andrew schneider investigates

June 8, 2009

Better eating through chemistry.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew Schneider @ 06:51

There are two gigantic professional food organizations that gather their members each year to compare notes and discuss what’s new.

The International Association of Culinary Professionals musters its legions of chefs, recipe creators, food stylists, restaurateurs, educators and writers. They debate and discuss what new styles of cooking, innovations in cuts and seasoning of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, goats and seafood of all types, and treatments of fruits, veggies and salads will be appearing on menus throughout the world.
IFT Books
The other culinary blow out is the international conference and food expo of the Institute for Food Technologists, which is meeting here in Anaheim this week. Jumping from meeting to meeting and cruising the poster sessions, it appears to me that safety is this group’s most important product. Scientists of almost every conceivable specialty gave scores of presentations on making food safer and keeping it safe, which is what the food developers, producers and processors they work for must have.

I walked around the exposition floors where about 1,200 companies are showing their products and services and checked out what was being touted as new and better. Most were additives.

Make up your own mind if this bothers you or if you realize that it’s just a necessary fact of life in the food industry.

Here are just some of the additives I could recognize. There were:
Acids and alkaline agents.
Anti-caking agents.
Antimicrobial agents.
Bulking agents.
Bleaching agents.
Colors.
Brining, pickling and curing chemicals.
Emulsifiers.
Fat replacements.
Flavoring agents, hundreds of different ones.
Nutrients.
Stabilizers.
Thickenings.

I only made it around half of the display hall, but it’s obvious that lots of substances are added to what we eat. I wonder whether these additives deal with safety of the food or marketability?

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