World Health urges acrylamide reduction
Governments and food manufacturers should step up efforts to reduce the acrylamide content of foods, said the World Health Organization in a report last month. The report found that of nearly 7,000 foods tested, french fries, potato chips and coffee had the highest levels of the chemical. Acrylamide is formed when food is heated, and prolonged exposure to the substance is thought to have neurotoxic effects. The WHO emphasized the need for further research on the health effects of acrylamide, as well as methods of reducing it in foods. The Food Products Association responded to the report by agreeing with the statement that ?any major changes would need to be checked for consumer acceptability, nutritional quality and the possible increased formation of other undesirable substances.?
Tasting the fifth
From center store to produce to the frozen case, savvy retailers are stocking up on Asian flavors. Packaged Facts, the market research company, is predicting that 2005 will be the year of Asian cuisine, with Indian foods in particular figuring prominently. Fruits such as tamarind, kaffir lime and lychee will contribute flavor to Asian-inspired meals. Chefs will begin to incorporate umami—the savory, so-called fifth taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour—into their dishes. ?Creating flavors that ?wow? will be more than just adding heat in 2005,? says Don Montuori, acquisitions editor for Packaged Facts. ?It will include layering flavors, considering umami and creating sensation—a sense of intensity and tingling.?
Keep a blue tinge on leafy greens
Spinach retains more nutrients when stored at cooler temperatures, according to research conducted by Penn State University food scientists. When stored at 39 degrees, spinach lost its folate and carotenoids at a slower rate than when it was kept at 50 and 68 degrees. Even at 39 degrees, spinach lost 53 percent of its folate and 46 percent of carotenoids after eight days. The study carries important implications for the benefits of frozen spinach and the impact of warm shipping environments on fresh spinach.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 5/p. 28