November 2020
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Food Science

The study of food science emphasises on the composition of foods and the changes that occur when they subjected to food processing. Functional foods are foods that promote health beyond providing basic nutrition. 

Our nutritional status, health, physical and mental faculties depend on the food we eat and how we eat it. Access to good quality food has been man’s main endeavour from the earliest days of human existence. Safety of food is a basic requirement of food quality.

“Food safety” implies absence or acceptable and safe levels of contaminants, adulterants, naturally occurring toxins or any other substance that may make food injurious to health on an acute or chronic basis. Food quality can be considered as a complex characteristic of food that determines its value or acceptability to consumers.

Besides safety, quality attributes include: nutritional value; organoleptic properties such as appearance, colour, texture, taste; and functional properties. Food systems in developing countries are not always as well organised and developed as in the industrialised world.

Moreover, problems of growing population, urbanisation, lack of resources to deal with pre- and post- harvest losses in food, and problems of environmental and food hygiene mean that food systems in developing countries continueto be stressed, adversely affecting quality and safety of food supplies. People in developing countriesare therefore exposed to a wide range of potential food quality and safety risks.  

In 2020, the world population will most likely reach 7.6 billion, an increase of 31% over the mid-1996 population of 5.8 billion. Approximately 98% of the projected population growth over this period will take place in developing countries. It has also been estimated that between the years 1995 and 2020 the developing world’s urban population will double, reaching 3.4 billion. This overall increase in population and in the urban population in particular, poses great challenges to food systems.

Intensification of agriculture and animal husbandry; more efficient food handling, processing and distribution systems; introduction of newer technologies increase food availability to meet the needs of growing populations. Some of these practices and technologies may also pose potential problems of food safety and nutritional quality and call for special attention in order to ensure consumer protection.

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