Food scientists and and real people have very different concepts of the microbes that inhabit our foods. As I have stated before, we are obsessed with shelf life. From the first day of any food microbiology course students become scared witless as they learn that food kills, or at least the nasty microbes in food kill. Food-micro students also learn that other non-lethal microbes in … Continue reading What kinds of microbes inhabit the food that we eat?
It may be the hottest area in health research going these days—the microbiome and its relationship to disease. Our microbiome is considered an organ in and of itself and encompasses the myriad of microbes that inhabit us both inside the gut and outside our bodies on our skin. These cells outnumber those that make up our human tissue. Let Them Eat Dirt by R. Brett … Continue reading Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World
In November I focused the attention of this site on genetic modification of foods. I asked a colleague and the foremost defender of GMOs, Dr. Wayne Parrott, to write a guest post for the website. The stresses of teaching and other duties at the university precluded an article in November, but he was able to send me this article over Christmas break. I am pleased … Continue reading Beware of bejeweled watches (and GMO labels)
Natural ingredients are in and artificial ones are out, but how natural are some and how artificial are others? Regulations make this question even more complex. Life is complicated, and we look for shortcuts. We are particularly risk averse, but it takes time to adequately assess risk. In How Risky is it Really, David Ropeik explores many of the terms that we use as shortcuts … Continue reading Are natural flavors better than artificial ones?
by Tracy Jaico In a continuing effort to defend processed food, I am working to provide some insight into the perspective of food scientists who work in the food industry. This week I introduce Tracy Jaico who took my two graduate courses—Flavor Chemistry and Evaluation and Food Research and the Scientific Method. She also happens to be in my Fantasy Football League and has reached … Continue reading Flavor: Trends with Some Science
One of my favorite classes to teach at the University of Georgia was called Flavor Chemistry and Evaluation. We had no textbook and no formal lab, although we usually read a book as supplementary reading such as Taste or Cookwise. The class met twice a week focusing on a specific aspect of flavor for those two sessions. One period featured a class discussion of two to … Continue reading Flavor 101–properties and cooking
Flavor: The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense by Bob Holmes starts with an ode to flavor in the Introduction to the book, and he takes us on a voyage through the science of what makes food delicious or not. At the outset, the author clarifies that flavor is not a single sense but rather the combination of taste and aroma. He does not stop … Continue reading Review of Flavor by Bob Holmes
I am pleased to introduce another of my former students as a guest columnist. I taught Jordan in Food Chemistry and served as his academic advisor. He had strong opinions on various aspects of food science which may be why we were able to get along so well. He reviewed the chapter on food safety in my book In Defense of Processed Food and made … Continue reading Genetically Modified Organisms: We’ve Been Making Them Forever
Let me start out with a disclaimer. I am not a molecular biologist. I am not really a plant scientist, although I played one as a researcher for 31.5 years at the University of Georgia (and I have some published papers to prove it!).1-2 My only formal education in plant science included an undergraduate course in Botany and a graduate class in Postharvest Physiology. Dr. … Continue reading My personal journey with GMOs
Finally, an “unbiased” and “fair and balanced” look at GMOs or so we are promised on the back cover of Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet. Mackay Jenkins introduces us to the world of GMOs from the viewpoints of both molecular biologists and anti-GMO activists. He provides a peek into some genetic-engineering projects that went well and others that did not. … Continue reading Review of Food Fight by Mackay Jenkins