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Food Science 101

Food Fraud and Adulteration

Don Mercer

Fraud is something most of us fear.  When making clothing purchases, questions may arise as to whether the “designer” jeans are the real thing, or a cheaper knock-off.  Buying from a reputable merchant can help alleviate this concern, but may not completely eliminate the problem.  When buying food, the same issues can arise, even though they may not be quite as obvious.

Water Softening-101

Don Mercer

We have previously looked the formation of soap scum in water.  The culprit was calcium ions that grabbed onto soap molecules and formed an ugly and annoying insoluble compound.

What we must do to prevent soap scum from forming is remove the calcium ions from what we commonly call “hard water”.  Fortunately, this is not particularly difficult to accomplish.  Many of you are already familiar with the use of water softeners for such a task.  However, do you understand how they actually work?

Oh, That Ugly Soap Scum!

Don Mercer

Previously, we looked at how detergents function to remove grease and oil when washing dishes.  Just as chemistry played a key role with detergents, there is a lot of chemistry going on when it comes to plain old soap.

Taking a Look at How Detergents Work

Don Mercer

Dishwashing detergents are something we use frequently - yet we probably take them for granted, and never give a second thought to how they actually work. 

Everyone seems to have a favourite brand that is lemon-scented, or is gentle to your hands, or has some other quality to set it aside from the competition.  Regardless of these attributes, the main job of a detergent is to attack grease and oil on the surfaces of your dishes and get them sparkling clean again.

Strange Things Happening in the Freezer

Don Mercer

Our daughter’s freezer has been doing some rather strange things over the past year or so.

Whenever she makes ice cubes, one of them seems to produce a spike of ice that sticks up about two inches from the surface.  No matter where she places the tray in the freezer, the same thing happens, and it’s not always the same ice cube in the tray that does it.  The obvious explanation is that there is something “supernatural” going on, and her freezer is simply “possessed”.

A Look at Pasteurization Methods

Don Mercer

Have you ever wondered how some of the food processing methods we use today were developed or “discovered”?

Most of us are familiar with “pasteurization”.  We also know that it was named after Louis Pasteur, a famous and remarkable French scientist.  But what prompted Pasteur to actually roll up his sleeves and get working on it?

Some Cereal Really Is Shot from Guns

Don Mercer

Some of you may recall television commercials for breakfast cereals where they emphasized how their products were “shot from guns”.  As a kid, I conjured up images of devices that looked like circus cannons spewing forth volleys of puffed wheat and puffed rice.

Some Casual Observations about Pressure

Don Mercer

Being a captive audience in my seat when flying in a plane at 37,000 feet tends to make me notice things that would otherwise be inconsequential.

Have you ever noticed how the foil lids on the yoghurt tubs bulge upwards, as do the closures on the coffee creamers?  If you haven’t noticed it, perhaps the spurt of yoghurt shooting out of the container when you open it may get your attention.  If you’re not a fan of yoghurt, or don’t bother with cream in your coffee, take a look at how the packages of airplane snacks are often puffed up.

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IUFoST Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB)



John Spink, PhD
Food Fraud – and the focus on prevention – is an important and evolving food industry focus. Even though the vast majority of these incidents do not have a health hazard in some ways they are more dangerous because the substances and actions are unknown and untraceable.  The types of food fraud stretch the traditional role of food science and technology to include criminology, supply chain traceability and other control systems. The food authenticity and integrity testing will be the most complex actions and their value should be assessed in terms of the contribution to prevention. This Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB) presents an introduction, review of incidents, the fundamentals of prevention which then provide insight on the optimal role of Food Science and Technology.
See IUFoST SIBS below for the complete Food Fraud Prevention Scientific Information Bulletin.






Congratulations Prof. Dr. Purwiyatno Hariyadi

Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Puwiyatno Hariyadi who has been elected to the position of Vice-Chair of the  CODEX Alimentarius Commission.

Dr. Hariyadi is a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST) and Senior scientist, SEAFAST Center; Professor, Dept. Food Science and Technology, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

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