Food science

Food science is a discipline concerned with all technical aspects of food, beginning with harvesting or slaughtering, and ending with its cooking and consumption. It is considered one of the agricultural sciences, and is usually considered distinct from the field of nutrition.

Examples of the activities of food scientists include the development of new food products, design of processes to produce these foods, choice of packaging materials, shelf-life studies, sensory evaluation of the product with trained expert panels or potential consumers, as well as microbiological and chemical testing. Food scientists at universities may study more fundamental phenomena that are directly linked to the production of particular food product and its properties. In the U.S., food science is typically studied at land-grant universities.

Food science is a highly interdisciplinary applied science. It incorporates concepts from many different fields including microbiology, chemical engineering, biochemistry, and many others.

Some of the subdisciplines of food science include:

The main organization in the United States regarding food science and food technology is the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), headquarted in Chicago, Illinois, which is the US member organisation of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST). The European national organisations are organised into the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), based at Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Some popular books on some aspects of food science or kitchen science have been written by Harold McGee and Howard Hillman.

In the October 2006 issue of Food Technology, IFT President Dennis R. Heldman noted that the IFT Committee on Higher Education gave the current definition of food science as follows: "Food Science is the discipline in which the engineering, biological, and physical sciences are used to study the nature of foods, the causes of deterioration, the principles underlying food processing, and the improvement of foods for the consuming public.


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