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Tag : Food

A key role for food science and technology in alleviating poverty

In an attempt to alleviate world poverty, there has been a huge emphasis on food production over the past few decades, with less emphasis given to processing, packaging and post-harvest treatment of that food so that it reaches the final consumer in a safe and nutritious form. Food science and technology does have a valuable role to play in alleviating food insecurity but its role is known largely only to professionals such as those reading this View. In order to reverse the situation, IUFoST is publishing a handbook.... Read more

Food safety in times of economic crisis

According to FAO officials the 2007 food crisis escalated the number of undernourished people to a peak high of 923 million, worldwide. Furthermore, estimates consider that food production must doubles by 2050 in order to secure food for a planet population of nine billion.... Read more

Food Security

Various definitions of food security have become popular now a days, but all of them contain two fundamental elements: a level of food availability and some measurement of access to the food supply by the population at large. A wider definition associates food security with the capacity of a given region to warrant – in a timely and reliable manner – access to an adequate food supply by all the population in such a region. While these definitions carry strong quantitative aspects they underestimate the importance of qualitative ones such as nutrient availability as well as those related to safety, which are equally important. Furthermore, the combination of various foodstuffs may lead to considerable changes (positive or negative) in the biological value of a given meal. Few studies have approached the problem of diet quality with the scientific rigor needed to draw valid conclusions at the national or regional level. In such an effort a dramatic change in the working model would be required, such that the interrelationship between economic and social variables with the nutritional assessment of the population be further and more deeply explored, thus taking into consideration factors such as alternative ways of increasing the food supply available in a given community, family values and traditions, and changes in food consumption habits due to the influence of globalization. In addition to such “external “ influences, it would be necessary to consider the changes in the nutritive value of foods during their handling, processing and marketing, as well as contamination with physical, chemical or microbiological agents which may occur throughout the food chain. This perspective may radically change the appraised food situation of a given region or country and perhaps more importantly it may also change the true role of particular technological developments´ contribution to food security. For instance, in this scenario, the role of Biocontrol – the application of biological systems or natural products for the control of pests or undesirable microorganisms – may allow the production of safer foods due to the elimination or reduction of pesticides and other chemicals during production or postharvest operations. Also, the utilization of Byproducts may provide a direct way of upgrading the total value of traditional crops, thus increasing farmers´ income and thereby increasing food purchasing power and the possibility of a wider spectrum of food selection. Thus, the innovation approach may not only provide more competitive agricultural products, it may also make substantial contributions to food security.... Read more