Every day, millions of people put a lot of trust in the food industry. More and more of us check product labels on a regular basis to make sure what we are buying meets our individual requirements – be they for low fat foods, sugarless concoctions, organically certified foods, clean label products or anything else. And when we buy a food product, we expect it to contain what it says it does on the label.
Thought for Food Blog
These days, most people carry a drink with them wherever they go. Every food shop, however small, has a fridge packed with bottled beverages. Some people drink large quantities of sugary soft drinks, others can’t get through the day without copious quantities of coffee, and tea drinkers are happy to respond to recent experimental evidence that suggests tea is a healthy source of liquid sustenance for the human body. However, for purposes of hydration, the most popular choice is water.
Topics: food quality, fluoride, packaging, salt, nutrients, bacteria, pathogens, magnesium, contaminants, water, retail and marketing, calcium, vitamins and minerals, bone health, cognitive function, central nervous system
This post was originally published on The Conversation, and was written by Vanessa Speight, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield and Joby Boxall, professor at the University of Sheffield
In 2008, melamine was added to milk and infant formula to increase its protein content. This led to the hospitalisation of around 54,000 infants, 6 deaths from kidney stones and, ultimately, a number of criminal prosecutions, resulting in 2 executions.
In 2013, horsemeat was found in burgers and ready meals sold in UK supermarkets. Although not physically harmed, consumers – who thought they were eating beef – were less than happy. The incident highlighted the vulnerability of the food supply chain and Tesco, one of the supermarkets selling the adulterated meat, underwent – €300 million drop in market value.
Almost 800 million people are suffering from malnutrition in the world today. Meanwhile, around a third of all the food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost. This food waste, which amounts to around 1.3 billion tonnes every year, occurs at all stages of the food chain, from the farm to the consumer’s home, and its value is thought to be around US$1 trillion. As the world population continues to increase, reducing the amount of food that is lost or wasted will become more essential than ever. It has been estimated that by 2050 we will require a 60% increase in global food production to feed the population.
The causes of food waste differ between countries around the world. In developing countries, losses tend to occur at the earlier stage of the supply chain and are often due to financial and structural limitations in harvest techniques, storage and transport infrastructures, processing, cooling capabilities, packaging, marketing and infrastructure, as well as climatic conditions that favour food spoilage. Social and cultural conditions can also play a role in food loss in these countries. In medium- and high-income countries, meanwhile, waste tends to occur at the more downstream end of the food chain and often relates to food quality standards and consumer behaviour.
Topics: food safety, labelling, food quality, food security, packaging, regulations and guidance, contaminants, retail and marketing, food production, environment and sustainability, food waste, consumer behaviour