and insects, but the DNA of the plant or animal food is of course also affected. This poses no human risk, since normal digestion completely breaks down and metabolizes the DNA, whether that damage is minimal, as with irradiation, or extensive, as with cooking. Irradiated foods must be labeled as such 21 CFR Irradiation is also used at high doses and in far higher volume to sterilize joint implants, bandages, sutures, drugs, cosmetics, and wine and bottle corks Crawford and Ruff ; UW Food Irradiation Education Group The effects of irradiation on nutritional quality vary depending on nutrient, food, and irradiation conditions for example, dosage, temperature, and atmospheric conditions.
Nutrient losses are similar to those occurring with heat and other processes IFT Thiamin vitamin B1 is sensitive to irradiation, but loss can be minimized with packaging techniques Thayer ; Fox and others , Irradiation does not in any way replace existing procedures for safe handling of food. Instead, it is a tool to achieve what normal safe handling cannot CDC Because of the usefulness of irradiation in dealing with microbial risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities have endorsed its use CDC The same conclusions on safety and effectiveness have been reached by international agencies WHO ; Morehouse and Komolprasert Although regulations of irradiation of food vary from country to country, regulations in several countries have been or are being harmonized through compliance with the Codex General Standard Morehouse and Komolprasert In the United States, food irradiation is regulated as a food additive, because in the Food Additives Amendment of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of Congress defined radiation sources as food additives.
Foods made sterile by irradiation to inactivate bacterial spores at the highest doses have been fed for years to patients with reduced immunity and to astronauts CDC ; UW Food Irradiation Education Group Consumer concern over the safety of irradiated food was initially high, in part because of the misconceptions that come with the introduction of any new technology.
Arguments against irradiation are similar to those voiced against pasteurization of milk, when it was introduced y ago UW Food Irradiation Education Group Concern still exists but has gradually declined as information on irradiation and its advantages have become more widely known Conley ; Bruhn ; Morehouse and Komolprasert ; IFIC The world volume of irradiated food is estimated to exceed tons annually, with the largest increase occurring in Asia Kume and others The food industry has been slow to adopt food irradiation in the more developed nations because of the large capital investment required; there is little incentive to invest in irradiation equipment because of funds already allocated for refrigeration, canning, and other major processes.
Some argue that this is where the need for irradiation is greatest and the ability to afford it is the lowest. In the United States, irradiation could reduce E. This process pushes a material through a specially engineered opening to give a desired shape and texture through increases in temperature, pressure, and shear forces.
The pushing force is applied by using either a piston or a screw. In food applications, screw extrusion is predominant. Examples of traditional extruded foods are pasta, noodles, vermicelli, and breakfast cereals. Extrusion is also used to create flavors and encapsulate them for heat stability in processing.
Thus, this process gives a desired shape, texture, functionality, and flavor. Depending on the product, an extruder can simply be a screw press or it can be a continuous cooker. In the case of a screw press, the product is usually further processed extensively, such as by frying, baking, flaking, coating, or drying, as in the extrusion process to produce cornflakes.
Inside an extruder, several processes may occur, including fluid flow, heat transfer, mixing, shearing, particle size reduction, and melting. In pasta manufacturing, for example, the main objective of the extrusion process is to partially gelatinize starch, compact the dough, and give it the desired shape. In the case of chocolate manufacturing, however, the extruder is used as a reactor to generate key flavor attributes. And, in the case of flat bread, an extruder is used to develop the desired expanded and porous structure. A combination of higher temperature and shorter time is desirable because it retains nutrients better than a combination of lower temperature and longer time.
Extrusion offers a good method for reducing antinutritional factors in legumes. For example, in peas, extrusion has been found to be more effective than germination for reducing tannins, polyphenols, and trypsin inhibitors. Extruders have been used as bioreactors for pretreatment of cereal grains for subsequent ethanol fermentation, enzymatic conversion of starch to glucose and maltose, and sterilization of ground spices such as black pepper, white pepper, and paprika.
Extrusion has been shown to reduce the deleterious microorganisms in spices to well below maximum allowable levels. Extrusion is an environmentally friendly process that uses heat and power efficiently and does not produce effluents. In addition, the same equipment can be used to make a variety of products. Extruded products are safe to consume, with no known harmful effects. The shelf life of many fresh foods has been extended by controlling the composition of the gas environment in direct contact with the product. For products with shelf life limited by chemical or enzymatic reactions involving oxygen, reducing or eliminating the oxygen content of the environment provides significant extension of the product shelf life Floros The shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables is extended by controlling both the oxygen and carbon dioxide composition of the atmosphere surrounding the products, which are still actively undergoing respiration and continue to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide.
The modification of product atmosphere must be approached with caution, because of the response of certain microbial populations. Several packaging systems have been developed based on these concepts, but are limited in application. Food additives are adjuncts to food processing. They extend the range and flexibility of the relatively few food processes available, and they improve the economics of the processes.
Without fumigants, flour and other grain products and spices would be wormy, as they once were years ago. Without fortification of milk and flour and the addition of iodine in the form of iodate to salt, rickets and goiter would still occur. Without artificial colors, many foods, such as gelatin, would be unattractive because natural colors lack the stability and coloring power of the synthetics. Without nonnutritive sweeteners, a great many sweetened beverages, desserts, and confections would have unacceptable calorie contents or contain levels of sugar that cannot be consumed by certain individuals, such as people with diabetes and many others.
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Anticaking agents, enzymes, preservatives, emulsifiers which allow immiscible liquids such as oil and water to form a stable mixture , humectants which affect moisture retention through their affinity to water and stabilizing action on water content , and many other additives add significantly to the safety, nutritive value, attractiveness, convenience, and economy of our modern food supply. Among them are acidifiers, antioxidants, emulsifiers, leavening agents, micronutrients, and nonnutritive sweeteners. Figure 3 displays the distribution of additives in use during the recent decade, ranked by per capita annual consumption in the United States food supply.
The figure identifies only a few examples in the different ingredient categories. The graph shows use , the amount that disappears into the food supply. Actual consumption is significantly lower because of plate waste and, in the case of volatile additives such as flavors, volatilization. Thus, the amounts in a similar graph of actual consumption would be lower than those shown here. The per capita consumption of a heavily used substance, such as a nutritive sweetener, frequently exceeds the per capita consumption of an ingredient in a much less used category.
For example, a flavoring ingredient that because of its potency is used at very low levels will have a per capita consumption much lower than almost all other ingredients added to food. Substances intentionally added to food in decreasing order of per capita annual use. Many different types of food packages are used for several different reasons. Food is packaged primarily to contain the product, protect the product from contamination, enable convenience, and provide information Paine ; Robertson ; Yam and others ; IFT Most food products are delivered to the consumer in some type of package.
Foods that have received some type of preservation process are placed in a package to ensure that the product attributes enhanced by the process are maintained. Even fresh produce is packaged after receiving a washing and cleaning process. Packaging offers a critical component of food safety by preventing contamination from pathogens. In addition, packaging extends the shelf life of the product by providing a physical barrier to or protection from atmospheric oxygen and moisture, light, and other agents that would accelerate deterioration of the product.
Finally, packaging is the vehicle by which legally required information is presented to the consumer in the form of the label bearing information about the product identity, quantity, ingredients, nutrient content, expiration date, and commercial source. Innovations were driven by a number of forces, including convenience, consumer desire for minimally processed foods, changes in retail and distribution practices; foodservice needs; trend toward more sustainable packaging; and demands for global and fast transport of food Suppakul and others ; IFT Aseptic packaging is a major area of food packaging that has significantly increased the safety, quality, availability, and convenience of certain foods around the world, while reducing the amount of energy needed to preserve and store such foods.
The major difference between aseptic packaging and traditional methods of food packaging is that in aseptic packaging the product and the packaging material are continuously sterilized separately. This technique has allowed for substantial improvements in the quality of the final product, mainly due to the much milder heat treatment that the product undergoes compared to the traditional thermal process Floros Many advances in the packaging of food took place in the past 20 to 30 y, producing a wide variety of new materials and processing technologies.
The steady accumulation of research developments indicates that food packaging will continue to evolve and respond to the changing needs of the food system and the increased demands of consumers. Each of these alternative technologies has unique characteristics and potential for expanded applications in different categories of food products.
The goal of all the new processes is to reduce the overall time and temperature exposures of the foods so that they are safe and more like fresh or freshly cooked items. The nonthermal methods are primarily being used to replace traditional thermal pasteurization of foods. This method of heating prepared foods and beverages and cooking raw foods is well known and accepted by consumers, but applications for food preservation are still evolving. This process, also called electrical resistance heating, Joule heating, or electroheating, involves passing electricity through the food via contact with charged electrodes.
The electrical energy results in rapid, uniform heating, in contrast to the slow conduction and convection heating of conventional thermal processing, thereby allowing for greater quality than canned counterparts. Ohmic heating has been applied in limited situations to such foods as cut and whole fruit and liquid eggs, but applications may expand to soups and similar items in the future. The use of pressures approaching pounds per square inch for holding times of a few minutes produces a processed food with the taste, color, and texture similar to fresh. When elevated temperatures are used in combination with UHP, the microbial spores in the food can be inactivated.
This process is more rapid and less damaging to several food quality attributes than traditional thermal sterilization because application of pressure rapidly and uniformly heats packaged food in the pressure vessel to the desired end temperature, and then, when pressure is released after a few minutes the product returns to the original temperature.
Recent research has shown not only that some of these alternative novel processes allow production of very high quality items, but also that those items may have a higher nutritive value than similar items produced by traditional thermal processes because the novel processes result in less chemical damage of key micronutrients. To achieve acceptance first by the regulatory authorities and then by consumers will require an overall evaluation of each of these novel processes. The magnitude of these losses, and the contributing factors, are different in developing countries compared to industrialized countries Godfray and others For example, food losses in the developing world are primarily due to the lack of an infrastructure, as well as lack of knowledge of or investment in the means to protect from losses arising from damage and spoilage attributable to rodents, insects, molds, and other microorganisms.
In contrast, in industrialized countries, food losses are more significant in retail and foodservice establishments and in the home. The losses in developed countries are attributable to several factors, including the relatively low costs of food and the lack of incentives to avoid wastes Godfray and others Commercial food manufacturing operations are more efficient in the conversion of raw materials into consumer products than home processing and preparation.
Many food processing waste streams are used for animal feed Hudson , and processes have been developed for converting waste materials into biofuels, food ingredients, and other edible, valuable bioproducts Hang Through such assessments, the food industry is identifying the steps in the food chain that have the greatest environmental impact. The analysis indicates that for the high value added product, the largest energy consumption and production of emissions and other wastes is in the agricultural sector that is, on the farm.
In contrast, the major part of energy use for a highly productive crop is by the consumer in the home Ohlsson Thus, to reduce energy contributions to global warming and generation of pollutants, it would be appropriate to target reductions where they would have the greatest effect for example, on the farm for items such as pork and in the home for items such as potatoes rather than simply focusing on food miles or food processing.
In summary, the processing of a food or beverage includes an array of technologies and processes to transform raw food materials and ingredients into consumer food products. The primary purpose of these processes is for preservation for example, transforming perishable fruits and vegetables with the highest quality outcome possible into products available throughout the year around the world and to ensure food safety.
The processing of a food does create some changes in the quality attributes of the product. In some cases, these changes are intentional and provide improvements in the nutritive quality, texture, appearance, and flavor of the product.
Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology - 2nd Edition
In other cases, the changes may simply make the product different, without improving or changing its quality. Nutrient retention is highly variable, depending on commodity, cultivar, timing of harvesting, storage conditions, nutrient type for example, sensitivity to heat or oxygen, and water solubility , and processing method. Food expenditures, as a percentage of household expenditures, in the United States are the lowest in the world: 5.
Cost is an extremely important variable to most consumers in making food and other purchases, particularly to those with low incomes. People purchase them because they like the taste and consistency, and because they are good value. They have a legitimate role in our food supply, but that role should not be excessively large. The future of the agriculture and food system will be largely determined by the trajectory of 3 major trends: the population and its associated demographics; availability and type of energy resources; and climate as it influences available land, water, and air quality.
Population is the most important by far, since it drives the others given the impact on demand for arable land, for example through its multiplier, the standard of living consumption rate. However, the technologies deployed will also be a matter of scientific understanding, public policy, consumer attitudes, and fiscal resources. From these historical perspectives, Belasco proposed 3 possible cornucopian futures: 1 the classical, based on expansion into new areas for example, expand food production and processing ; 2 the modern, the belief in scientific and technological solutions; and 3 the recombinant, a blend of the radical modern with the familiar classical for example, share resources more efficiently.
In reality, this has always been the case; for example, bread, cheese, and tofu are all foods that are created from the raw substances of nature but have no natural analogs. Food culture evolves, albeit slowly. In his classic dystopic novel Make Room, Make Room , on which the movie Soylent Green was based, Harry Harrison envisioned a meager and unappetizing diet of soybean and lentil steaks, tilapia, soymilk, seaweed, and energy drinks Harrison Today, however, some people seek out these products quite a change in 2 generations.
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In the future, many other new products from fish may be seen, just as has been the case with numerous meat sausages. Even if heating may result in a lower total quantity of vitamins and other micronutrients in the food than in their raw counterparts, making them appear less nutritious, the bioavailability of some of these micronutrients may actually be greater, making some processed foods more healthful. Novel emerging processes not totally relying on heat seem to offer the potential to increase bioavailability of classic micronutrients and to spare many of the labile phytochemicals plant metabolites, some of which are known to have human health benefits that are a major advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The DGAC's report contained 4 primary recommendations:. The report expressed an urgent call to action and recommended that a strategic plan be developed that focuses on the behaviors and actions needed to successfully implement these 4 key recommendations. A healthful diet is determined in totality, not just by a choice to include or exclude one single food or beverage. Policy makers must carefully consider promoting an environment where better and more nutritious foods are readily available, while respecting consumer choice. Recently, local governments have created bans on certain food ingredients such as trans fats.
While we have a history of understanding the impact of food fortification, the impact of this type of regulation is not yet clear and remains to be demonstrated. Consider salt as an example. A recent report by the Inst. It was inevitable that governments would take an interest in the food supply.
In it was redone as the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, with amendments. The U. Other agencies share this responsibility, including the U. Food regulatory work often is subject to criticism. The public can get involved in the rulemaking process, but it is mainly consumer advocates along with trade associations and only occasionally individuals that participate.
At one time mainly unprocessed and raw foods were consumed, but then cookery, pasteurization, and sterilization created the category of mildly processed foods. Milling, brewing, refining, dairy processing, and many other food operations that frequently relied on the use of so-called food additives and blending with other ingredients provided what often is termed highly processed or reformulated foods.
The newest category in this area is synthetic food, which can be thought of as engineered edible systems. An imitation orange drink powder that could be reconstituted with water at home or during space flight was the first example, appearing in the s. Except for the sugar in it there is no agricultural ingredient, and the sugar could be replaced with a synthetic sweetener to make it a diet beverage or a food for diabetic persons. It can be said that a gradual merging of the food and pharmaceutical industries is under way.
The word nutraceutical was coined in the s, and with it came many foods and food components, including beneficial bacteria, that are claimed to have health-providing properties beyond those of traditional essential nutrients such as vitamins, amino acids, and certain minerals. Opportunities to defraud the public with scientifically unproven benefits are tempting; the subject of nutritional claims is debated hotly and is only in the early stages of governmental supervision.
Since biblical times human societies and their leaders have been interested in regulating trade and safeguarding foods. Food protection has economic and public health implications: People must be protected from cheaters and poisons. Because misrepresentation and adulteration can be inadvertent as well as deliberate, a legal and regulatory framework was needed to address these concepts and allow modern societies to function smoothly and safely.
The English Assize of Bread and Beer assissa panis et cerevisiae of attempted to control the quantity weights and volumes of food sold by merchants, not its quality. That law established strict penalties whose basic principles would be adopted by settlers in North America hundreds of years later. Adulteration was rampant, and the tools to detect it were lacking. Microscopy was an emerging technology that became the first analytical tool to verify food adulteration , mainly in the detection of rodent hairs and feces, insect fragments, and foreign objects such as dirt and unwanted plant matter.
Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology
Chemical analysis has become a more powerful tool since that time, and the food laws of many nations stipulate the employment of food analysts and analytical methods. It is now possible to detect the presence of objectionable environmental chemical contaminants in trace amounts that are not significant in physiological terms, that is, amounts considered inconsequential. Just as the law does not concern itself with trifles, the law of Paracelsus states that a small amount of a toxin is not worth considering because it has no effect. Parcelsus taught that "the dose makes the poison," and it can be demonstrated that a grain of salt has no effect on a living organism but that a cupful is deadly.
Similarly, too much of a good thing may be harmful, as evidenced by the contemporary overconsumption of calories, especially in affluent societies. Sixty-five percent of Americans were considered obese at the start of the twenty-first century, and obesity is becoming the number one human health hazard. Discussion has begun about where to lay the blame for this phenomenon.
Some have pointed to the "fast-food" industry as the primary culprit, ignoring free will , discipline, and responsibility. The concept of American fast food also touches on ethical issues and may have spawned the "slow food" movement that arose in Italy in the late s, presumably to resist the replacement of culinary traditions and the disappearance of local food varieties; however, it also might have been the product of anti-Americanism, anticapitalism, and antiglobalization.
All over the world, especially in developing areas, the introduction of "Western food" constitutes a threat to indigenous food crops and processing operations that have been practiced by women for centuries. The enrichment of a local diet is welcome from a nutritional standpoint, but it also is believed to undermine the potential for self-sufficiency and the value of indigenous knowledge. Entomophagy is widely accepted and always has been: Some five hundred insect species serve as food sources worldwide.
The subject of underutilized species has been dealt with by the many organizations, and as a result new foods have been "unearthed. Other potentials are seen in leaf protein concentrate, processed plankton or cellulose, and recycled waste products. The newest trend in the food field is genetic engineering. Apart from drug manufacturing it is applied mainly in production agriculture and involves recombinant DNA and cell fusion techniques.
The driving force behind this food biotechnology is the creation of higher yields from plants and animals. Critics argue that the driving force here is not a humanitarian spirit but corporate greed. Many of these products are already on the market. However, there has been vigorous political and even religious debate over these genetically modified GM crops and foods, even over GM drugs such as insulin.
New enzymes derived from GM microorganisms are being used in food processing. Indeed, knowledge about genetic maps and the amino acid sequences of proteins makes it possible to tailor-make food ingredients with specific desirable functions and properties. Among the microbial enzymes in use for food production more than 40 are produced from GM microorganisms. It is surprising to many people that practically every item on an American restaurant menu has been subject to genetic modification. Since the introduction of GM foods in the s a quiet revolution in the food supply has been under way.
Worldwide, 46 percent of soybean acreage and 7 percent of corn fields were sowed with transgenic crops in No transgenic animals are used in food, mainly because of ethical barriers.
Disagreement about the safety of GM foods is rooted in the differences between American and European regulatory principles: regulation of the nature of the product in the United States versus regulation of the manner in which a product is produced in Europe. One consequence of the debate was the refusal in by the Zambian government to receive food aid from the United States because it involved GM food. All new technologies seem to be accompanied by early resistance.
GM crops have been embraced in the developing parts of the world, as was discussed during the Twelfth World Congress of Food Science and Technology in Food scientists are bracing themselves as the era of GM foods is unfolding. One challenge is to develop analytical methods that will differentiate between a GM species and a conventional one. The current debate seems to indicate that consumers wish to have a choice in selecting one or the other, and regulators may be charged by policymakers to monitor the trade in and consumption of these foods. Food technology has improved the lot of humankind, but the work is far from over.
Better tools will be designed, and it will be necessary to engage in transfers of food technology and institute governance, education, and transportation infrastructures so that no needy individual is left behind. Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Considered to be the opus magnum from one of the world's great authorities on the history and use of food. It has 2, A-Z entries on pages including 40 feature articles on staple foods. Encyclopaedia of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition.
London: Academic Press. About 1, entries written by international experts. The eight volumes contain 5, pages; agricultural aspects are not covered. Kass, Leon R. New York : Free Press. An exploration of the natural and cultural act of eating; how homo sapiens has humanized eating, even though it is an urgent and basic animal necessity. Kurlansky, Mark. Salt—A World History. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada.
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