Just like everything else that we did, eating also requires brain function to distinguish what we eat?
Our brain is a complex system that combines perception, emotional feelings and knowledge. As many others, I believe in the power of knowledge. What do you know about your food?
I am a food scientist and I do not know all about our food. You might thought you knew it all but no one does. I have been following few food advocates and their amazing effort to reveal what is in our food. It is a real issue where food are indeed chemical-ized and the real challenge is to distinguish and define real food.
Many of us would define modern real food as the fresh foods such as vegetable, meat and fruits from our market. These food are previously obtained directly from farmers. In the past, way before Green Revolution, foods are made for the local market. There were no issues of mass production. There were nothing called genetic modified foods. There were just natural selections to grow food that everyone perceived as real foods. The argument of natural foods now include genetically modified crops on top of synthetic chemicals.
If I did not study food technology, I am not even aware of the processing of our modern real food. Fruits are being ripen through exposure of ethylene gas and made shine through the addition of wax. Meat are being raised with growth hormones (sometimes with antibiotic too) and nitrates remaining to keep the slaughtered meat safe. Vegetables that comes with pesticides and chemicals agents. These foods found its way to our food system.
The call for organic foods is perfectly normal. We needed something that we can be more confident to consume. Our food systems have gone to a stage where the definition of foods are continuously being challenged.
How real is your food? How about processed organic foods? Is it a real foods?- An argument that I like to leave you with.
Microbes are something that our naked eye can't see and we know that microbes is the real culprit for food poisoning. So, how do we know if we have been eating clean food using clean equipment?
We questioned the cleanliness of a cafe/restaurant as we look at their cutleries that are tainted with food stain or dried water drops. The reality is even the cutleries is stain-free, it could still be having microbial loads that our eye couldn't see. Each and every time I eat out, I see my colleagues wiping these cutleries, thinking it could help making the cutleries cleaner. Does the action of wiping these cutleries helps? Perhaps but I doubt the effectiveness.
Are we looking at physical cleanliness or are we looking at the food safety aspect of the cutleries?
Bacteria exist everywhere and it is our responsibility to reduce the microbial load to the minimum by washing and cleaning the equipment used. How are we doing in terms of the trust towards cutleries that others washed for us compared to what have been done at home? What do you think?
We have many different food products, not just because we demand for it but also due to food technology that made it a real experience for all of us. Imagine if just a simple food technology exists, just cutting and heating, what would be on our dinner table? Not only everything needs to be made fresh, but also limits the variety of food available on our dining table. Certain food such as seafood and meat can only be kept within a limited period. Food preparation time increases dramatically. Food technology enables us to save time to prepare for food plus consistency in our food quality.
Food technology helps to preserve food, whether it is drying process, solute (salt/sugar/vinegar) preservation, pasteurization, refrigeration or freezing food. Indeed, I agree food technology does damage part of the nutritional value but what we really looking at is to keep food away from microorganism and to protect/maintain most of the food structure and taste. For example, pasteurization of milk destroys some fat components but ensure that most of food microorganism are destroyed. The pasteurized milk are then can be kept in refrigeration for at least 2 weeks. More dramatic food processing technology like ultra-high temperature (UHT) uses a higher temperature to completely destroy microorganism but also, destroy the heat-sensitive vitamins and minerals in the milk. The trade-off is UHT milk can be kept at room temperature for longer period of time. Even a slight difference in temperature causes differences in the type of food products we get.
The reality is we need food technology to keep our food safe and available. Imagine if food technology isn't here, we did be worried about food availability. Food technology gives us the variety foods that we demand for- unlimited choices. And still, we demand for more. Can I see that as a demand for more food processing food?
Taken from Facebook shared image
As food technologist, we do not only process our food just like a chef. We are a conscientious scientist, in that we process our foods carefully based on food science principles. We focused on the raw ingredients from the seeds itself, farming and harvesting practices. The method used to preserve the food so that it is maintained at a desired level of nutrients, prevention from biological, chemical and enzymatic degradation.
Foods are carefully formulated for the benefit of consumers in addition to quality control processes to ensure the highest quality of food and its safety for human consumption. And then, producing it and delivering it to the consumers.