Food

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Posted by sonny 04/03/2009 @ 03:14

Tags : food, food and wine, leisure, podcast

News headlines
Neighbors Use Food Stamps, but Not Costco - New York Times
But there's one kind of government money Costco won't take: food stamps. That policy effectively cuts off more than 30000 of its immediate neighbors in East Harlem, who receive food stamps. Throughout the city, 1.4 million people got them in April,...
Office Fridge Crammed With Rotten Food Sends Employees To Hospital - NewsBlaze
By Robert Paul Reyes "An office worker cleaning a fridge full of rotten food created a smell so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital and made many others ill. Firefighters had to evacuate the AT&T building in downtown San Jose on...
FDA questions General Mills' Cheerios marketing - Bizjournals.com
The US Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to General Mills Inc. last week asking it to change how it promotes the health benefits of Cheerios. The FDA told General Mills to stop promoting Cheerios, the country's best-selling cereal,...
When 'Local' Makes It Big - New York Times
By KIM SEVERSON WHEN Jessica Prentice, a food writer in the San Francisco Bay area, invented the term “locavore,” she didn't have Lay's potato chips in mind. GROWING Big brands are pitching products to the same consumers who buy local berries....
Pesticide carbofuran banned for food crops - The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule Monday banning the use of the pesticide carbofuran on food crops, saying it poses an unacceptable health risk, especially to children. The insecticide, sold under the brand name...
Awareness key to dealing with serious food allergies - Houston Chronicle
Experts say eight foods account for 90 percent of all reactions: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. Hear from experts about this condition. Where: The Houstonian Grande Ballroom 1, 111 N. Post Oak Register: Open to all...
Tamils In Conflict Zone in Sri Lanka Have Little Food - Voice of America
The World Food Program is providing food assistance to more than 90000 people in temporary transit centers in Vavunya and Jaffna districts. The agency has sent five shipments of food into the region with the support of the International Committee of...
Product recall: bacteria-tainted face paint - The Associated Press
The six face-paint products are being recalled after reports of rashes and skin irritation, according to the Food and Drug Administration. FDA spokeswoman Susan Cruzan said the products were found to have yeast and mold counts above industry guidelines...
Massachusetts set to unveil fast-food menu rules - Reuters
By Jason Szep BOSTON, May 12 (Reuters) - Massachusetts is expected to unveil the toughest restaurant menu labeling rules in the United States on Wednesday, requiring fast-food chains to list how many calories are in the food they sell in a bid to...
Novo Nordisk To Pay $9M Related To Iraq Oil-For-Food Kickbacks - Wall Street Journal
Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO) agreed to pay $9 million to settle allegations of illegal kickbacks paid to the former Iraqi government under the UN's oil-for-food program, according to US Department of Justice. The Danish-based pharmaceutical company,...

Food

Packaged household food items

Food is any substance, usually composed of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal or human for nutrition or pleasure. Items considered food may be sourced from plants, animals or other categories such as fungus or fermented products like alcohol. Although many human cultures sought food items through hunting and gathering, today most cultures use farming, ranching, and fishing, with hunting, foraging and other methods of a local nature included but playing a minor role.

Most traditions have a recognizable cuisine, a specific set of cooking traditions, preferences, and practices, the study of which is known as gastronomy. Many cultures have diversified their foods by means of preparation, cooking methods and manufacturing. This also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to economically survive by-way-of food, not just by consumption.

Many cultures study the dietary analysis of food habits. While humans are omnivores, religion and social constructs such as morality often affect which foods they will consume. Food safety is also a concern with foodborne illness claiming many lives each year. In many languages, food is often used metaphorically or figuratively, as in "food for thought".

Almost all foods are of plant or animal origin, although there are some exceptions. Foods not coming from animal or plant sources include various edible fungi, such as mushrooms. Fungi and ambient bacteria are used in the preparation of fermented and pickled foods such as leavened bread, alcoholic drinks, cheese, pickles, and yogurt. Many cultures eat seaweed, a protist, or blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) such as Spirulina. Additionally, salt is often eaten as a flavoring or preservative, and baking soda is used in food preparation. Both of these are inorganic substances, as is water, an important part of human diet.

Many plants or plant parts are eaten as food. There are around 2,000 plant species which are cultivated for food, and many have several distinct cultivars.

Seeds of plants are a good source of food for animals, including humans because they contain nutrients necessary for the plant's initial growth. In fact, the majority of food consumed by human beings are seed-based foods. Edible seeds include cereals (such as maize, wheat, and rice), legumes (such as beans, peas, and lentils), and nuts. Oilseeds are often pressed to produce rich oils, such as sunflower, rapeseed (including canola oil), and sesame. One of the earliest food recipes made from ground chickpeas is called hummus, which can be traced back to Ancient Egypt times.

Vegetables are a second type of plant matter that is commonly eaten as food. These include root vegetables (such as potatoes and carrots), leaf vegetables (such as spinach and lettuce), stem vegetables (such as bamboo shoots and asparagus), and inflorescence vegetables (such as globe artichokes and broccoli). Many herbs and spices are highly-flavorful vegetables.

Animals can be used as food either directly, or indirectly by the products they produce. Meat is an example of a direct product taken from an animal, which comes from either muscle systems or from organs. Food products produced by animals include milk produced by mammals, which in many cultures is drunk or processed into dairy products such as cheese or butter. In addition birds and other animals lay eggs, which are often eaten, and bees produce honey, a popular sweetener in many cultures. Some cultures consume blood, some in the form of blood sausage, as a thickener for sauces, a cured salted form for times of food scarcity, and others use blood in stews such as civet.

Food is traditionally obtained through farming, ranching, and fishing, with hunting, foraging and other methods of subsistence locally important. More recently, there has been a growing trend towards more sustainable agricultural practices. This approach, which is partly fueled by consumer demand, encourages biodiversity, local self-reliance and organic farming methods. Major influences on food production are international organizations, (e.g. the World Trade Organization and Common Agricultural Policy), national government policy (or law), and war.

While some food can be eaten raw, many foods undergo some form of preparation for reasons of safety, palatability, or flavor. At the simplest level this may involve washing, cutting, trimming or adding other foods or ingredients, such as spices. It may also involve mixing, heating or cooling, pressure cooking, fermentation, or combination with other food. In a home, most food preparation takes place in a kitchen. Some preparation is done to enhance the taste or aesthetic appeal; other preparation may help to preserve the food; and others may be involved in cultural identity. A meal is made up of food which is prepared to be eaten at a specific time and place.

The preparation of animal-based food will usually involve slaughter, evisceration, hanging, portioning and rendering. In developed countries, this is usually done outside the home in slaughterhouses which are used to process animals en mass for meat production. Many countries regulate their slaughterhouses by law. For example, the United States has established the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, which requires that an animal be stunned before killing. This act, like those in many countries, exempts slaughter in accordance to religious law, such as kosher shechita and dhabiĥa halal. Strict interpretations of kashrut require the animal to be fully aware when its carotid artery is cut.

On the local level, a butcher may commonly break down larger animal meat into smaller manageable cuts and pre-wrapped for commercial sale or wrapped to order in butcher paper. In addition, fish and seafood may be fabricated into smaller cuts by a fish monger at the local level. However fish butchery may be done on board a fishing vessel and quick-frozen for preservation of quality.

The term "cooking" encompasses a vast range of methods, tools and combinations of ingredients to improve the flavor or digestibility of food. Cooking technique, known as culinary art, generally requires the selection, measurement and combining of ingredients in an ordered procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Constraints on success include the variability of ingredients, ambient conditions, tools, and the skill of the individual cooking. The diversity of cooking worldwide is a reflection of the myriad nutritional, aesthetic, agricultural, economic, cultural and religious considerations that impact upon it.

Cooking requires applying heat to a food which usually, though not always, chemically transforms it, thus changing its flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritional properties. Cooking proper, as opposed to roasting, requires the boiling of water in a container, and was practiced at least since the 10th millennium BC with the introduction of pottery. There is archaeological evidence of roasted foodstuffs at Homo erectus campsites dating from 420,000 years ago.

There are many types of cooking equipment used for cooking. Ovens are one type of cooking equipment which can be used for baking or roasting and offer a dry-heat cooking method. Different cuisines will use different types of ovens, for example Indian culture uses a Tandoor oven is a cylindrical clay oven which operates at a single high temperature, while western kitchens will use variable temperature convection ovens, conventional ovens, toaster ovens in addition to non-radiant heat ovens like the microwave oven. Ovens may be wood-fired, coal-fired, gas, electric, or oil-fired.

Various types of cook-tops are used as well. They carry the same variations of fuel types as the ovens mentioned above. cook-tops are used to heat vessels placed on top of the heat source, such as a sauté pan, sauce pot, frying pan, pressure cooker, etc. These pieces of equipment can use either a moist or dry cooking method and include methods such as steaming, simmering, boiling, and poaching for moist methods; while the dry methods include sautéing, pan frying, or deep-frying.

In addition, many cultures use grills for cooking. A grill operates with a radiant heat source from below, usually covered with a metal grid and sometimes a cover. An open bit barbecue in the American south is one example along with the American style outdoor grill fueled by wood, liquid propane or charcoal along with soaked wood chips for smoking. A Mexican style of barbecue is called barbacoa, which involves the cooking of meats and whole sheep over open fire. In Argentina, asado is prepared on a grill held over an open pit or fire made upon the ground, on which a whole animal is grilled or in other cases smaller cuts of the animal.

Certain cultures highlight animal and vegetable foods in their raw state. Sashimi in Japanese cuisine consists of raw sliced fish or other meat, and sushi often incorporates raw fish or other seafood as well. Steak tartare and salmon tartare are dishes made from diced or ground raw beef or salmon respectively, mixed with various ingredients and served with baguette, brioche or frites. In Italy, carpaccio is a dish of very thin sliced raw beef, drizzled with a vinaigrette made with olive oil. A popular health food movement known as raw foodism promotes a mostly vegan diet of raw fruits, vegetables and grains prepared in various ways, including juicing, food dehydration, sprouting, and other methods of preparation that do not heat the food above 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many cultures produce food for sale in restaurants for paying customers. These restaurants often have trained chefs who prepare the food, while trained waitstaff serve the customers. The term restaurant is credited to the French from the 19th century, as it relates to the restorative nature of the bouillons that were once served in them. However, the concept pre-dates the naming of these establishments, as evidence suggests commercial food preparation may have existed during the age of the city of Pompeii, as well as an urban sales of prepared foods in China during the Song Dynasty. The coffee shops or cafes of 17th century Europe may also be considered an early version of the restaurant. In 2005 the United States spent $496 billion annually for out-of-home dining. Expenditures by type of out-of-home dining was as follows, 40% in full-service restaurants, 37.2% in limited service restaurants (fast food), 6.6% in schools or colleges, 5.4% in bars and vending machines, 4.7% in hotels and motels, 4.0% in recreational places, and 2.2% in other which includes military bases.

Packaged foods are manufactured outside the home for purchase. This can be as simple as a butcher preparing meat, or as complex as a modern international food industry. Early food processing techniques were limited by available food preservation, packaging and transportation. This mainly involved salting, curing, curdling, drying, pickling, fermentation and smoking. Food manufacturing arose during the industrial revolution in the 19th century. This development took advantage of new mass markets and emerging new technology, such as milling, preservation, packaging and labeling and transportation. It brought the advantages of pre-prepared time saving food to the bulk of ordinary people who did not employ domestic servants.

At the start of the 21st century, a two-tier structure has arisen, with a few international food processing giants controlling a wide range of well-known food brands. There also exists a wide array of small local or national food processing companies. Advanced technologies have also come to change food manufacture. Computer-based control systems, sophisticated processing and packaging methods, and logistics and distribution advances, can enhance product quality, improve food safety, and reduce costs.

The World Bank reported that the European Union was the top food importer in 2005, followed at a distance by the USA and Japan. Food is now traded and marketed on a global basis. The variety and availability of food is no longer restricted by the diversity of locally grown food or the limitations of the local growing season. Between 1961 and 1999, there has been a 400% increase in worldwide food exports. Some countries are now economically dependent on food exports, which in some cases account for over 80% of all exports.

In 1994, over 100 countries became signatories to the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in a dramatic increase in trade liberalization. This included an agreement to reduce subsidies paid to farmers, underpinned by the WTO enforcement of agricultural subsidy, tariffs, import quotas and settlement of trade disputes that cannot be bilaterally resolved. Where trade barriers are raised on the disputed grounds of public health and safety, the WTO refer the dispute to the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was founded in 1962 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. Trade liberalization has greatly affected world food trade.

Food marketing brings together the producer and the consumer. It is the chain of activities that brings food from "farm gate to plate." The marketing of even a single food product can be a complicated process involving many producers and companies. For example, fifty-six companies are involved in making one can of chicken noodle soup. These businesses include not only chicken and vegetable processors but also the companies that transport the ingredients and those who print labels and manufacture cans. The food marketing system is the largest direct and indirect non-government employer in the United States.

In the pre-modern era, the sale of surplus food took place once a week when farmers took their wares on market day, into the local village marketplace. Here food was sold to grocers for sale in their local shops for purchase by local consumers. With the onset of industrialization, and the development of the food processing industry, a wider range of food could be sold and distributed in distant locations. Typically early grocery shops would be counter-based shops, in which purchasers told the shop-keeper what they wanted, so that the shop-keeper could get it for them.

In the 20th century supermarkets were born. Supermarkets brought with them a self service approach to shopping using shopping carts, and were able to offer quality food at lower cost through economies of scale and reduced staffing costs. In the latter part of the 20th century, this has been further revolutionized by the development of vast warehouse-sized, out-of-town supermarkets, selling a wide range of food from around the world.

Unlike food processors, food retailing is a two-tier market in which a small number of very large companies control a large proportion of supermarkets. The supermarket giants wield great purchasing power over farmers and processors, and strong influence over consumers. Nevertheless, less than ten percent of consumer spending on food goes to farmers, with larger percentages going to advertising, transportation, and intermediate corporations.

Consumers worldwide faced rising food prices, it was reported on March 24, 2008. Reasons for this development are freak weather, dramatic changes in the global economy, including higher oil prices, lower food reserves and growing consumer demand in China and India. In the long term, prices are expected to stabilize. Farmers will grow more grain for both fuel and food and eventually bring prices down. Already this is happening with wheat, with more crops to be planted in the United States, Canada and Europe in 2009. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization projects that consumers still face at least until 2018 more expensive food. It is rare that the spikes are hitting all major foods in most countries at once. Food prices rose 4 percent in the United States 2007, the highest rise since 1990, and are expected to climb as much again 2008. As of December 2007, 37 countries faced food crises, and 20 had imposed some sort of food-price controls. In China, the price of pork has jumped 58 percent in 2007. In the 1990s and 1980s, farm subsidies and support programs allowed major grain exporting countries to hold large surpluses, which could be tapped during food shortages to keep prices down. But new trade policies have made agricultural production much more responsive to market demands -- putting global food reserves at their lowest since 1983.

Food prices are rising, wealthier Asian consumers are westernizing their diets, and farmers and nations of the third world are struggling to keep up the pace. The past five years have seen rapid growth in the contribution of Asian nations to the Global Fluid and Powdered Milk Manufacturing industry, which in 2008 accounts for more than 30% of production, while China alone accounts for more than 10% of both production and consumption in the Global Fruit and Vegetable Processing and Preserving industry. The trend is similarly evident in industries such as Soft Drink and Bottled Water Manufacturing, as well as Global Cocoa, Chocolate and sugar Confectionery Manufacturing, forecast to grow by 5.7% and 10.0% respectively during 2008 in response to soaring demand in China and Southeast Asian markets.

Food deprivation leads to malnutrition and ultimately starvation. This is often connected with famine, which involves the absence of food in entire communities. This can have a devastating and widespread effect on human health and mortality. Rationing is sometimes used to distribute food in times of shortage, most notably during times of war.

Starvation is a significant international problem. Approximately 815 million people are undernourished, and over 16,000 children die per day from hunger-related causes. Food deprivation is regarded as a deficit need in Maslow's hierarchy of needs and is measured using famine scales.

Food aid can benefit people suffering from a shortage of food. It can be used to improve peoples' lives in the short term, so that a society can increase its standard of living to the point that food aid is no longer required. Conversely, badly managed food aid can create problems by disrupting local markets, depressing crop prices, and discouraging food production. Sometimes a cycle of food aid dependence can develop. Its provision, or threatened withdrawal, is sometimes used as a political tool to influence the policies of the destination country, a strategy known as food politics. Sometimes, food aid provisions will require certain types of food be purchased from certain sellers, and food aid can be misused to enhance the markets of donor countries. International efforts to distribute food to the neediest countries are often co-ordinated by the World Food Programme.

Foodborne illness, commonly called "food poisoning," is caused by bacteria, toxins, viruses, parasites, and prions. Roughly 7 million people die of food poisoning each year, with about 10 times as many suffering from a non-fatal version. The two most common factors leading to cases of bacterial foodborne illness are cross-contamination of ready-to-eat food from other uncooked foods and improper temperature control. Less commonly, acute adverse reactions can also occur if chemical contamination of food occurs, for example from improper storage, or use of non-food grade soaps and disinfectants. Food can also be adulterated by a very wide range of articles (known as 'foreign bodies') during farming, manufacture, cooking, packaging, distribution or sale. These foreign bodies can include pests or their droppings, hairs, cigarette butts, wood chips, and all manner of other contaminants. It is possible for certain types of food to become contaminated if stored or presented in an unsafe container, such as a ceramic pot with lead-based glaze.

Food poisoning has been recognized as a disease of man since as early as Hippocrates. The sale of rancid, contaminated or adulterated food was commonplace until introduction of hygiene, refrigeration, and vermin controls in the 19th century. Discovery of techniques for killing bacteria using heat and other microbiological studies by scientists such as Louis Pasteur contributed to the modern sanitation standards that are ubiquitous in developed nations today. This was further underpinned by the work of Justus von Liebig, which led to the development of modern food storage and food preservation methods. In more recent years, a greater understanding of the causes of food-borne illnesses has led to the development of more systematic approaches such as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), which can identify and eliminate many risks.

Some people have allergies or sensitivities to foods which are not problematic to most people. This occurs when a person's immune system mistakes a certain food protein for a harmful foreign agent and attacks it. About 2% of adults and 8% of children have a food allergy. The amount of the food substance required to provoke a reaction in a particularly susceptible individual can be quite small. In some instances, traces of food in the air, too minute to be perceived through smell, have been known to provoke lethal reactions in extremely sensitive individuals. Common food allergens are gluten, corn, shellfish (mollusks), peanuts, and soy. Allergens frequently produce symptoms such as diarrhea, rashes, bloating, vomiting, and regurgitation. The digestive complaints usually develop within half an hour of ingesting the allergen.

Rarely, food allergies can lead to a medical emergency, such as anaphylactic shock, hypotension (low blood pressure), and loss of consciousness. An allergen associated with this type of reaction is peanut, although latex products can induce similar reactions. Initial treatment is with epinephrine (adrenaline), often carried by known patients in the form of an Epi-pen.

Dietary habits are the habitual decisions a person or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. Although humans are omnivores, many cultures hold some food preferences and some food taboos. Dietary choices can also define cultures and play a role in religion. For example, only kosher foods are permitted by Judaism, and halal/haram foods by Islam, in the diet of believers. In addition, the dietary choices of different countries or regions have different characteristics. This is highly related to a culture's cuisine.

Dietary habits play a significant role in the health and mortality of all humans. Imbalances between the consumed fuels and expended energy results in either starvation or excessive reserves of adipose tissue, known as body fat. Poor intake of various vitamins and minerals can lead to diseases which can have far-reaching effects on health. For instance, 30% of the world's population either has, or is at risk for developing, Iodine deficiency. It is estimated that at least 3 million children are blind due to vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy. Calcium, Vitamin D and phosphorus are inter-related; the consumption of each may affect the absorption of the others. Kwashiorkor and marasmus are childhood disorders caused by lack of dietary protein.

Many individuals limit what foods they eat for reasons of morality, or other habit. For instance vegetarians choose to forgo food from animal sources to varying degrees. Others choose a healthier diet, avoiding sugars or animal fats and increasing consumption of dietary fiber and antioxidants. Obesity, a serious problem in the western world, leads to higher chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases. More recently, dietary habits have been influenced by the concerns that some people have about possible impacts on health or the environment from genetically modified food. Further concerns about the impact of industrial farming (grains) on animal welfare, human health and the environment are also having an effect on contemporary human dietary habits. This has led to the emergence of a counterculture with a preference for organic and local food.

Between the extremes of optimal health and death from starvation or malnutrition, there is an array of disease states that can be caused or alleviated by changes in diet. Deficiencies, excesses and imbalances in diet can produce negative impacts on health, which may lead to diseases such as scurvy, obesity or osteoporosis, as well as psychological and behavioral problems. The science of nutrition attempts to understand how and why specific dietary aspects influence health.

Nutrients in food are grouped into several categories. Macronutrients means fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Micronutrients are the minerals and vitamins. Additionally food contains water and dietary fiber.

Some countries list a legal definition of food. These countries list food as any item that is to be processed, partially processed or unprocessed for consumption. The listing of items included as foodstuffs include any substance, intended to be, or reasonably expected to be, ingested by humans. In addition to these foodstuffs, drink, chewing gum, water or other items processed into said food items are part of the legal definition of food. Items not included in the legal definition of food include animal feed, live animals unless being prepared for sale in a market, plants prior to harvesting, medicinal products, cosmetics, tobacco and tobacco products, narcotic or psychotropic substances, and residues and contaminants.

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Food safety

Food Safety 1.svg

Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards. Food can transmit disease from person to person as well as serve as a growth medium for bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Debates on genetic food safety include such issues as impact of genetically modified food on health of further generations and genetic pollution of environment, which can destroy natural biological diversity. In developed countries there are intricate standards for food preparation, whereas in lesser developed countries the main issue is simply the availability of adequate safe water, which is usually a critical item.

The UK Food Standards Agency is the body responsible for food safety policy and legislation, with enforcement carried out by 'Food Authorities' which are the local authorities and, in respect of imports, port health authorities. The Agency provides guidance and information to food businesses as well as enforcement bodies, and mounts publicity campaigns aimed at informing the public about food safety.

The official control of food is governed by criminal law, with the main primary legislation in the form of the Food Safety Act 1990. There is a raft of subordinate regulations, many of which implement European Union directives and regulations, prescribing requirements for hygiene, limits for contaminants, controls over the use of additives, and labelling requirements, together with other matters related such as food quality and authenticity.

Regulatory control by food authorities is based on inspection of premises supplemented by sampling of food for analysis by public analysts (chemical analysis for contaminants etc) and food examiners (microbiological examination for bacteria).

People responsible for serving unsafe food can be liable for heavy fines under this new leglislation, consumers are pleased that industry will be forced to take food safety seriously.

The Food and Drug Administration publishes the Food Code, a model set of guidelines and procedures that assists food control jurisdictions by providing a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service industries, including restaurants, grocery stores and institutional foodservice providers such as nursing homes. Regulatory agencies at all levels of government in the United States use the FDA Food Code to develop or update food safety rules in their jurisdictions that are consistent with national food regulatory policy. According to the FDA, 48 of 56 states and territories, representing 79% of the U.S. population, have adopted food codes patterned after one of the five versions of the Food Code, beginning with the 1993 edition.

In the United States, federal regulations governing food safety are fragmented and complicated, according to a February 2007 report from the Government Accountability Office. There are 15 agencies sharing oversight responsibilities in the food safety system, although the two primary agencies are the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, and processed egg products, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for virtually all other foods.

A number of U.S. states have their own meat inspection programs that substitute for USDA inspection for meats that are sold only in-state. Certain state programs have been criticized for undue leniency to bad practices.

However, other state food safety programs supplement, rather than replace, Federal inspections, generally with the goal of increasing consumer confidence in the state's produce. For example, state health departments have a role in investigating outbreaks of food-borne disease bacteria, as in the case of the 2006 outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (bad E. coli bacteria) from processed spinach. Health departments also promote better food processing practices to eliminate these threats.

In addition to the US Food and Drug Administration, several states that are major producers of fresh fruits and vegetables (including California, Arizona and Florida) have their own state programs to test produce for pesticide residues.

Restaurants and other retail food establishments fall under state law and are regulated by state or local health departments. Typically these regulations require official inspections of specific design features, best food-handling practices, and certification of food handlers. In some places a letter grade or numerical score must be prominently posted following each inspection. In some localities inspection deficiencies and remedial action are posted on the Internet.

Foodsafety remains a big problem.

The parliament of the European Union (EU) makes legislation in the form of directives and regulations, many of which are mandatory for member states and which therefore must incorporated into individual countries' national legislation. As a very large organisation that exists to remove barriers to trade between member states, and into which individual member states have only a proportional influence, the outcome is often seen as an excessively bureaucratic 'one size fits all' approach. However, in relation to food safety the tendency to err on the side of maximum protection for the consumer may be seen as a positive benefit. The EU parliament is informed on food safety matters by the European Food Safety Authority.

Individual member states may also have other legislation and controls in respect of food safety, provided that they do not prevent trade with other states, and can differ considerably in their internal structures and approaches to the regulatory control of food safety.

Note that recommended cooking conditions are only appropriate if initial bacterial numbers in the uncooked food are small. Cooking does not overcome poor hygiene.

Best before indicates a future date beyond which the food product may lose quality in terms of taste or texture amongst others, but does not imply any serious health problems if food is consumed beyond this date (within reasonable limits).

Use by indicates a legal date beyond which it is not permissible to sell a food product (usually one that deteriorates fairly rapidly after production) due to the potential serious nature of consumption of pathogens. Leeway is sometimes provided by producers in stating display until dates so that products are not at their limit of safe consumption on the actual date stated (this latter is voluntary and not subject to regulatory control). This allows for the variability in production, storage and display methods.

With the exception of infant formula and baby foods which must be withdrawn by their expiration date, Federal law does not require expiration dates. For all other foods, except dairy products in some states, freshness dating is strictly voluntary on the part of manufacturers. In response to consumer demand, perishable foods are typically labeled with a Sell by date. It is up to the consumer to decide how long after the Sell by date a package is usable. Other common dating statements are Best if used by, Use-by date, Expiration date, Guaranteed fresh <date>, and Pack date.

In 2003, the WHO and FAO published the Codex Alimentarius which serves as a guideline to food safety.

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Food allergy

A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. Food allergy is distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacologic reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions.

The food protein triggering the allergic response is termed a food allergen. It is estimated that up to 12 million Americans have food allergies, and the prevalence is rising. Six to eight percent of children under the age of three have food allergies and nearly four percent of adults have them. Food allergies cause roughly 30,000 emergency room visits and 100 to 200 deaths per year in the United States. The most common food allergies in adults are shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and eggs, and the most common food allergies in children are milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts.

Treatment consists of avoidance diets, in which the allergic person avoids all forms of the food to which they are allergic. For people who are extremely sensitive, this may involve the total avoidance of any exposure with the allergen, including touching or inhaling the problematic food as well as touching any surfaces that may have come into contact with it. Areas of research include anti-IgE antibody (omalizumab, or Xolair) and specific oral tolerance induction (SOTI), which have shown some promise for treatment of certain food allergies. Persons diagnosed with a food allergy may carry an autoinjector of epinephrine such as an EpiPen or Twinject, wear some form of medical alert jewelry, or develop an emergency action plan, in accordance with their doctor.

The reaction may progress to anaphylactic shock: A systemic reaction involving several different bodily systems including hypotension (low blood pressure),loss of consciousness, and possibly death. Allergens most frequently associated with this type of reaction are peanuts, nuts, milk, egg, and seafood, though many food allergens have been reported as triggers for anaphylaxis.

Food allergy is thought to develop more easily in patients with the atopic syndrome, a very common combination of diseases: allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, eczema and asthma. The syndrome has a strong inherited component; a family history of allergic diseases can be indicative of the atopic syndrome.

These are often referred to as "the big eight." They account for over 90% of the food allergies in the United States.

The top allergens vary somewhat from country to country but milk, eggs, peanuts, treenuts, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat and sesame tend to be in the top 10 in many countries. Allergies to seeds - especially sesame - seem to be increasing in many countries.

Likelihood of allergy can increase with exposure. For example, rice allergy is more common in East Asia where rice forms a large part of the diet.

In Central Europe, celery allergy is more common. In Japan, allergy to buckwheat flour, used for Soba noodles, is more common.

Red meat allergy is extremely rare in the general population, but a geographic cluster of people allergic to red meat has been observed in Sydney, Australia. There appears to be a possible association between localised reaction to tick bite and the development of red meat allergy.

Fruit allergies exist, such as to apples, pears, jackfruit, etc.

Corn allergy may also be prevalent in many populations, although it may be difficult to recognize in areas such as the United States and Canada where corn derivatives are common in the food supply.

The best method for diagnosing food allergy is to be assessed by an allergist. The allergist will review the patient's history and the symptoms or reactions that have been noted after food ingestion. If the allergist feels the symptoms or reactions are consistent with food allergy, he/she will perform allergy tests.

Generally, introduction of allergens through the digestive tract is thought to induce immune tolerance. In individuals who are predisposed to developing allergies (atopic syndrome), the immune system produces IgE antibodies against protein epitopes on non-pathogenic substances, including dietary components. The IgE molecules are coated onto mast cells, which inhabit the mucosal lining of the digestive tract.

Upon ingesting an allergen, the IgE reacts with its protein epitopes and release (degranulate) a number of chemicals (including histamine), which lead to oedema of the intestinal wall, loss of fluid and altered motility. The product is diarrhea.

Any food allergy has the potential to cause a fatal reaction.

The immune system's Eosinophils, once activated in a histamine reaction, will register any foreign proteins they see. One theory regarding the causes of food allergies focuses on proteins presented in the blood along with vaccines, which are designed to provoke an immune response. Influenza vaccines and the Yellow Fever vaccine are still egg-based, but the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine stopped using eggs in 1994. However large scientific studies do not support this theory, especially as it applies to autoimmune disease.

Another theory focuses on whether an infant's immune system is ready for complex proteins in a new food when it is first introduced.

One hypothesis at this time is the Hygiene hypothesis. While there is no proof for the hygiene hypothesis, people speculate that in modern, industrialized nations, such as the United States, food allergies are more common due to the lack of early exposure to dirt and germs, in part due to the over use of antibiotics and antibiotic cleansers. This hypothesis is based partly on studies showing less allergy in third world countries. Some research suggests that the body, with less dirt and germs to fight off, turns on itself and attacks food proteins as if they were foreign invaders.

Antibiotics have also been implicated in Leaky Gut Syndrome which is another possible cause of food allergies.

A lower incidence of food allergies in the developing world could also be due to differences in diet from the West and less exposure to food allergens.

Others have found that food allergies are due to widespread usage of baby skin care products that contain allergens, such as lotions based upon peanut's oil. These skin care products are cheaper to manufacture than non-allergenic ones and using them sensitizes the baby, which later develops into a food allergy. This theory has yet to come with sufficient explanation as to why occurrence of allergies are on a steady rise in the last two decades.

The mainstay of treatment for food allergy is avoidance of the foods that have been identified as allergens.

If the food is accidentally ingested and a systemic reaction occurs, then epinephrine (best delivered with an autoinjector of epinephrine such as an Epipen or Twinject) should be used. It is possible that a second dose of epinephrine may be required for severe reactions. The patient should also seek medical care immediately.

At this time, there is no cure for food allergies. There are no allergy desensitization or allergy "shots" available for food allergies. Some doctors feel they do not work in food allergies because even minute amounts of the food in question or even food extracts (as in the case of allergy shots) can cause an allergic response in many sufferers.

Ronald van Ree of Amsterdam University expects that vaccines can in theory be created using genetic engineering to cure allergies. If this can be done, food allergies could be eradicated in about ten years.

For reasons that are not entirely understood, the diagnosis of food allergies has apparently become more common in Western nations in recent times. In the United States food allergy affects as many as 5% of infants less than three years of age and 3% to 4% of adults. There is a similar prevalence in Canada.

The most common food allergens include peanuts, milk, eggs, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat - these foods account for about 90% of all allergic reactions.

Various medical practitioners have a differing views on food allergies. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) patients have been studied with regards to food allergies. Some studies have reported on the role of food allergy in IBS; only one epidemiological study on functional dyspepsia and food allergy has been published. However, since 2005 several studies have demonstrated strong correlation between IgG and/or IgE food allergy and IBS symptoms The mechanisms by which food activates mucosal immune system are incompletely understood, but food specific IgE and IgG4 appeared to mediate the hypersensitivity reaction in a subgroup of IBS patients. Specific chemicals and receptors have been demonstrated to be critical in food allergy development in murine models. Exclusion diets based on skin prick test, RAST for IgE or IgG4, hypoallergic diet and clinical trials with oral disodium cromoglycate have been conducted, and some success has been reported in a subset of IBS patients.

Studies comparing skin prick testing and ELISA blood testing have found that the results of skin prick testing correlate poorly with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome that correlate with food allergies demonstrated through ELISA testing and dietary challenge.

Extensive clinical experience has demonstrated significant improvement of patients with IBS whose ELISA-based food allergy testing is positive and where treatment includes a careful exclusion diet.

In addition, many practitioners of alternative medicine ascribe symptoms to food allergy where other doctors do not. The causal relationships between some of these conditions and food allergies have not been studied extensively enough to provide sufficient evidence to become authoritative. The interaction of histamine with the nervous system receptors has been demonstrated, but more study is needed. Other immune response effects are commonly known (swelling, irritation, etc.), but their relationships to some conditions has not been extensively studied. Examples are arthritis, fatigue, headaches, and hyperactivity. Nevertheless, hypoallergenic diets reportedly can be of benefit in these conditions, indicating that the current medical views on food allergy may be too narrow. Holford and Brady (2005) suggest three levels of response; classical immediate-onset allergy (IgE), delayed-onset allergy (giving a positive response on an ELISA IgG test but rarely on an IgE skin prick test), and food intolerance (non-allergic), and claim the last two to be more common. It is important to note that IgG is present in the body and is known to respond to foods. So some medical practitioners, especially allergists, claim that there is no predictive value to these types of tests, despite the studies cited above.

Milk and soy allergies in children can often go undiagnosed for many months, causing much worry for parents and health risks for infants and children. Many infants with milk and soy allergies can show signs of colic, blood in the stool, mucous in the stool, reflux, rashes and other harmful medical conditions. These conditions are often misdiagnosed as viruses or colic.

Some children who are allergic to cow's milk protein also show a cross sensitivity to soy-based products. There are infant formulas in which the milk and soy proteins are degraded so when taken by an infant, their immune system does not recognize the allergen and they can safely consume the product. Hypoallergenic infant formulas can be based on hydrolyzed proteins, which are proteins partially predigested in a less antigenic form. Other formulas, based on free amino acids, are the least antigenic and provide complete nutrition support in severe forms of milk allergy.

About 50% of children with allergies to milk, egg, soy, and wheat will outgrow their allergy by the age of 6. Those that don't, and those that are still allergic by the age of 12 or so, have less than an 8% chance of outgrowing the allergy.

Peanut and tree nut allergies are less likely to be outgrown, although evidence now shows that about 20% of those with peanut allergies and 9% of those with tree nut allergies will outgrow their allergies. In such a case, they need to consume nuts in some regular fashion to maintain the non-allergic status. This should be discussed with a doctor.

Those with other food allergies may or may not outgrow their allergies.

In response to the risk that certain foods pose to those with food allergies, countries have responded by instituting labeling laws that require food products to clearly inform consumers if their products contain major allergens or by-products of major allergens.

Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-282), companies are required to disclose on the label whether the product contains a major food allergen in clear, plain language. The allergens have to clearly be called out in the ingredient statement. Most companies list allergens in a statement separate from the ingredient statement.

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Egg (food)

Chicken egg (left) and quail eggs (right), types of egg commonly used as food

An egg is a round or oval body laid by the female of many animals, consisting of an ovum surrounded by layers of membranes and an outer casing, which acts to nourish and protect a developing embryo and its nutrient reserves. Most edible eggs, including bird eggs and turtle eggs, consist of a protective, oval eggshell, the albumen (egg white), the vitellus (egg yolk), and various thin membranes. Every part is edible, although the eggshell is generally discarded. Nutritionally, eggs are considered a good source of protein and choline.

Roe and caviar are edible eggs produced by fish.

Bird eggs are a common food and one of the most versatile ingredients used in cooking. They are important in many branches of the modern food industry. The most commonly used bird eggs are those from the chicken. Duck and goose eggs, and smaller eggs such as quail eggs are occasionally used as a gourmet ingredient, as are the largest bird eggs, from ostriches. Gull eggs are considered a delicacy in England, as well as in some Scandinavian countries, particularly in Norway. In some African countries, guineafowl eggs are commonly seen in marketplaces, especially in the spring of each year. Pheasant eggs and emu eggs are perfectly edible but less widely available. Sometimes they are obtainable from farmers, poulterers, or luxury grocery stores. Most wild birds’ eggs are protected by laws in many countries, which prohibit collecting or selling them, or only permit these during specific periods of the year.

Most commercially produced chicken eggs intended for human consumption are unfertilized, since the laying hens are kept without roosters. Fertile eggs can be purchased and eaten as well, with little nutritional difference. Fertile eggs will not contain a developed embryo, as refrigeration prohibits cellular growth for an extended amount of time.

Chicken eggs are widely used in many types of dishes, both sweet and savory. Eggs can be pickled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, fried and refrigerated. They can also be eaten raw, though this is not recommended for people who may be especially susceptible to salmonella, such as the elderly, the infirm, or pregnant women. In addition, the protein in raw eggs is only 51% bio-available, whereas that of a cooked egg is nearer 91% bio-available, meaning the protein of cooked eggs is nearly twice as absorbable as the protein from raw eggs. As an ingredient, egg yolks are an important emulsifier in the kitchen, and the proteins in eggs white makes all kinds of foams and aerated dishes possible.

Quail eggs are considered a delicacy in many countries. They are used raw or cooked as tamago in sushi. In Colombia, quail eggs are considered less exotic than in other countries, and a single hard-boiled quail egg is a common topping on hot dogs and hamburgers, often fixed into place with a toothpick.

A boiled egg can be distinguished from a raw egg without breaking the shell by spinning it. A hard-boiled egg's contents are solid due to the denaturation of the protein, allowing it to spin freely, while viscous dissipation in the liquid contents of a raw egg causes it to stop spinning within approximately three rotations.

The albumen, or egg white, contains protein but little or no fat. It can used in cooking separately from the yolk, and can be aerated or whipped to a light, fluffy consistency. Beaten egg whites are used in desserts such as meringues and mousse. Ground egg shells are sometimes used as a food additive to deliver calcium. Boiled eggs that are difficult to peel are usually too fresh. Fresh eggs have a lower pH, and this does not allow the shell to separate easily from the underlying albumen. When put into vinegar the shell will dissolve slowly.

Although the age of the egg and the conditions of its storage have a greater influence, the bird's diet does affect the flavor of the egg. For example, when a brown-egg chicken breed eats rapeseed or soy meals, its intestinal microbes metabolize them into fishy-smelling triethylamine, which ends up in the egg. The unpredictable diet of free-range hens will produce unpredictable eggs.

If a boiled egg is overcooked, a greenish ring sometimes appears around egg yolk. This is a manifestation of the iron and sulfur compounds in the egg. It can also occur when there is an abundance of iron in the cooking water. The green ring does not affect the egg's taste; overcooking, however, harms the quality of the protein (chilling the egg for a few minutes in cold water until the egg is completely cooled prevents the greenish "ring” from forming on the surface of the yolk).

Cooking also increases the risk of atherosclerosis due to increased oxidization of the cholesterol contained in the egg yolk.

For those who do not consume eggs, alternatives used in baking include other rising agents or binding materials, such as ground flax seeds or potato flour. Tofu can also act as a partial binding agent, since it is high in lecithin due to its soy content. Applesauce can be used as well as arrowroot and banana. Extracted soybean lecithin, in turn, is often used in packaged foods as an inexpensive substitute for egg-derived lecithin.

Other egg substitutes are made from just the white of the egg for those who worry about the high cholesterol and fat content in eggs. These products usually have added vitamins and minerals as well as vegetable-based emulsifiers and thickeners such as xantham gum or guar gum. These allow the product to maintain the nutrition found in an egg as well as several culinary properties of real eggs. This makes it possible for food like Hollandaise sauce, custard, mayonnaise, as well as most baked goods to be prepared using these substitutes.

Preservation of edible eggs is extremely important, as an improperly handled egg can contain salmonella, a bacteria that can cause severe food poisoning. The simplest method to preserve an egg is to treat it with salt. Salt draws water out of bacteria and molds, which prevents their growth. The Chinese salted duck egg is made by immersing duck eggs in brine, or coating them individually with a paste of salt and mud or clay. The eggs stop absorbing salt after about a month, having reached chemical equilibrium. Their yolks become an orange-red colored solid, but the white remains liquid. They are boiled before consumption and often served with rice congee.

Another method is to make pickled eggs, by boiling them first and immersing them in a mixture of vinegar, salt, and spices like ginger or allspice. Frequently, beetroot juice is added to impart a red color to the eggs. If the eggs are immersed in it for a few hours, the distinct red, white, and yellow colors can be seen when the eggs are sliced. If marinated for several days or more, the red color will reach to the yolk. If the eggs are marinated in the mixture for several weeks or more, vinegar's acetic acid will dissolve much of the shell's calcium carbonate and penetrate the egg, making it acidic enough to inhibit the growth of bacteria and molds. Pickled eggs made this way will generally keep for a year or more without refrigeration.

A century egg or hundred-year-old egg is preserved by fermenting an egg in a mixture of clay, wood ash, salt, lime, and rice straw for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. After the process is completed, the yolk becomes a dark green, cream-like substance with a strong odor of sulfur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, transparent jelly with a comparatively mild, distinct flavor. The transforming agent in a century egg is its alkaline material, which gradually raises the pH of the egg from around 9 to 12 or more. This chemical process causes an "inorganic version" of fermentation, which breaks down some of the complex, flavorless proteins and fats of the yolk into simpler, flavorful ones.

Bird eggs have been valuable foodstuff since prehistory, in both hunting societies and more recent cultures where birds were domesticated. In Thebes, Egypt, the tomb of Haremhab, built about 1420 BCE, shows a depiction of a man carrying bowls of ostrich eggs and other large eggs, presumably those of the pelican, as offerings. In ancient Rome, eggs were preserved using a number of methods, and meals often started with an egg course. The Romans crushed the shell in their plate to prevent evil spirits from hiding there. In the Middle Ages, eggs were forbidden during Lent because of their richness. It is possible that the word mayonnaise was derived from moyeu, the medieval French word for the yolk meaning center or hub.

Egg scrambled with acidic fruit juices were popular in France in the 17th century; this may have been the origin of lemon curd.

The dried egg industry developed in the 19th century, before the rise of the frozen egg industry. In 1878, a company in St. Louis, Missouri started to transform egg yolk and white into a light-brown, meal-like substance by using a drying process. The production of dried eggs significantly expanded during World War II, for use by the United States Armed Forces and its allies.

The egg carton was invented by Joseph Coyle in Smithers, British Columbia, to solve a dispute about broken eggs between a farmer in Bulkley Valley and the owner of the Aldermere Hotel. Early egg cartons were made of paper.

The shape of an egg is an ovate spheroid with one end larger than the other end. The egg has cylindrical symmetry along the long axis.

The larger end of the egg contains the air cell that forms when the contents of the egg cool down and contract after it is laid. Chicken eggs are graded according to the size of this air cell, measured during candling. A very fresh egg has a small air cell and receives a grade of AA. As the size of the air cell increases, and the quality of the egg decreases, the grade moves from AA to A to B. This provides a way of testing the age of an egg: as the air cell increases in size, the egg becomes less dense and the larger end of the egg will rise to increasingly shallower depths when the egg is placed in a bowl of water. A very old egg will actually float in the water and should not be eaten.

Egg shell color is caused by pigment deposition during egg formation in the oviduct and can vary according to species and breed, from the more common white or brown to pink or speckled blue-green. In general, chicken breeds with white ear lobes lay white eggs, whereas chickens with red ear lobes lay brown eggs. Although there is no significant link between shell color and nutritional value, there is often a cultural preference for one color over another. For example, in most regions of the United States, chicken eggs are generally white; while in the northeast of that country and in the United Kingdom, they are generally light-brown. In Brazil and Poland, white chicken eggs are generally regarded as industrial, and brown or reddish ones are preferred.

The yolk in a newly laid egg is round and firm. As the yolk ages it absorbs water from the albumen which increases its size and causes it to stretch and weaken the vitelline membrane (the clear casing enclosing the yolk). The resulting effect is a flattened and enlarged yolk shape.

Yolk color is dependent on the diet of the hen; if the diet contains yellow/orange plant pigments known as xanthophylls, then they are deposited in the yolk, coloring it. A colorless diet can produce an almost colorless yolk. Farmers may enhance yolk color with artificial pigments, or with natural supplements rich in lutein (marigold petals are a popular choice), but in most locations, this activity is forbidden.

Some hens will lay double-yolked eggs as the result of unsynchronized production cycles. Although heredity causes some hens to have a higher propensity to lay double-yolked eggs, these occur more frequently as occasional abnormalities in young hens beginning to lay. Usually a double-yolked egg will be longer and thinner than an ordinary single-yolk egg. Double-yolked eggs occur rarely, only leading to observed successful hatchings under human intervention, as the unborn chickens would otherwise fight each other and die.

It is also possible for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all. Yolkless eggs are usually formed about a bit of tissue that is sloughed off the ovary or oviduct. This tissue stimulates the secreting glands of the oviduct and a yolkless egg results.

Eggs add protein to one's diet, as well as various other nutrients.

Chicken eggs are the most commonly eaten eggs. They supply all essential amino acids for humans, and provide several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. They are also an inexpensive single-food source of protein.

All of the egg's vitamin A, D and E is in the egg yolk. The egg is one of the few foods which naturally contain Vitamin D. A large egg yolk contains approximately 60 Calories (250 kilojoules); the egg white contains about 15 Calories (60 kilojoules). A large yolk contains more than two-thirds of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg of cholesterol (although one study indicates that the human body may not absorb much cholesterol from eggs). The yolk makes up about 33% of the liquid weight of the egg. It contains all of the fat in the egg and slightly less than half of the protein and much of the nutrients. It also contains all of the choline, and one yolk contains approximately half of the recommended daily intake. Choline is an important nutrient for development of the brain, and is said to be important for pregnant and nursing women to ensure healthy fetal brain development.

Recently, chicken eggs that are especially high in Omega 3 fatty acids have come on the market. These eggs are made by feeding laying hens a diet containing polyunsaturated fats and kelp meal. Nutrition information on the packaging is different for each of the brands.

More than half the calories found in eggs come from the fat in the yolk; a 100 gram chicken egg contains approximately 10 grams of fat. People on a low-cholesterol diet may need to reduce egg consumption, although only 27% of the fat in egg is saturated fat (Palmitic,Stearic and Myristic acids) that contains LDL cholesterol. The egg white consists primarily of water (87%) and protein (13%) and contains no cholesterol and little, if any, fat.

There is debate over whether egg yolk presents a health risk. Some research suggests dietary cholesterol increases the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol and, therefore, adversely affects the body's cholesterol profile; whereas other studies show that moderate consumption of eggs, up to two per day, does not appear to increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals. Harold McGee argues that the cholesterol in the yolk is not what causes a problem as fat (particularly saturated) is much more likely to raise cholesterol levels than the actual consumption of cholesterol. A 2007 study of nearly 10,000 adults demonstrated no correlation between moderate (6 per week) egg consumption and cardiovascular disease or strokes except in the sub-population of diabetic patients which presented an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Other research supports the idea that a high egg intake increases cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients. However, some "no correlation" findings have come under attack by independent observers for flawed methodology and financial ties to the egg industry.

A health issue associated with eggs is contamination by pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella enteritidis. Contamination of eggs exiting a female bird via the cloaca may also occur with other members of the Salmonella group, so care must be taken to avoid the egg shell becoming contaminated with fecal matter. In commercial practice, eggs are quickly washed with a sanitizing solution within minutes of being laid. The risk of infection from raw or undercooked eggs is dependent in part upon the sanitary conditions under which the hens are kept.

Health experts advise people to refrigerate eggs, use them within two weeks, cook them thoroughly, and never consume raw eggs. As with meat, containers and surfaces that have been used to process raw eggs should not come in contact with ready-to-eat food.

A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2002 (Risk Analysis April 2002 22(2):203-18) suggests the problem is not as prevalent as once thought. It showed that of the 69 billion eggs produced annually only 2.3 million are contaminated with salmonella - equivalent to just one in every 30,000 eggs - thus showing that salmonella infection is quite rarely induced by eggs. However, this has not been the case in other countries where Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium infections due to egg consumptions are major concerns , , .

Egg shells act as hermetic seals which guard against bacteria entering, but this seal can be broken through improper handling or if laid by unhealthy chickens. Most forms of contamination enter through such weaknesses in the shell.

One of the most common food allergies in infants is eggs. Infants usually have the opportunity to grow out of this allergy during childhood, if exposure is minimized. Generally, physicians will recommend feeding only the yolks to infants because of the higher risk of allergic reaction to the egg white.

The egg allergy is prevalent enough in the United States that food labeling practices now include eggs, egg products and the processing of foods on equipment that also process foods containing eggs in a special allergen alert section of the ingredients on the labels.

The US Department of Agriculture grade eggs by the interior quality of the egg and the appearance and condition of the egg shell. Eggs of any quality grade may differ in weight (size).

U.S. Grade AA eggs have whites that are thick and firm; yolks that are high, round, and practically free from defects; and clean, unbroken shells. Grade AA and Grade A eggs are best for frying and poaching where appearance is important. U.S. Grade A eggs have characteristics of Grade AA eggs except that the whites are "reasonably" firm. This is the quality most often sold in stores. U.S. Grade B eggs have whites that may be thinner and yolks that may be wider and flatter than eggs of higher grades. The shells must be unbroken, but may show slight stains. This quality is seldom found in retail stores because they are usually used to make liquid, frozen, and dried egg products, as well as other egg-containing products.

In Australia, the Australian Egg Corporation defines the following sizes in its labelling guide.

Commercial factory farming operations often involve raising the hens in small crowded cages, preventing the chickens from engaging in natural behaviors such as wing-flapping, dust-bathing, scratching, pecking, perching and nest-building. Such restrictions can lead to pacing and escape behavior.

Many hens confined to battery cages, and some raised in cage-free conditions, are de-beaked to prevent harming each other and cannibalism. According to critics of the practice, this can cause hens severe pain to the point where some may refuse to eat and starve to death. Some hens may be force molted to increase egg quality and production level after the molting. Molting can be induced by extended feed withdrawal, water withdrawal or controlled lighting programs.

Laying hens are often slaughtered between 100 - 130 weeks of age when their egg productivity starts to decline. Due to modern selective breeding, laying hen strains differ from meat production strains. As male birds of the laying strain do not lay eggs and are not suitable for meat production, they are generally culled at the hatchery.

Free-range eggs are considered by some advocates to be an acceptable substitute to factory farmed eggs. Free range laying hens are given outdoor access instead of being contained in crowded cages. Questions on the actual living conditions of free range hens have been raised as there is no legal definition or regulations for eggs labeled as free range in the US.

In the US, increased public concern for animal welfare has pushed various egg producers to release eggs under a variety of different standards. The most widespread standard in use is used by United Egg Producers and is a volunteer program known as United Egg Producers Certified(UEP Certified). The program includes guidelines with regard to housing, feed, water, air, space allowance, beak trimming, molting, handling, and transportation; however, critics such as The Humane Society have alleged UEP Certification misleadingly allows for a significant amount of animal cruelty. Other standards include "Cage Free", "Natural", "Certified Humane", and "Certified Organic." Of these standards, "Certified Humane", which carries requirements for stocking density and cage-free keeping, among others, and "Certified Organic", which requires hens have outdoor access and are fed only organic, vegetarian feed, among other requirements, are the most stringent.

A popular Easter tradition in some parts of the world is the decoration of hard-boiled eggs (usually by dyeing but often by spray-painting). Adults often hide the eggs for children to find, an activity known as an Easter egg hunt. A similar tradition of egg painting exists in areas of the world influenced by the culture of Persia. Before the spring equinox in the Persian New Year tradition (called Norouz), each family member decorates a hard-boiled egg and sets them together in a bowl.

Although a food item, eggs are sometimes thrown at houses, cars, or people generally on Halloween. This act, known commonly as egging in the various English-speaking countries, is a minor form of vandalism and, therefore, usually a criminal offense and is capable of damaging property (egg whites can degrade certain types of vehicle paint) as well as causing serious eye injury. On Halloween, for example, trick or treaters have been known to throw eggs (and sometimes flour) at property or people from whom they received nothing. Eggs are also often thrown in protests, as they are inexpensive and nonlethal, yet at the same time very messy when broken.

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Game (food)

Common Pheasant, widely introduced and hunted as game.

Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game animals are also hunted for sport.

The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world. This will be influenced by climate, animal diversity, local taste and locally accepted view about what can or cannot be legitimately hunted. Sometimes a distinction is also made between varieties and species of a particular animal, such as wild or domestic turkey.

In some countries, game is classified, including legal classification with respect to licenses required, as either small game or large game. Small game includes small animals such as rabbits, pheasants, doves, geese or ducks. A single small game license may cover all small game species and be subject to yearly bag limits. Large game includes animals like deer, bear, and elk and are often subject to individual licensing where a separate license is required for each individual animal taken(tags). Big game is a term sometimes used interchangeably with large game although in other contexts it refers to large, usually African, mammals (like elephants) which are hunted mainly for trophies, not for food.

Some of these animals are endangered or otherwise protected, and thus it is illegal to hunt them.

In Africa, animals hunted for their pelts or ivory are sometimes referred to as big game.

Also see the legal definition of game in Swaziland.

In the PRC there is a special cuisine category called ye wei, which includes animals in the wild.

Capercaillie are not currently hunted in the UK because of a recent decline in numbers and conservation projects towards their recovery. The ban is generally considered voluntary on private lands, and few birds live away from RSPB or Forestry Commission land anyway.

Once obtained, game meat must be processed. The method of processing varies by game species and size. Small game and fowl may simply be carried home to be butchered. Large game such as deer is quickly field-dressed by removing the viscera in the field, while very large animals like moose may be partially butchered in the field because of the difficulty of removing them intact from their habitat. Commercial processors often handle deer taken during deer seasons, sometimes even at supermarket meat counters. Otherwise the hunter handles butchering. The carcass is kept cool to minimize spoilage.

Some believe the meat tastes better and is more tender if it is hung and aged for a few days before processing; however, this adds to the risk of contamination. Small game can be processed essentially intact; after gutting and skinning or defeathering (by species), small animals are ready for cooking although they may be disjointed first. Large game must be processed by techniques commonly practiced by commercial butchers.

Generally game is cooked in the same ways as farmed meat. Because some game meat is leaner than store-bought beef, overcooking is a common mishap which can be avoided if properly prepared. It is sometimes grilled or cooked longer or by slow cooking or moist-heat methods to make it more tender, since some game tends to be tougher than farm-raised meat. Other methods of tenderizing include marinating as in the dish Hasenpfeffer. Traditionally, game meat used to be hung until "high", i.e. approaching a state of decomposition. The term 'gamey', 'gamy' refers to this usually desirable taste (haut goût).

In November 2008, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and the North Dakota state health department revealed high levels of lead in the blood of residents who ate wild game animals killed with lead bullets. Health officials recommended that pregnant women and young children not consume meat obtained in this fashion. The recommendations follow a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources study indicating that lead fragments may spread as much as 18 inches from a bullet wound.

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Source : Wikipedia